In case you missed it, 2016 is a special year – special because you get a whole extra day during the year. That’s right, every four years we get an extra day and 2016 is one of those years – a leap year. But let’s face it – that extra day really is not that special. In fact, what will we actually do with that extra day? If you’re like me, you’ll probably blow it and it won’t make much of a difference in your 2016 experience.
But what if, instead of simply experiencing the traditional leap year (with a mere extra day), we declare 2016 to be LEAP year – a year in which we leap into something new (whether it’s big or small, personal or professional). If you’re like me, you can relate to the idea of leaping and also to the fear it brings. I often imagine myself standing on the edge of the cliff of life and sensing that all that’s needed is a leap (of faith) to allow me to soar in my life. But the nature of cliffs is always the same – they involve a steep drop, if for some reason I fail to catch the winds beneath my wings. There’s the dilemma – do I stay where I am, or do I take the leap of faith into the unknown to find out what’s really inside of me?
Before I go on, let me make one thing very clear. The idea of leaping is not about the size of the leap (or the dream), but the willingness to take the risk to get outside of your comfort zone. People often question whether the things I talk about relate to everyone or only those in a position to take risks or leaps. In other words, what about the person who is struggling just to get by in life – are they meant to take leaps, or is survival their only mission? My answer is that leaps are relative and they can involve everything from dreams to goals to relationships to projects—even single moments.
It often takes a leap to open the door to the healing of a relationship (perhaps by being willing to reach out in the hope of reconciliation). It takes a leap to find your next job when the old (and more comfortable) way of doing things is not working. It takes a leap to change the way you are supporting your children or to have an uncomfortable interaction. It takes a leap to have a difficult conversation in any context. In other words, taking a leap is an option for everyone, no matter what your circumstance or situation.
What’s your leap (or leaps) in 2016? What have you been hesitant about? What has been calling you, but you’ve held back? What has you scared and stuck? Is it time to step off the edge and leap into your future? I’m often told that I don’t understand where people are in their lives, but the truth is that no one truly knows where I am (or where I’ve been), and the same is true for you. It’s not up to me to figure out where people are, and I encourage you to resist the urge to assume that someone else’s situation is different from or easier than your situation (especially when it comes to taking risks and leaps). It’s also not up to me (for you) or you (for me or for others) to figure out what’s the best or biggest leap. By their very nature, leaps are personal and only you know if the leap you’re taking is the one you’re meant to take right now.
Make no mistake – I’m not suggesting that taking a leap is not scary or uncertain (that’s what makes it a leap), but I am suggesting that taking a leap into your true self, into the unknown or into your dreams can be amazing. I also believe that our families, relationships, businesses and communities would benefit from a few leaps.
Try something with me. Close your eyes and imagine yourself standing at the edge of a cliff (big or small, high or not so high) with your desired leap visualized in front of you. Make sure the leap is crystal clear in your mind. Now imagine yourself with your arms outstretched like an eagle and preparing to soar. Lean forward over the edge of the cliff and feel the resistance as you lean forward. What’s the hesitancy or resistance? What exactly is the fear? What’s holding you back? Get it clear in your mind.
Now, imagine your desired future. How would your life, relationships, career or business be different if you took the leap and were willing to risk soaring? How would things change for the better if you leaped? Who would benefit from your personal courage and willingness to take the leap? Be very clear on who gets the gift of your leap and the soaring that follows. Now you have a decision to make. There’s no guarantee that your leap will succeed, but there’s a virtual certainty that things won’t change unless and until you spread your wings and jump. This is where we all stand as we enter 2016 – the leap year.
As I said before, the only thing different about 2016 for most people is that it’s a leap year and you get one extra day. But, for the small group of people who are ready and willing to take the risk and leap – into your life, your relationships, your business, your career or your dreams – it can be a LEAP year! A year of transformation and healing on so many levels is always possible. It’s decision time – will 2016 be just another year for you (plus one day), OR will 2016 be the year that you look back on and confidently declare it to be your LEAP year – a year that changed everything.
We’re all standing on the edge of our lives, and people are waiting for us to take the leap. Will you be the one?
Jeff Nischwitz is the Chief Story Debunker of The Nischwitz Group, a speaking, coaching and consulting firm that transforms people and organizations … One Story at a Time! He is also the author of Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re “Supposed” to Be & Unleash Your True Leader (Motivational Press 2014). You can learn more at www.nischwitzgroup.com.