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Leaps of Faith: The First Step is to Jump

on July 17, 2013

leap-of-faithThe inspiration for this post came to me from an unexpected source: My dentist (whose dental practice is awesome, might I add). During my routine cleaning this week I was updating him on my recent career endeavors, and how psyched I am about finally taking the steps to start my own personal training/counseling practice and immersing myself in the world of fitness, at present. His response continued to echo in my brain long after I left the exam chair: “You just made my day by sharing that with me… Taking a leap of faith… you just don’t see people do that anymore. It’s so good to see somebody going for what they love”. (Aw, thanks dentist!)

Whether it be in therapy or exercise (or life, in general), he’s right: I’ve come across many people, from all walks of life, who stare out from a door of opportunity, stick one toe out, and immediately retract to the comforts of their “status quo”. Maybe the goal seems too lofty, too big, too risky… Maybe with change means letting go of an old identity, saying goodbye to relationships that no longer work, or “closing a chapter” that a lot of effort was put into. I get it. I’ve been there. In fact, I think I can count numerous times in my life I’ve had to go on blind faith, hoping that if and when I land, the impact won’t break me. Well, in the worlds of the great Elton John: “I’m still standing! (Yeah, yeah yeah)”, and I’ve learned that listening to your heart (and that ever-nagging gut feeling) always ensures you land softly… even if it’s a bumpy ride down .

Let’s bring this back around to what tends to happen to clients I’ve worked with in the past, and how I use “leaps of faith” to push people out that aforementioned door of opportunity. This is why I am so passionate about fitness and emotional/behavioral work being so connected: Both involve taking a risk with yourself, and both involve taking ownership over your life to create change. Committing to a healthier you – whether mental or physical – requires a critical, inward look and a readiness to be honest with yourself and what no longer works for you. “But Caitlin! That’s TOO SCARY!!! I’d rather NOT!”, you say. Of course! And enrolling yourself in a fitness or counseling program doesn’t mean you show up for session one and your life is forced to change. Hey, I always say that the first step is just reaching out for help (that takes bravery in itself! And heck, that’s the first part of a leap!)

The next step is breaking down your “leap” into something more manageable and less scary. When somebody says to me “I want to lose 50 pounds in 30 days and feel better about myself”, you can best bet my answer is something like, “Wow! I love your ambition. But, let’s start small – how would you like to feel in, say, two weeks? More energy? Increased positivity?” I didn’t jolt myself awake one day exclaiming, “TODAY I START A PRIVATE PRACTICE!!!” I developed small goals that were a means to an end – from trying to get one new client a week, to exploring where to set up shop, to figuring out how in the world “tweeting” is effective… There were probably multiple times in the last 3 years I could have left my job, but I didn’t “make the leap” until more pieces came together. And, my gut and heart said GO. So that being said, a “leap” can be made up of many small “jumps” that eventually make up your overall goal. That being said, you gotta jump to begin with. 

Having support, guidance, friendship…whatever… along the way is very important, too. My leap of faith felt far less scary when I knew I had oodles of support from loved ones, colleagues, new business connections, etc. It’s important to remember who isn’t going to leave you feeling alone when you begin to create change. I frequently preached this in my family therapy work: Who is going to help you when you start to feel scared or overwhelmed? As a personal trainer and a therapist, I constantly feel blessed to be put in this role for people time and time again.

In sum, recognize that leaping is scary, but listening to what’s best for you and OWNING THAT (even when it looks ugly) is far worth the jump. And, go see my dentist, because apparently if you share the fact you’re embarking on your dream with him, he’ll be your first supporter 🙂

Happy Leaping, everyone!


One response to “Leaps of Faith: The First Step is to Jump

  1. […] Leaps of Faith: The First Step is to Jump ( […]

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