The Key to Landing on Your Feet

“You always land on your feet,” she said to me exasperated. She said it in an envious tone, as if I had some sort of magic trick up my sleeve that got me through all these major changes in my life. Not true. There is no magic here. I wish there was, but the reality is simple.

“I land on my feet because I jump,” I responded. The trick to landing from a great height (metaphorically speaking of course) is to jump. If you never jump, you never see how you will land. You never give yourself the challenge to rise to which carves out your character and sets you apart from the fearful shell you thought encapsulated you.

“You think I don’t jump?! How? How have I not jumped? I jump.” She became defensive. This woman had accomplished much in her life. She had worked hard for her whole life, a long life, raised children, gone through a lot. To her question, did she jump? In my mind, there is a difference between stepping forward and jumping and trust me, stepping forward is much more difficult than standing still. This woman had not stood still for certain. She had walked through great challenges and harsh seasons in life. She never stopped. She never laid down and threw in the towel.

Had she jumped though? There is a marked difference between jumping and stepping forward, namely the vertical delta (change). While stepping forward is sometimes the hardest thing you can do, jumping is another story. Jumping assumes great risk. How much risk are you willing to take? No one has to jump. You can live a good life walking forward on solid ground. We also have to weigh the risk versus reward with any jump. What is the goal? What will the journey back to solid ground be like? Will the earth we land on be worth the risk of a hard fall?

We cannot just evaluate the ground we aim for either. We need to evaluate the process of the fall itself. We have all heard “it is not the destination. It is the journey.” The value I gained was not simply because I landed on my feet or where I landed, but in the experience of the drop itself. That experience is actually where I felt most alive. It was not the moment I jumped or the moment I landed; it was the in-between.

Jumping and landing, for better or worse,

Nikola Rosa