My best friend and roommate in college recently returned from a three-month trip to Guatemala. After graduating with a degree in landscape architecture Lance decided he wanted to learn Spanish. He applied to a school in Guatemala that would provide three months of Spanish training, shelter, and two meals a day. After putting his career on hold and saying goodbye to his family Lance was off to Central America. He had a bag of clothes, some money, a calling card, and a stomach full of American cupcakes. What he didn’t have, was a clue as to what kind of opportunities and life changes this trip would entail.
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith like this to realize our potential. Confidence usually plays a big part of the decision and often takes on the inhibitor role. An easy way to get past one’s inhibitions about a certain decision is to weigh the options. Taking a leap of faith is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Make a pros and cons list for the decision. Think about the outcomes and consult your loved ones and mentors. Plan ahead, but not too much. In other words be prepared but expect the unexpected. I know that is a contradiction in itself. What I mean is have a good idea of what you expect the results to be, but be open to that changing. Most of the time when we reflect on the past decisions we have made they have not gone exactly to plan. Having an open mind will make the entire process easier. Some people do not deal well with change and will always struggle when it comes to taking leaps of faith. It is a lack of faith in themselves that prevents them from experiencing change. This is why the planning stage is so important. What if there is limited time to make that decision? Sometimes there is no time to plan and talk through the decision at hand. In these situations I try to just listen to my heart and intuition and go from there.
Now you’re probably wondering what happened to Lance (the landscape architect/Traveler)? Within the first week of his Spanish schooling he was asked by an administrator if he would mind filling in for the English teacher at the nearby elementary school the next day. Lance agreed and taught his very first English class the next day. Afterwards he went to the administrator and asked how much longer he would be needed and when the actual English teacher would be returning. The administrator looked him in the eye and said “You are the English teacher”! After three months of teaching the children Lance returned home. But he did not return as the traveling landscape architect. He returned with a heavy heart for Spanish speaking children who wanted to learn English. He was now a teacher! In six months Lance plans on departing for Costa Rica where he will teach English in poverty stricken communities.
Sometimes in order to spark change we need to take a leap of faith. Whether it takes a nudge or a shove be open to new possibilities and opportunities. Have an idea of what you expect, but be open to change. Next time you are faced with a tough decision or opportunity, bite the bullet and take a leap of faith!