Do you love the feeling of falling through the air? It is the moment when the diver jumps off of the platform, when the trapeze artists lets go of the bar and begins an airy somersault and when the skydiver jumps out of the plane.
You might find the thought of free flying thrilling. Or maybe you are like me, and feel terror at the thought of stepping off of terra firma into the unknown.
Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University coined the term Type T personality to describe thrill-seekers. These are people who love the adrenalin rush of exciting, novel or risky behavior. What some of us see as frightening, these people see as exhilarating.
When the type T gene got passed out, I am pretty sure I was at the end of the line. I Like my feet planted where I can feel the earth under them. I don’t like the heart pounding, hand shaking, blood rushing feeling that tells me I am out of control and my fate is in the hands of God or the universe or some kind of cosmic goodness.
I don’t even like roller coasters, which aren’t nearly as death defying as jumping out of a plane. And you know what? That might present a problem even though I am not headed to an amusement park anytime soon. I don’t like risk, but I know that sometimes you have to take a risk in order to move forward.
I’ve spoken with a number of midlife women recently who are facing change and finding diving into the unknown uncomfortable and scary. These are bright, educated, accomplished women. They have raised their families or contributed to the corporate bottom line. They are longing for something new, something more fulfilling, a chance to be more of themselves. They long to use their strengths and passions in new and meaningful ways.
And here is the problem: they are stuck.
Changing your life in big, meaningful ways is scary. I know because I did it. The very nature of change means you have to do something different. You might have to quit your job, which seems fraught with peril- what if I can’t pay the bills? You might have to end some relationships and find new ones- which is uncomfortable and hard. Maybe you need to move and that means selling a house and clearing out your clutter and finding a buyer- just thinking about it is overwhelming.
Most of us don’t like the feeling of disequilibrium. We don’t like uncertainty and insecurity. The devil we know is safer than the devil we don’t know.
Our inability to take a risk keeps us safe, but also keeps us stuck.
To make a big change, we have to flex our trust muscles. We have to trust that we have the knowledge and skill we need. We have to trust that we know best what is right for us. We have to trust that we are competent and capable of creating the life that we want and deserve to have.
We have to trust that when we jump, the water will be there.
Sometimes, we have to take a risk. We have to step off the ledge before we can fly through the air.
Wishing you soft landings,