Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leap Before You Look

 "You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute." — Tina Fey


People often tell me that I am "fearless" and just seem to "go for it." But I happen to know that I am actually SOOOO much the kid standing up there, overthinking...and scared to death!!

Yet, I also know that the times in my life when I have just leapt, without looking or thinking, have turned out the best.

There was the time that we took the timeshare tour at Casa del Mar in Aruba, and spontaneously signed up to buy, pre-construction no less. We were so shaken by our act that we went straight to the bar and spent the afternoon soothing ourselves with rum and coconut libations. This spontaneous buying decision resulted in 20 years of wonderful vacations on Aruba, and in many of our happiest times and fondest memories.

There was the time we bought the old Victorian house in Maine and opened up an art gallery for my husband in the carriage house.  He was, then, a total unknown, and we had no clue whatsoever about running a gallery. Despite our staggering ignorance, we sold his paintings and my crafts and photographs. He developed a strong following for his art and we met tons of nice people.

Then, when we moved to Arizona, I wanted to do work that made me feel like I making a difference in the world. On a whim, I sent a note to a local pastor, letting him know I was available for .... anything. By chance, he was starting up a non-profit program that helped homebound seniors and their caregivers. Did I want to help, he asked?  Sure! I answered. I jumped in, and the next thing we knew, The Foothills Caring Corps was helping hundreds of people. This snap decision had another unexpected benefit - it also opened up my writing career. Over the next five years, I wrote more than 40 feature articles about aging and caregiving for national magazines.

When we moved to Santa Fe, I suddenly decided to take yoga teacher training. (I know, I'm starting to sound like someone who changes her mind a lot. Well, hey, it's a girl's perogative, right?) I googled "yoga teacher training, Santa Fe," and up came the name Tias Little. I didn't know until I showed up for the first day of training that Tias is something of a Big Deal in the global yoga community. So, I ended up taking yoga teacher training, here in my own town, with one of the top yoga teachers in the world.

Which brings us to the book. Earlier this year, I was pursuing the traditional path to publishing with my agent. We were only a couple of months into it, but already I was starting to think about self-publishing. In June, a few coinciding (but not coincidental) events occured, and overnight I decided to take the leap and publish on my own. Within a few weeks, the book creation process was underway and I was forging ahead with my marketing plan.

Then suddenly last week, I once again became the little girl at the top of the chute, overthinking. I thought, "What the heck am I doing??? I'm just a little kid, and this thing is too big for me!"

Then I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that, when I leap, I always do much better than when I think too much. Because of the other successful leaps I've taken, I've gained some faith that there will be a net to catch me. But that doesn't mean I'm not still scared...

Anyway, I've already leapt and I'm in mid-air now, so I couldn't turn back, even if I wanted to! And I'm not at all saying that I'm sorry I made this decision. I'm thrilled that the book will come into the world soon. I'm proud of it and proud of myself for leaping. But I'm still scared! Thank heavens I have my bloggy friends to keep me steady.

So, I'm curious, are you a leaper or a thinker? Or, like me, a little of both?

31 comments:

  1. I tend to leap - but I call my leaping Spontaneity - I'm not a big chance taker so I guess for me Spontaneity is leaping with my eyes open. :>)

    Remember the time we were stranded in Puerto Rico our plane was cancelled so we hired a pilot to fly us in a very little plane so we cold get to our destination??!!

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  2. Oh yes- that was a total leap! And one of best times ever! We were nuts to do it, but I'm glad we did.

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  3. I am a leaper too- I think life is too short to not grab every opportunity.
    I am delighted to have 'met you' here. Your book sounds excellent. I wish you huge success with it and shall look forward to it's release- see I am also a child at heart!
    Carol

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  4. Thanks Carol, for stopping by and for the kind words. I think my book is the kind that grown-ups will like too - themes that resonate in a good adventure.We should all be children at heart! Delighted to have met you too.

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  5. Hey Shepherd, :-D the world needs thinkers or all the leapers would land on each other's heads!

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  6. I try my best to be a leaper. My best achievements seem to happen when I leap.

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  7. I used to be such a "leaper" but as I got older I tend to over think things and then NOTHING gets done. in the past year I have found my old self that was hiding beneath all the "no, I can't do that" and "I just don't have time for that" and the "I have more important things to do" layers of myself and said YES!!!! Great post.
    Blessings, Joanne

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  8. Paul, it really does seem to happen that way.
    Joanne, I love when we rediscover our best selves are still there, waiting for us. Lovely.

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  9. More of a bull in a china shop, me;-)

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  10. As I was reading your post, my prevalent thought was, 'I want to be you!'
    I can't wait to read about your landing after this latest leap.
    You go girl!!!!!

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  11. It's funny because I am always the first person to jump into the water, but in life, I overthink everything. I wish I could take those jumps. I enjoyed this post because it reminds me to take more risks. Look at all the wonderful things that happened to you after you took the plunge!

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  12. Thinker. I'm the sort to always tip toe in and test the waters and then still never leap.

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  13. jabblog, you always make me smile!
    Betterispossible, thanks for the cheer :-)I need all the go-get-ems I can get.
    Melissa & Linda, I so relate. I am this bizarre combination of paralytic fear and ridiculous spontaneity. Thank heavens most of it worked out. I think there are plenty of situations where leaping is ill-advised!

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  14. I am like you...a little of both. Sometimes when I am over thinking - I just end up not doing it because I think something is stopping me & I should listen to that gut feeling. Other times though, like about 4 things this last year - huge decisions. I just went for it & they have been my some of my best! Life is such an adventure! I am so excited for you & your book - I am sure you made the right decision & can't wait to hear more about the process. ~Tracy

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  15. Tracy Jo, so good to find kindred spirits!

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  16. Hi Melissa! I love this subject. I'd have to say I'm a bit of both, like you! (it doesn't surprise me one bit, 'cause we seem a lot alike!) Some of my "Leaps" weren't exactly the smartes thing I ever did....but sure brought some wonderful people/places into my life. THAT leap was marrying my first husband! :D

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  17. I'm a "leap first, check for rocks later" sort of person. Not always the best choice but it has lead to some great adventures. The older I get the more I think before taking the plunge, but I do that as little as possible...I'd hate to talk myself out of an adventure!

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  18. Alienbody, I KNEW you'd be a leaper! I have gotten more adventurous as I get older - the reverse of you. As a kid, I'd prefer the teacups ride to the roller coaster (probably still do). But I feel like I spent too much time being afraid when I was younger so I try to embrace the adventure more often now.

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  19. What a great post! I am definitely too much of a thinker, but am trying my best to be more of a leaper. I've always been the little girl on the diving board, I'm hoping to change that now.

    Wonderful post, Melissa!

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  20. Julie, we'll all be like in "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden," - we'll all hold hands and leap together.

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  21. Becky, I missed your comment before! Yes, we have lots in common, it seems. I'm an odd duck (in many ways!) but in this regard it's because sometimes I am afraid of the small things, but I'll leap into something really big! Doesn't always make much sense...

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  22. Thinker. Definitely an (over) thinker. A friend of mine says that I am the most cautious person she's ever met. It doesn't make it easy to be an author, trying to break into the e-book market, and having to self-promote...

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  23. Hi Gordon, I know what you mean! It's hard to KNOW the right thing to do. I mean, do we ever KNOW?? One time when I was churning over a decision, a pastor said to me, "You know, I think God can work with either choice you make." Now I'm not super religious, but that statement helped me a lot because it took all the "right choice, wrong choice" worrying out of my mind.

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  24. Hey Melissa...I forgot to mention the most important gift I received by leaping into marriage with my first husband....my oldest son, Scott!!

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  25. Becky, well there ya go! I didn't make such a smart leap the first time around, but the second time I did. :-)

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  26. I'm both. When I leap, I usually have no idea why. It's that I'm compelled.

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  27. Me too Carol. Sometimes I think things to death, and then, when you'd think I SHOULD think, I leap! It's like you say, you feel compelled. I think that's our intuition and we are supposed to listen to it!

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  28. I am a thinker but at after much thinking, I leap anyways. So, what does that make me?

    p.s. I loved reading this because it makes me think that most good things in life happen when you take a big leap of faith in yourself and your gut.

    Now a faithful follower!
    http://rambleswithreese.etsy.com

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  29. silly me...I think I'm following you twice. Is that logistically possible? :-))

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  30. hello Dear Shopgirl, You are like two, two, two followers in one! :-) I think I've decided the same thing - the leaping things seem to work out the best...Still not sure I will always remember it when I need to though.

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