There are times in our lives when we take a leap of faith and feel it all. Fear, anxiety, excitement, uncertainty, indecision, and joy rise simultaneously like the bubbles that cultivate while you’re pouring a glass of champaign. One of those times in my life is now. Taking leaps of faith is nothing new to me. I know these feelings lead to what I want. It’s winning or learning. I’ll take either one over being stagnant and complacent. So, what can we do to help us take that leap of faith?
1. Trust your internal compass
Before you roll your eyes and think this is just another generic yogi/preachy/airy-fairy post, read on. Using your logic is a great way to get through certain areas of your life. However, when you’re taking a leap of faith, you need to tap into your internal compass, and trust it. Some call it your gut or intuition, but we’re all born with an internal compass that is designed to guide us through life. Trust that you have all you need to guide you to what you want to do.
I came out to California by myself three years ago. I had no job, no idea where I’d live, and no idea what I’d do. All I had was trust that there was a reason I felt pulled in that direction. I knew as long as I followed that internal compass I called curiosity, I’d find my way. Though the beginning was as smooth as the face of a teenager going through puberty, I eventually found all that I was looking for, and then some.
2. Acknowledge the gremlin
The “gremlin,” or the “annoying roommate,” is the voice in your head that feeds you excuses, doubt, and excessive anxiety. Some internal voices expressing concerns is valid. That being said, more often than not, it’s the gremlin trying to keep you from doing something that will require you to change and have potential discomfort. Sometimes, the gremlin comes in the form of other people too. They’ll tell you their opinions that stem from their limiting beliefs. When two gremlins get together, it turns into a party where everyone wishes they’d stayed home with their cats with a tub of ice-cream instead. Don’t join their party. Throw a better one. No gremlins allowed.
My gremlin has many voices, one of which sounds like an old chainsmoker from Long Island who has recently been saying to me: “How the hell you gunna go backpacking through Asia by yourself with a one way ticket? You on crack? You think you got balls or somethin’? You’re not cut out for that. You should buy a cat and some ice-cream, get in your sweatpants, and stay here.”
Other times the voice sounds so much like me that I mistake it for my internal compass. “It’s wise to settle down and get your life together in the States. The longer you wait, the more behind you’ll be. You’ll get anxious that you’re putting your real life on hold. Plus, you could get hurt out there.”
It takes practice to acknowledge and befriend your gremlins. The more you become aware of them, and rise above the fear, the easier it will be for you to put down the ice cream and take action.
3. Take steps
You don’t have to see what’s at the top of the stairs before you take the first step. Most people do wait, which keeps them on the same step, and unable to move forward to reach the top. You don’t have to fly up the stairs like Quicksilver. Little baby steps will do too, so long as you’re moving.
Do I know what the hell is going to happen once I get to Asia? Do I see what the outcome will be? Do I know why I hear myself saying “Go!” You know as much as I do. Still, I’m packing my bags, selling my belongings, and putting in my 30-day notice for the apartment that it hurts to leave. I don’t see the top, but I’m taking steps to see what’s there for me.
Solo traveling through foreign countries I’ve never been, without a plan or timeline, has me feeling like a cat being held above a bathtub, by a child. However, I know the less I plan, and the more I let life take me through this journey, the more I’ll expand. We grow more that way because we are forced to use our internal compass for guidance, rather than our logical brain. We step out of our comfort zone, which makes our gremlins have tantrums for an excessive amount of time that we then have to find ways to cope with. We come to realize life unfolds beautifully in retrospect, so when chaos arises, we know it will work out in the end. Taking a leap of faith comes at a cost, but growth is priceless.
This is not to say go all willy-nilly and spend your life savings gambling because your “gut” told you to. If you feel your internal compass guiding you towards something that lights you up, don’t let your gremlin shut the light off. Walk toward it with curiosity, love, and the three tips to take a leap of faith.