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Turn Back? Or Jump? Lessons from a Springboard and a Fearless Child.

Sometimes, you just have to hold your breath...

Jump...

Kick really hard...

And come to the surface a new person.

I watched a video of my little nephew today. He was taking his first leap off of a diving board by himself. Think back to when you were a kid and how scary that moment was - alone on the edge of a thin, unsteady plank. You walked forward for what seemed like forever, and with every step, you felt more uncertain as the board progressively bounced up and down while you tried to maintain your balance. And then you reached the end, with one of two choices: turn back, or jump. Today, with floaties that were buckled to his body, our little dude decided to jump! And he loved the feeling so much, he decided to do it again, and again.

Turn back? Or jump? We’re faced with those questions, which lead to choices, so many times over the course of our lives. And our decisions feel more impactful as we get older because they’re choices that will script our life’s story (and we want to make sure it’s a damn good story with a happy ending). Our life choices give us results that make us wish we could turn back, or be thankful that we jumped. These choices can mean moving on from unhealthy, but comfortable relationships; leaving unfulfilling, but familiar jobs; uprooting to a new town filled with strangers and possibilities; investing in a business that fulfills your passion with no guarantee that it will fill your bank account; or taking some new road alone, with no one to walk in step with you.

Turning back. It takes us to a place that’s safe. A place that’s familiar. Safe and familiar sometimes get a bad rap, but they can be good for us. They can provide comfort and stability. They can protect us when we need a place to go back to after we’ve lost our way. But when safe and familiar hold us back from opportunities that involve positive momentum in our lives, it might be worth the risk of letting go of safe and familiar.

Will I fall, or will I rise up? Will I fail, or will I succeed? Am I making the right choice, or will I regret this?

These are questions we ask ourselves when we’re about to take the proverbial “leap of faith.” And the most common reason we fail to jump is because of fear. Fear of falling. Fear of failing. Fear of rejection. And fear of regret.

I had to make a professional decision recently, the details of which have been resting on my mind for quite some time. If you’ve read my book or my blogs, you know that I’m very forthcoming about my personal thoughts and experiences. But this specific situation I chose to keep private, even from those whom I trusted and would advise me on a regular basis. This time, I needed to collect my own data, review the options, think about what would be the best choice for me (while staying true to my own wants, needs, motivations, and values), and then decide to jump or turn back. I’ll add here (as a sidebar), that when I was a young girl, I mastered the diving board (a fact almost no one knows). Front flips, back flips, inward flips, reverse dives... I tried them all. I excelled at a few, while others were not-so-gracefully executed. I was afraid every time I tried a dive that looked dangerous, but I was a determined kid who wanted to be able to say, “I did it!” And now with a real-life choice to make, I had to decide if I would run and jump, or stay where it was safe. I’m careful and thoughtful about my decisions, but I’ve never shed the existence of that determined, little girl. Sure, sometimes doubt creeps in. We all doubt ourselves from time to time. But I can promise you this...

If you take a deep breath...

Run forward with as much momentum as you can summon...

Jump as high and far as you can...

Commit your energy to your end goal...

You WILL come to the surface a new person. Simply for the reason that you can say, “I did it!”

Andrea Vecchio

About the author

Andrea Vecchio (@andreavecchio) is the founder and author of Live Your Playlist, creator and host of the digital series Driving Cleveland, motivational speaker, life strategist, and Emmy-nominated television host.

12 comments on “Turn Back? Or Jump? Lessons from a Springboard and a Fearless Child.”

  1. Karen Boddy Reply

    Andrea, I love this. Actually these things have been on my mind today. Of course they are wrapped up in my personal desires, but like you I wonder, do I jump or not. There is much to weigh in these decisions.

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      I guess I was in tune with you Karen! Maybe you’re a careful and cautious decision maker like me (for the big things, of course). When in doubt, ask for clarity, and you’ll get your answers. xo

  2. Rick Reply

    havent heard from you in sometime. thought you stopped these emails. glad your back..Rick

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      I took a little break (ok, it was kind of a long break haha). But I hope to continue writing more! Thanks for your message Rick!

  3. Kathleen Reply

    I was so excited to see this blog post – I’ve missed them so much, and this post definitely did not disappoint! Also, I remember you always having great diving skills!! 😉

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Bouts of writer’s block… but the ideas are starting to surface 😉 Just don’t ask me to show you my diving skills during our next pool visit, haha!

  4. Jane Reply

    I love this! I have had many times in my life when I had to decide whether to jump in or not. I can so relate to this! Thank you for writing it! You have a wonderful way with words and connecting to so many people!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Thank you so much Jane! Some days, I’m not sure if the words will come. I’m so glad you connect with my writing and messaging. xo

  5. Marti Reply

    In midst of several decisions myself Andrea…at the messy and need to organize stage. Drawing on words of wisdom from my mom that she’s trying to put together during her illness now…Will be my turn to take over soon and hope to draw strength from positive thoughts, wishes & prayers. Of course, Lane said “be strong Mom” in several of our last conversations…I will remember that before each of my next jumps

  6. Gary gates Reply

    Hi Andrea I enjoyed this blog also. Much like between layoffs with different airlines, I had to ask myself “do I continue down the road where I keep getting rejection letters or do I focus on what I wanted to do and let whatever happens happen! Am glad I did continue in the airlines because from December of 2000- today, I have worked for “four different airlines” and this September 27th will be my 10 th year anniversary with southwest here in Tampa! I won’t really feel it until I go to the 10 year anniversary party in Dallas later this year! Also after this September anniversary, I will have 4 paid vacations rather than 3! So let’s just say that I did a flip off the diving board and landed on my feet going into the water!

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