Taking chances can be extremely intimidating. You never know what might happen and you never know what the results will be. That said, taking chances can also be extremely rewarding and lead you down paths that you never knew where there. One of my favorite Indiana Jones movie moments (next to “Son, I’m sorry – they got us”) is when Indy has to take a leap of faith from the lion’s head to cross an impossibly wide drop to the other side. When you take a leap of faith, the net will appear.
Not every scenario is worthy of a leap of faith. I am not telling you to quit your job, go to the local store and spend your entire bank account on lottery tickets because you’ll suddenly find yourself a millionaire. I’m talking about those opportunities in life that fall in your lap. There are no red flags to be seen, you could take this opportunity or you could stay right where you are. The opportunity looks good, but you just don’t know. If you find yourself looking something positive in the face (not too good to be true! You know the difference), maybe it’s time to take a leap of faith, work really hard and watch the net appear.
After I graduated college in psychology, I immediately went to work as a Case Manager at a psychiatric nursing home. A little while later I got the job as Admissions Coordinator and I loved it. LOVED it. I had found my passion, I loved the residents that I worked with and the entire scenario fit me like a glove. After a few years there and at a hospital (where I also did admissions), I decided that I was going to get my Masters in Health Administration so that I could work to become the administrator of a nursing home. I applied to a local program (all excited and fluttery), got accepted and waited for my first day of class. Then I got a phone call. The very nice lady on the phone explained to me that because this Masters program had so few applicants, they were going to allow me to go into the Masters in Business Administration program instead. Gulp.
At this point in my life, I had a degree in psychology, intensive acting/improv/stage management training, had worked as a restaurant server and in a theater scene shop (building sets), and I’d done both case management (social skills) and admissions (more social skills). I was great in English, but my brain didn’t tend to want to wrap itself around things like stats or advanced math or charts and I had NO work experience in the area. And now I was going to have to do an MBA program?? Or I wasn’t. That was the other option. I could not do it and continue on doing what I did, applying for a different MHA program down the road. I had no clue what to do. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to who had been in a similar situation. I knew people who had an MBA, but they were all so different and they followed completely different paths or no path at all… I was freaking out. For a few days I pondered and tossed and turned in my sleep before deciding – what the heck. I had no answers, I didn’t know how I would get through it, but I’m a fighter and I take chances. Let’s do it.
I worked my behind off during that program. Some classes were SIGNIFICANTLY easier than others and some I had to have major help through. I had excellent classmates, some of who were in the exact same boat as me (expecting to get an MHA), so there were several of us pooling our brain power. I actually remember crying to my husband during my last class (we’d been married only a few months at that time), that I wasn’t going to make it. I had nine days left of school and I didn’t have nine days worth of energy left in me. I wasn’t going to make it through two more. He giggled, hugged me and told me that it was going to be fine. Looking back now, it was completely fine. Of course I made it through the nine days and graduated, but I’m telling you, in those moments, I was looking for the next net just to save me!
And that’s the thing – nets do appear if you take chances! It may not be the one you were expecting or the one that you had hoped for, but sometimes walking down a different path will take you so much further than the one you first saw. Think about who you were 15 or 20 years ago. What have you done in that time that you never would have expected? If you had told my 20 year old self that I’d be a full-time blogger, I would have asked you what a blogger was. I know that you have those moments as well. Take the chance! If you work hard, that net will be there.