Currently I feel anxious, excited, terrified, curious, emotional, humbled, and a little bit hungry. Why? Because I haven’t eaten much this morning and I don’t know what’s about to happen next. I’ve been working towards this day for over two years and I have no idea how it’s going to play out. I’ve fantasized over the possibility of great success. I’ve been terrified of the idea of success. I’ve winced at the idea of failure. And I’ve attempted to prepare myself for any possibility in between.
The unknown is ever-present and stressful. We dive into projects, jobs, relationships, and other commitments without knowing what will come of them. We take tiny leaps everyday and occasionally we take really, really big leaps. We leap for progress. We leap for passion. We leap for that tiny kick (or big kick) of endorphins that hit us as the adrenaline rushes in mid-jump.
There are two modes of living that we choose between every day. Attempting-to-move-forward mode and complacency mode. One is scary and the other is flat out dangerous. Complacency is dangerous. Complacency is a lack of fire, a lack of purpose. It’s like wading in a vast ocean for only one reason— to keep your head above water. Without passion, purpose, and progress (plug Compete Every Day shirt design), life is much harder.
So we must leap. Get comfortable with the fact that life isn’t comfortable! But it sure as hell is exciting and way more fun when we’re moving.
The opposite of complacency looks like this: prep, leap, land, repeat. The whole process can be done in a mili-second or (like in my example above) can take years.
Prepping is not complacency. Prepping is active and it’s usually necessary. Prepping is the longest stage and the only one we occupy for a significant amount of time. You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without mapping out a clear landing spot. Likewise, working toward a goal takes some consideration and planning. The key to prepping is staying active. It can look completely different from situation to situation. A nomad traveling the world isn’t necessarily complacent. And the CEO at a Fortune 500 company isn’t necessarily moving forward. Whatever your situation, it is the moment when you find yourself standing still that it’s likely time to leap.
The leap is the fun part. And it’s terrifying. It’s adrenaline. For obvious reasons, it’s the part that is easily addictive. But taking leap after leap isn’t always productive. At Compete Every Day we refer to this as the “shiny ball syndrome.” It’s when you leap at every glowing idea-light-bulb that flickers on. Essentially there’s no prep and no land. It’s exhausting and it’s risky. At the very least it can distract you long enough that you miss out on other opportunities. That’s why landing and prepping are not to be ignored. The leap, very appropriately, is fleeting. It’s a small, albeit important, part of a bigger process.
Landing is when you take inventory and evaluate your prep and leap. It’s the starting point for your next prep. And this, like the leap, is not a place to linger. Over-analyzing past actions keeps you exactly where you’re putting your energy, in the past. This is the stage where we can be poisoned with worry. Everything went well on the last venture? Great! What now? What if it doesn’t go like it went last time? What if it went terribly? Is it worth going again? Landing should be like an actual landing. Your feet hit the ground, you give yourself a quick body pat-down, and check to make sure everything is intact. Consider the highlights and the aspects you’d have changed with 20/20 hindsight and that’s that. Prep time.
Nothing in life is a sure bet. Even with proper planning things will go wrong. Challenges will come up. Setbacks will hit you like a ton of bricks. But you’ll never be bored or overwhelmed with life if you tackle it head-on. Find your passion. Work toward your purpose. Focus on progress. And light a freakin’ fire under your butt if you ever feel yourself drifting into complacency. Prep, leap, land, repeat.