The picture above is one of my favorite pictures of me. I remember feeling very confident and alive in that moment.
Why? Because I had just jumped off a telephone pole.
It was part of a ropes course I was doing in Central California that included tightrope walking and hanging off a cliff face down. I am afraid of heights and thought the telephone pole would be the hardest thing I did there, but it was hanging forward off the cliff with gravity pulling me down that made me cry.
The telephone pole may not have been the hardest, but it did provide the greatest lessons.
The goal was to climb the pole, stand on a small wobbly piece of wood, turn around, and jump for the trapeze. Several big strong guys had gone before me and no one had been able to reach the trapeze.
I was scared to death and saw myself as smaller and weaker than the other people there. I told myself it would be okay if I just climbed most of the pole. That would be enough. I was ready to give in to my fear. Play small. Give up on myself.
I had seen that navigating the transition from holding onto the pole to standing on top of it was the trickiest part. I never anticipated I could do it. But, I did. And then, I turned around to face the trapeze.
I knew people that were taller and had longer arms than me had failed. No one had succeeded in reaching it before me and I didn’t feel very confident. So, I jumped half-heartedly and reached out with just one hand.
That hand caught and held onto the trapeze. I did it!
It was one of my greatest lessons. I learned not to underestimate myself or let fear stop me. I learned that I was capable of so much more than I allowed myself to believe. And, I learned that I should never, never, never give up on myself.
You don’t need to jump off a telephone pole or hang off a cliff to embrace the same lessons and feel more confident. It’s a choice. You can just decide to always do your best and go for what you want. I imagine that just like me, you are capable of so much more than you believe.