It is, after all, a leap of faith to invest one’s money, time, energy and reputation on a venture that—no matter how prepared we are—could fall flat on its face as a result of any number of elements. Of course, if you’re smart enough to be scared shitless, you should also be astute enough to know that there is a smart and a not-so-smart way to launch a new venture.
That part of the equation I’ll leave to my fellow “Owner” contributors to share with you. (See Epic Launch)
Because of its less tangible, but enormous, contribution to the process, I want to talk about this “leap of faith” thing. The leap of faith I am referring to is what could be defined as an act or instance of accepting or trusting in something that cannot readily be seen or proved. In this context the world “faith” may or may not have anything to do with god or any other higher spiritual power, and most certainly not “religion.”
Launching something new is indeed a leap of faith because there is absolutely no way of knowing with 100% certainty that it, or you, will be successful. This is why it’s called “venture” or “risk” capital by investors. And just as there is a good and a not-so-good approach to launching a new venture, there is also a good and a not-so-good approach to taking that LEAP.
Yes, there is actually a process to taking a leap of faith. For most of us it happens unconsciously, but if you understand the process you can consciously put it into practice to radically influence the outcome.
If you have ever taken a leap of faith (and I know you have) you may recognize and even resonate with some or all of the following 4 steps:
Body Rapport: If you’re on the frequent fryer plan at your local fast food joint or in the habit of just driving on by the athletic club every day, then this part of the process may have you grabbing disappointedly for your spare tire (the one located just above, and possibly covering, your belt). But let’s face it, the energy, stamina and physical confidence required to climb to your launch jumping-off point will be substantial. The first thing you’re going to do once you find yourself standing on that precipice, looking across the chasm that separates you from where you want to be (if you make it that far), is take one hell of a BIG deep breath and ready your body for the leap ahead.
Knowing, liking and, most important, trusting your body to provide the reserves needed to take that leap will be crucial in reducing the fear, stress and uncertainty of making it to the other side. Honoring this cellular mass we call the body with regular exercise, an occasional sober night or “healthy” meal isn’t just some cliché we throw around as a way of selling memberships to 24 Hour Fitness. It’s a way of telling your body that it “matters” and that you’re doing your part to support it and that you expect it to do its part in supporting you. That’s rapport… and you had better have it when you find yourself standing close to the edge ready to leap.
Brutal Honesty: The first thing most of us think of when we say we have to be “brutally honest with ourselves” is what we are realistically NOT capable of. To take that massive leap forward however you have to find a way to be brutally honest about what you are capable and worthy of…which is a hell of a lot more than you give yourself credit for. At the risk of sounding like a radical “fear of success” activist I can tell you that if you don’t believe at your deepest core level that you’re worthy of success and that you’re ultimately capable of making it happen… there’s an IED out there with your name on it.
If you find yourself frequently saying, “Why am I such a jerk?” “How could I be so stupid?” “Why does this always happen to me?” or some semblance thereof, you better check in to see what kind of crusty truth you have come to believe about yourself. That crust is covering the core truth that you are freaking awesome, capable and worthy of massive success. Start by becoming aware of that voice and what it habitually says. Then counter with a quick jab “that’s not true” and a strong right hook “I am smart, capable and worthy” or how about “I can freaking do this!” I know it sounds a bit Stuart Smalley but take my word for it, it can make a difference.
Temptation: Once we’ve been Brutally Honest with ourselves and we’re within a few short feet, dollars or pounds of the launching point, we all experience an inexplicable and sometimes overwhelming urge to turn around and go back. It may show up as that nagging little inner voice making a last-ditch effort to stop you, or perhaps massive distraction, overwhelm or urgency or just good old paralyzing fear. The “Dragon,” as I call it, will show up in a plethora of forms but its job is to drag you back, unaware of what’s happening or kicking and screaming if necessary, to what’s familiar and safe and as far from that launching point as possible.
Successful leapers are aware of the dragon’s existence, of how it shows up for them and how to tame it. And like a world class athlete they condition themselves mentally, physically and emotionally to be ready when it does show up. That’s your job. How has the dragon stopped you in the past? How has it kept you from leaping forward and, more important, what could you have done in the past to tame it? Keep in mind that you can’t tame the dragon with logic or intellect. It is pure emotion and driven by fear, doubt and uncertainty. Do everything you can to minimize those three things and you’ll be half-way there.
The ABIF: Do you recall from the movie “Back to the Future” the scene where the unlikely hero George McFly has his moment of clarity and takes his massive leap of faith? Motivated by a desire (a need really) to save the damsel in distress (Lorraine Baines, time-traveling George’s mother-to-be), George reaches deep down into his core to find the hero within while simultaneously reaching way back to load a blazing left hand haymaker and with a single blow dramatically takes out the villain (Biff).
It was an Action Based In Faith.
I imagine that at that moment George must have thought “Someone special needs my help and I must rise to meet that need.” The faith he found in that split second of decision was that of some deep and (until that moment) un-exercised core belief that he was more, that he had more to offer and that if he could only find the courage to act it would all somehow work out in the end. And so he took that leap and launched something that would change his life forever.
You may be launching something that requires a leap of faith. Why leave it to chance when you can put the process into practice starting right now?
What I do know is that you, having had some experience in this area, have some thoughts on this subject… why not share them below. Love to hear from you.