It ended with a cracked skull and six stitches. But it all started so innocently.
When I was young, jumping on the bed was one of my absolute favorite activities. I’m talkin’ mess-up-the-sheets, scream-with-giggles, butterflies-in-your-stomach, Olympic champion bed jumping. Nothing brought me more joy than that beautiful bounce. You could probably hear my carefree cackling from miles away.
But then one bed-jumping session went horribly wrong.
At a weekend gathering of a family friend, I began jumping on a bed in the basement with one of the other young boys. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, one of the other kids decided to join in. She was older than the two of us and able to ricochet us across the bed and into a pile of pillows, similar to jumping on a trampoline. After several rounds of bouncing us into that soft landing, she went to rebound me again.
This time, I was catapulted headfirst into the sliding glass door next to the bed.
I reached back to inspect the wound and screamed at the sight of my blood-soaked hand. My father came running to the rescue. The paramedics were called. I was taken to the Emergency Room, stitched up and sent back to the party with a full head bandage, ashamed for having defied my dad’s strict order to not jump on the bed.
Now that I look back on it, that situation was kind of like everyone’s biggest fear, realized. No one wants to jump—to take a leap of faith—and end up with the wounds to convince them that they shouldn’t have jumped to begin with. J.K. Rowling touched on this when she said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fail fast than take the chance of not living at all. Failure hurts, but regret hurts more.
Leaping without knowing where you’ll land on the other side can be extremely scary. But taking risks is necessary for growth. All of the greatest things in life require a leap of faith. You cannot fall in love if you don’t let down your walls and leap. You most likely won’t advance in your career if you don’t allow yourself to put in the hard work to make it happen. And you cannot connect with the Universe unless you lay down your sword and learn to lead with and embrace love.
It’s called a leap of faith for a reason. But what is faith exactly?
Faith is the belief in something larger, grander and more powerful than you. Faith is the belief that you cannot fail, you can only learn. Faith is the belief that you’re always being guided by love.
I like to think of my faith as an interconnected network of tree roots: No matter what storms may come my way, I will remain unshakeable and stand tall; I may bend, but I shall never break; I am grounded yet boundless. And yet, despite all of the strength I garner from my faith, it can still be difficult to accept this truth.
Fear is powerful, but faith persists. Fear says, “why try?” but faith says, “why not?” Fear whispers that you need to ration your love, but faith whispers that love is the only thing that lasts. Fear builds walls, but faith builds bridges.
A life lived in fear is like a bed of springs: It propels you headfirst toward a sliding glass door. But a life lived in faith is like a pile of pillows there waiting on the other end. No matter how many times you leap, you’ll always land softly. No matter how many times you doubt your greatness, you’ll be sure to bounce back. No matter how many times you trip up in fear, your faith is there to pull you back up with a hug.
Below, I detail five ways to take a leap of faith. Because you deserve a pile of pillows instead of a sliding glass door. You deserve the joy of gratitude instead of the grief of regret. You deserve to be guided by love instead of fear.
Truth is, you already are. You just need to believe it.
1. Set your intention.
It’s important to set your intention when you’re about to take a leap of faith. Intention is about being purposeful with your energy. Ultimately, you’re looking to tune your own energy to the same frequency as what it is that you seek so that you can attract it into your life.
You need to know what it is you’re leaping for, after all. Then, it’s your job to live your life as if you can’t fail, you can only learn.
Let’s say that you want to find a romantic life partner. How is it that you want to feel with that person? Do you want to feel secure? Do you want to feel heard? Do you want to feel close? Imagine the feeling of what it would be like to be that person’s partner. Try to stick to the sensation of fulfillment instead of specifying the way he or she looks or how successful you think he or she should be.
Let’s say that you want to make a career change. What would it feel like if you already had that job? How does it feel to bring your personal talents to life through that position? Again, focus on the energy of that situation and call it forth in your mind’s eye.
Intention is a compass, not an anchor. You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t orient yourself first. Get clear about the path and it will be paved for you. It all starts with clear intent.
2. Surrender the outcome.
Surrendering and leaping isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of strength. It shows that you’re willing to be vulnerable and act despite your fear. It’s the ultimate display of faith when you can relinquish your sense of control and allow life to unfold as it was meant to—as the Universe intended it—absent your judgment.
The destination isn’t yours to decide. How you show up on the way there is. Offer yourself up and the Universe will redirect you toward love if you let it.
3. Look for signs.
Once you’ve made your intentions clear and given them over to the Universe, only do those things that align energetically with that intention. Then, look for signs. Raise your periscope, so to speak, and be on the lookout for a signal from the Universe. Continue to have faith that you’re being guided in the right direction. Life will always show you when you’re on the right track.
What’s the first animal or object that comes to mind? Think about it in your mind and name it out loud. Now, look out for that animal or object in your daily life. If you keep the faith and follow these steps, you’ll see more and more of your signature animal or object all over. Focus your attention and be on the lookout.
When you see your sign, you know you’re being guided in the right direction—you know your faith is being acknowledged.
4. Jump before you’re ready.
It’s not a leap of faith if there’s no risk involved. Doing everything in your power to minimize that risk demonstrates your inability to surrender control and allow the Universe to orient you to the path of the highest possible good.
By all means, prepare to the best of your ability. By all means, put in the ground work. By all means, lay the foundation for your future. But do it out of an attitude of abundance, not a mentality of scarcity.
There is no such thing as leaping too early, only leaping too late. Everything will fall into place for you if you go on faith. It’s only a matter of time.
5. Trust and believe.
There is no faith where there is no trust. Lack of trust and lack of conviction are constructs based in fear. And fear and faith cannot coexist. The only way you can be steered in the right direction is if you let go of the fear and hold fast to your faith instead.
You will have moments where you doubt everything that’s happening is for your betterment. That is for certain. This is about how quickly you reorient back to reverence when you have reservations. This is about being steadfast when things seem unsteady. This is about hope.
Faith will hold your hand through the darkness and always lead you back to the light. But you have to release the grip of fear first. Only then can you rely on the Universe to guide you to the glory meant for you.
What are some ways you follow your faith instead of your fear? Share your story in the comments—or Tweet me at @crackliffe.