Machen MacDonald: Take the leap |

Machen MacDonald: Take the leap

Machen MacDonald

Some people go their whole life without taking any real risk, without straying from the path they're on, no matter how unpleasant it is. Others leap from one adventure to the next, seemingly with no need for security or routine.

Most of us, though, fall somewhere in the middle. We choose our leaps of faith carefully, sometimes agonizing for years before taking one and sometimes regretting missed opportunities for years after the fact.

Where would we be today if people like Henry Ford or the Wright brothers hadn't taken the leap? How would life be different if Henry Ford had listened to naysayers and never tried to mass-produce an affordable car? What if Orville and Wilbur left the flying to the birds?

Our blinding desire to see our dreams come true sometimes makes it painful to keep things the same. We feel stuck and blocked from realizing our full potential, and that can be unbearable.

As Anais Nin wrote, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

For some, a leap of faith comes only after a long period of research and consultation, or after an assurance of success; or at least a minimal risk of failure. Others bypass those requirements and use the evidence from their past experiences of successful leaps. And others are finally spurred by the threat of competition.

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Every day offers forks in the road where we can either take a risk or do what we've always done. Small things like leaping through your shyness to speak up at a meeting, or larger things like starting a business or publishing a book.

You may choose your leap based on intuitive hits or coincidences, such as people or things seeming to point you towards the leap you're considering.

For others, the choice may be more logical: you've done the research and your leap is sound.

Preparing for the leap

While there's no way to guarantee the outcome of your leap, there are ways to cushion against disappointment.

Think it through. What are the possible consequences of your leap? Write them down and prepare for them.

Assemble a support team. Make sure there are people you can talk to every step of the way, people who appreciate what you're doing.

Build reserves. Ensure that you have time, money and energy to see you through this period of uncertainty.

Adjust your attitude. Strive for success, but if the results are less than what you had hoped, accept that the experience has helped you learn and grow.

While your success is not guaranteed, resisting the call to leap could be far worse than falling short. What would you rather look back on: a failed attempt that led to something even better or a missed attempt that led nowhere at all?

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000.