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Will You Jump Or Wait To Be Pushed?

Why do so few people live up to their potential?

In his book “Linchpin”, Seth Godin posits that people who are remarkable are those who are totally dedicated to their “art”, exhibiting a willingness to plunge forward despite the fear and the risks, and deliver results that change the world around them.

In one of his blog posts, he asks the further question: How much support does someone need before they create remarkable results?

His observation:

“(…)Most mentors and coaches and teachers will tell you that few of their students ever do, not in comparison with their potential. A few break through and change everything, and we celebrate them, but what about everyone else?
The artists are different. They took a leap.
They weren’t pushed. They jumped.”

What is the difference between jumping and being pushed?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this, and what comes to mind is the idea that maybe the difference between jumping and being pushed is about expectations. And specifically, expectations about “winning conditions” that guarantee success.

As I look at the opportunities before me, there is a part of me that wants to leap, but another part of me that is holding me back, waiting for the right conditions that can maximize a successful outcome:

– If only I had more money in the bank
– if only I had more time
– if only I had more help
– if only I had more support
– if only I had more accountability
– if only I had more recognition
– if only I had more energy
– if only I had more resources
– if only I had more knowledge
– if only I had more structure
– if only I had more encouragement…

…then I could feel better about making the leap.

Deep down I want assurance that everything will turn out okay before I take the risk. I also want insurance that will compensate me if the result doesn’t turn out as expected.

But this is a lie.“Winning conditions” will never show up by themselves. And if they do appear before I make my move, it’s too late.

This is the conundrum: If I wait for the winning conditions, they can’t happen, because winning conditions are only created once I make an irrevocable commitment. It is the energy of my commitment that creates the winning conditions.

And that’s why being pushed is not the same as jumping.

If I wait for someone to push me, the winning conditions can’t happen, because the commitment is not fully mine. So I need to fully commit to jumping now, in the absence of winning conditions, knitting my parachute as I plummet to the earth, hoping I can make it work before I become a stain on some farmer’s field.

This is the problem with the coaching, personal development and self-help industry. We want to provide winning conditions for the client to make the leap. But if we provide the client with the parachute, and push him out the door, the winning conditions can’t appear. The client has to make the decision to leap on his own. As I look back on the success stories with my clients, it is those who decided themselves to take that leap, who succeeded.

If success were guaranteed, there would be no reward, because success would be so ordinary. The reward of success comes by pushing through the fear and the odds to create remarkable results that express my full potential.

Pain, disappointment, stress and fatigue are guaranteed. I chuckle to myself as I think about this… if it’s guaranteed to hurt, why am I afraid of the pain? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the reward and aim for that? To have the unshakable belief in success carry me through the pain…

In my own life, right now as I write these lines, there are several amazing opportunities that are opening up for me. These opportunities challenge me to take my game to a whole new level, but also trigger my lizard brain to shift into overdrive, causing me to hesitate when I should be going full throttle. Seth’s post reminds me that maybe I’m waiting to be pushed, instead of leaping of my own accord.

Thus the real question I must answer for myself: Am I waiting to be pushed, or will I jump towards my potential on my own?

For more information

Amazon.com link for Linchpin:
http://www.amazon.com/Linchpin-Are-Indispensable-Seth-Godin/dp/1591843162

A very good overview and interview on Mashable:
http://mashable.com/2010/02/14/seth-godin-linchpin/

Seth’s blog post that triggered this thought process:
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/05/mentoring-platforms-and-taking-a-leap.html

Related posts on this blog:

Image credit: Josephine Dorado via Flickr. Direct link to image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/funksoup/66512710
Permission via Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/funksoup/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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