Leaping into the Unknown

“Come to the edge” he said. “No,” they said.
“Come to the edge” he said.
“No,” they replied. “Come to the edge” he said.
They came. He pushed them and they flew.

~ Guillaume Apollinaire

A few years ago, I had a client who was deeply committed to unearthing his true potential and creating an organization where others could do the same. He saw things differently than those around him. He took approaches that felt right to him, despite the fact that others would have preferred he do things differently. He was a cultural warrior in an organization intent on keeping things the same.

This man didn’t fit the environment he was in. He had three choices. One was to ignore his instincts and simply play the game. He tried that for awhile, but the suffocation of conforming to a cultural norm he didn’t believe in was slowly killing him. Another option was to leave and find something new. He didn’t feel he was quite ready for that. His third option, and the one he chose, was to stay and do the work he felt called to do — to create in his own little corner an organization that would shine so brightly that the results would speak for themselves.

Things didn’t work out the way he had planned, and when he called me with news of the organization change that left him without a job, I could feel his anger, disappointment and fear. What he didn’t realize was that it was the beginning of just the change he needed to allow him to do what he really wanted to do (which he is now doing with great success, by the way). But before he got there, he would experience a void so great that he wasn’t sure he would ever come through it.

The day I got his call, I wrote a tribute to him which I now offer to anyone contemplating a leap, experiencing a void, or mustering up the courage to ask the deep questions about what you really want in life and what you are willing to do to get it.

I know a man so tirelessly dedicated to excellence that he creates and evokes it everywhere he goes. He is a strong leader, who strives to make a difference in the lives of those around him. People around him learn from his example. They admire his leadership, integrity and heart and would walk through fire for him. This man treats people with respect, kindness and honor. He is committed to his own growth, and even more so to the growth of those around him. And he knows he is ready for something bigger than anything he has previously been a part of. He’s known that for a long time.

This man’s dedication and loyalty is solid and steadfast, though some might question whether all the people he gives it to are deserving or have truly earned it. He puts the welfare of others before his own, and as a result people trust him. They know he has their back. He has been repeatedly tried and tested, achieving great successes and enduring great disappointment. But he never gave up.

“Come to the edge.”

This man heard the call. He rose up to answer it. But he hit a wall.

“Come to the edge.”

He heard it again, so he took a different path, gathered more strength, got a little more traction and powered ahead with greater intensity. And he hit the wall again, only this time, harder. Bloody, bruised, but not beaten, he thoughtfully retreated, waiting for another opportunity to rise.

“Come to the edge.”

He heard it again. He came. He lost his job.

Why? Unfathomable. Shocking. He did not know. He didn’t understand. He gave it his best. Why was this happening to him?

He charged at the wall. And he broke through it. And beyond the wall lies a whole new world, waiting for him to discover it. Waiting for his talent, his wisdom, his compassion, his energy and determination. It has been waiting for while now, quietly beckoning to him.

I know a man who probably feels like he is in a free fall right now. But soon, he will remember how to fly. And the world will become a brighter place because of it.

“There are costs and risks to a program of action. But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy

Image credit: ClickFlashPhotos

About Diane Bolden

Diane Bolden is passionate about helping people actualize their brilliance in a way that inspires others to do the same. In addition to being the author of The Pinocchio Principle ~ Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, Diane is an executive coach, speaker, yoga lover and mother of three. Join Diane On the Road to Real, visit her Synchronistically Speaking blog, follow her on Twitter;, or visit her YouTube channel for more.