One Small Step = One Giant Leap
Twenty years ago, on the 30th anniversary of the lunar landing, I started FireStar. It’s been a great journey, and I am so very grateful for everyone who hired me over the years. Hiring a speaker is a risk and I really appreciate every person who took a chance on me. I can never thank them (you!) enough.
It was a giant leap for me at the time. I was divorced and quit a good job with insurance, etc. to become a speaker. (Kinda like running off to join the circus. My mother was horrified.) But it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I think we all have to keep leaping. A leap can be anything that’s scary and has the potential to change your life. It could be as simple as asking someone out or as big as deciding to have a child. It could be traveling someplace new or quitting your job. But if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not a leap.
Ideas for leaping:
Pick a cool date to do it. Why do you think so many people propose on Valentine’s Day? It gives you a deadline. (And it makes it easier to remember your anniversary.) I set the goal to quit my job by Independence Day. Best Independence Day ever! I felt like the fireworks were for me!
Leap away from pain and towards joy. Leap away from loneliness and toward connection (post that profile on match.com). Dread is another good thing to leap away from. What in your life is causing you pain right now? Dread going to work on Mondays? How can you leap away?
Start with a small step. I started by researching the market for speakers and drafting a business plan. Maybe you start by assessing your talents and deciding how you can make the best use of them. Maybe you start by saving money to create your leap fund. But start doing something. No one can leap for you, and no one is going to lift your life to the next level. (NASA ain’t showing up at your door with a space suit.) You have to do this for yourself.
Get a good ground crew. You need at least one person who believes in you. Once you start leaping, the rest of your crew will show up. One of my first ground crew members was Larry Lancaster at the Small Business Center at Fayetteville Tech. I went in to get advice and he wound up hiring me to speak. He was a great mentor – he used to call me most mornings and ask if I was working or still sleeping. (Ha) Most of your ground crew will come into your life naturally. Your task is to be open to help and advice and to stay away from people who don’t support your leap.
Train for your leap. Neil Armstrong didn’t just hop in a rocket and jet on up to the moon. Years of preparation and training were involved. You have access to more information than any generation to come before. Training for your leap will give you the confidence to take it.
Don’t stop looking at the stars. I was out with my Pop one night and I was looking up at the stars. He said, “You’ve always done that – even as a little kid.” I can’t help it – every time I’m outside at night, I have to look at the stars. It’s a wonder – the Universe is so vast, and we are so small. The beauty is so amazing. I guess I thought everyone did that; I didn’t realize I was a weirdo. I think if we spent more time looking at the stars and less time looking at our phones, the world would be a better place. Next time you’re out at night, look at the sky and think about the incredible courage it took to be blasted into that unknown. And you can’t ask someone out?
I get that we’re not all astronauts, but we can be the heroes of our own lives. We can travel to new places; we can initiate relationships; we can start businesses; we can master new skills. We can keep leaping.
Jeff Hutchins of Penick Village (a wonderful client and friend) once shared a story with me. He was taking a group of assisted living residents out for a rare evening activity and one lady stopped and looked up. She had tears in her eyes when she thanked him for the chance to see the moon. She hadn’t seen the night sky in years. Oh, the things we take for granted.
Leap while you can.