How to take the plunge even when you're scared

I think the experience of stepping outside my comfort zone in my career can be best compared to riding the H2-Oh-No slide at the waterpark as a child.  If the H2-Oh-No slide doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure it will. It is the highest slide at the waterpark that drops straight down. If you ever went to a waterpark as a kid, you can picture it… and if not here is a picture (also it looks scarier in person, I promise):

So here’s a play by play of what it is like to experience the H2-Oh-No.  You start talking about going on it for the first time with your friends (it took you an entire year longer to reach the minimum height requirement so they’ve all done it before). 

But, you’re excited. You’re feeling so brave and you know that this is the year. THIS is your time to face your fears and drop 1000 ft at 100 mph (it's not that high or that fast, but that’s what it feels like).

The excitement is palpable.  You take the first step up the winding staircase and you can feel that you’re moments away from conquering this slide.  Only, there are 87 people ahead of you and you have to wait over an hour.

With each step you climb a little higher and slowly the excitement becomes fear, shear panic actually.  You’ve had so much time on the walk up and to think about how terrifying the experience is going to be.

You’re two people away from it being your turn and you have no idea how your heart is beating so fast.  You’re one person away and you start SERIOUSLY considering taking the walk of shame back down the stairs.  Before you can decide to back out you’re standing in the slide and you’re seconds away from the floor falling out from under you.  Then it happens.

There’s a moment of complete horror as you feel suspended in midair and realize there is no going back. You black out for 3 seconds and then you find yourself at the bottom of the slide. Your confidence is so through the roof that you can’t even feel the fact that you’re probably bleeding from the abrasions on your back.  It’s euphoric and you’re ready to do anything.

This is exactly the same thing that happens when you try to take a step outside your comfort zone in your career.  It starts with excitement, turns into anxiousness, but then it can sometimes morph into something else. Fear becomes the feeling of not being good enough.  And the feeling of not being good enough can be paralyzing.

But, the feeling of not being good enough is no different than the slight panic attack you feel before you plunge down the slide.  The problem is that there is no walk of shame when it comes to experiences in our career and we don’t always have the healthy pressure from our friends.  Instead we more or less just stand at the top of the slide and never let go.  

The confidence comes after letting go.  You don’t feel confident at the top of the slide, you feel confident at the bottom.  So, it’s time to stop standing at the top and take the plunge.

Maybe you want to start your own clinic, maybe you want to get into professional sports, maybe you want to do public speaking or teaching, or maybe you have a topic you want to research.

The question is, what are you standing at the top of?

We recognize the value of some added pressure and accountability.  It is a big reason we started the Bulletproof Career Rebellion. If you know you want to take the plunge, but haven’t yet- consider joining us. Nothing is better than climbing to the top surrounded by those who support us and nothing compares to the feeling after taking the plunge.


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