It terrified me and enthralled me all the same time. I remember squinting my eyes up, trying to see the top. I imagined what it would feel like, looking down from that height. I envisioned the wind in my hair and the rush of air as I dove down. I tried to imagine how the sharp slap of the water would feel on the way in.
The high dive at the local pool was always off limits. At least to young kids like me who hadn't gotten past Porpoise level in swim lessons. I was never that enticed by swimming, and secretly vowed to learn only enough to not drown. I didn't long for water in my eyes, or my ears, or up my nose. I did not enjoy the smell of chlorine. But despite all that, I still yearned for the freedom of the high dive. Just once. Just once.
And like most things, eventually that day came. I don't know how I did it, but I passed all the required lessons. I know there was screaming on my part as instructors would dump buckets of water on my head. I know I resisted. But I eventually got there. And now, as an adult, I can confidently not drown. I can also say that I made it to the top of that high dive. And I jumped.
The climb up was the worst. And then waiting at the top was pure torture. But as my toes curled around the edge and I peered down below, I knew I would never regret not taking the leap. Of course I knew I'd also be the laughing stock of the kids at the pool for chickening out. So I held my breath, I closed my eyes, and I jumped. I leaped. I think I screamed. And when I came up, gasping for air and rubbing water out of my eyes I had two thoughts: that was almost fun, and also? I'm never doing that again.
I never would have known the thrill of flying through the air if I hadn't jumped. I never would have experienced the rush without the risk.
From time to time life asks us to jump. It places a great big risk in front of us, and tempts us to try. We spend our time imagining, dreaming great big what if's, and maybes and ideas to make it work. It's the dreams that wake you in the night, make your heart pound with equal amounts of excitement and fear. And those are also the ones that haunt us for lack of trying, even if our hair gets messed and water goes up our nose. We need to try. We need to purse those dreams. The world needs more risk takers, dreamers, visionaries.
And what of your dream? The world is suffering from the lack of it, my friend. And we need you, we need your dream alive and lived out by you. What is your dream? What keeps you from jumping? Take those hinderances and then just jump anyway. Take the leap. Pursue your passion, find your voice. We need it. The world needs you alive and living out that dream.