I’m listening to the book A Case of Redemption by Adam Mitzner (great so far!) and in it one of the characters says “sometimes in a leap of faith, the leap’s got to come first, and then the faith follows.” It was just the line I needed to hear at the exact time I needed to hear it. I rewound (“rewound” indicates I was listening to a cassette tape but what’s the term for rewound on an iPod???) several times to hear it again and again.
‘Huh’ I thought as I drove along. I am known for my faith in things that I cannot see. This has been a point of contention for my husband and I because he is very literal and I believe in The Secret. You decide it’s going to happen? It’s going to happen. Maybe not this second but happen it will. That said? There are things about which I’m less than confident. Things I so badly want to happen but can’t seem to get enough courage to believe it for real. And of course, if I think they can’t happen, happen they won’t.
I was out to lunch with a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago. We were catching up, talking about work, and I asked how work was going for her. Many years ago she changed careers when she was pregnant with her daughter. She jumped into an administrative role, thinking it would be temporary, and she’s still in an administrative role today. A much bigger and more important one…but still an admin. There are parts she likes, she knows she’s valued, but she also knows she’s not being challenged enough. She’s capable of more. We’ve had this conversation before, so this wasn’t news, but then she mentioned (off-handedly) “we still think about the restaurant.” Wait…what? I had no idea what she was referring to, so I asked. She and her husband, as well as other family members, have been talking and dreaming about opening a restaurant. For a good long time.
She started talking about it and her demeanor changed completely. She hadn’t been unhappily talking about her current situation, but when talking about the restaurant idea she was animated, excited, talked quickly, and she literally brightened up and sat taller on her side of our booth. Everything about her exuded excitement and passion. I told her she had to do it. We started talking about small steps she could take. I told her that even little baby steps towards a restaurant dream would put her closer to that dream. And if they work their little tails off (in addition to working full time and parenting full time) and it doesn’t work? At least they’ll know and they will have lived their passion for as long as it took to figure it out. She was excited. I gave her “homework” (because clearly I’m in charge of everyone and get to hand out homework to other adults) to reach out to a local organization that helps women start businesses and to maybe start trying to put together a business plan.
I left lunch excited for her. I had no idea they had this dream…how cool?! And then I drove back to work and went about my day like nothing had happened.
I do this all the time. I find out about a dream, I hear a smidgen of passion in something one of my friends mentions in passing, and I pounce on it. Why? Because my friends are straight-up amazing and I know with all of my heart that if they put their minds and hearts to something they will find enormous success in anything they do. I love hearing them talk about things excitedly and doing anything in my power to help them believe it’s actually possible.
And then do you know what I do? I go back to my life and I do nothing of the sort for myself. It’s not that I don’t dream big…I do…but I also let fear and self doubt get the best of me. Thus, even things about which I’m passionate and excited? Things I get excited about and talk quickly about? Things that I think about and then stop myself from daydreaming even further? Instead of talking myself into it, and instead of thinking of my own baby steps, or assigning myself “homework,” I talk about it, let the words escape me, and then I hide from it. Because let’s be honest…following ones passion? It’s scary.
I am in the best place in my life right now to write. I have the time. I’m reading like mad right now (something I think is terribly important for someone who wants to write), several books at a time, and I’m blowing through them at warp speed. I have the overwhelming support of everyone I love and care about. I have the stories swirling through my pretty little head. I think of things maybe 17 times a day that I want to write down, or that I think are important to remember. I have nine emails in my inbox, from myself, with blog post topics I’ve thought of. I have eight blog posts started that I simply haven’t finished. I have three people, in particular, who are telling me to get a move on. They tell me not to worry about how good it is in the beginning, not to worry about where to start, but just to start writing something.
And frankly? I think they’re smart people and all…but I just don’t buy it.
But leaping before there is faith. Now THAT is interesting. I just emailed my girlfriend that quote and asked if she’d done anything about her restaurant idea. It would make me sad if she left our lunch all fired up and then did what I normally do…talk myself out of its feasibility. So I’m going to try my hardest (I’m doubting myself even as I type so I really have to just do this in spite of my wanting to run and hide) to leap. Faith be damned!
TODAY: What if I leap, with fingers crossed and my eyes tightly closed, and hope like hell that a little bit of faith will follow?