Just jump off the damn ‘frig!
Quick back-story: My sister decided to sand and paint her kitchen cabinets. Screwing the newly painted doors back into their frames was definitely a two-person job, so I spent a couple of fun-filled afternoons helping with that. The very last step was to re-attach the doors to the two small, hopelessly inconvenient cupboards above the refrigerator.
Since neither my sister nor I could get good leverage with the screwdriver while on a chair, Barbara helpfully suggested I boost myself up and sit on top of the refrigerator (I’m shorter and smaller than she is). I couldn’t get up there by myself, so she gave me a leg up. Once perched on top, I found I had more than adequate room to maneuver, and the job was finished fairly easily. Only one thing remained: getting down.
So I’m perched six feet or so above the ground, the chair is at least eight inches below my searching foot, and I can’t scooch any closer to the front edge for fear of accidentally opening the freezer door I’m perched on, thus leading to blood and chaos.
My thoughts raced, presenting me with Technicolor images of what would happen if I landed wrong or missed the step. Then, faster yet, another thought flashed: “I teach this stuff!” So I jumped. (Okay, maybe it was more of a hop, but still.)
In that one heartbeat, I’d remembered all the advice to clients, all the blogging, all the personal-growth work I’ve done, all the focus on finding the courage to take action. And all that experience – along with a burning desire not to be a complete hypocrite – propelled me safely down.
Now, granted, this wasn’t like cliff diving in Acapulco, but it was still fairly scary for me. But since being stranded for an indefinite period of time on my sister’s refrigerator wasn’t a viable option, my best choice was to pull a Nike and “just do it.” What enabled me to take action despite feeling wimpy?
I had a compelling “why.”
I love spending time with my sister. Just not from on top of her refrigerator.
I had help.
Barbara was standing right next to the chair; I knew she was fully prepared to prop me up if I stumbled. She even had a firm hold on my hand (less for propulsion than for security).
I chose to not dither.
I’d gotten myself into situations in the past where I knew I had no real choice but to do something, but I didn’t want to do it, but I had to, but I didn’t want to. All I accomplished by dithering was to create more stress for myself.
But, since I can be taught, I realized almost immediately that I would be jumping/hopping down at some point in time. I could do it right now and get it over with, or I could blow it up into a huge terrifying deal and still have to get down somehow.
Eva Young had it absolutely right: “To think too long about a thing often becomes its undoing.”
For me, in this situation, failing to take action was not a real option. But there have been plenty of times in my life – and, I suspect, yours – when we talked ourselves out of doing something we knew would be good for us in the long run. We over-analyzed, or scared ourselves, or rationalized our inaction, or, or, or.
It’s time to stop not doing the right things – especially if you’re not doing them for all the wrong reasons.
So…Are you willing to jump?This entry was posted in take action and tagged courage. Bookmark the permalink.