The Life-Changing Leap.
In the Gregorian calendar used throughout most of the world, a Leap Year is a calendar year that contains an additional day, called a Leap Day, added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the seasons. In use since the 1500’s, a Leap Day compensates for the small amount of extra time it takes the Earth to make a full trip around the sun and allows for a realignment of the Gregorian calendar with the Earth’s position in the solar system.
In 2020, February has 29 days instead of 28. February 29th is Leap Day, and, coincidently, the exact day I am leaving my safe, not very challenging, 20-year career in city government for what a colleague labeled “unemployment at age 50 with a San Francisco Bay Area home mortgage in an uncertain job market.” Leap Day has become my ‘Leap of Faith Day’ and the start of my plan to resync my career and life goals with the hope of eventually landing in better alignment with the work I am meant to do.
A ‘Leap of Faith’ is loosely defined as an act of believing in or accepting something that is uncertain, without being sure of the possible outcome. Daring to take a leap, whether off a mountain or out of a safe job, puts us in mid-air motion, in flight, perhaps without a bridge or a parachute, with the reality of gravity, and financial uncertainty, pulling us downward.
The late author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury famously said, “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” My take on his timeless advice is to teeter to the edge, look forward (not down!), feel the fear, have faith we will be okay, and make that life-changing leap. Once in mid-air, it is important to catch our breath, stretch out our new wings, and start looking at all the useful resources we’ve collected over the years. We must reach out to our personal and professional networks to help guide us, consider landing in places we’ve never even dreamed of visiting, learn new skills, and give ourselves the time to grow and soar to new heights. There will likely be turbulence and self-doubt along-the-way, so it is a good idea to pack some extra water and snacks.
In the end, if we don’t step forward and take the risk of leaping into the unknown, we’ll always be stuck in the same place without learning what we are truly capable of becoming. I’ll be celebrating Leap Day on February 29th, 2020 by cleaning out my cluttered desk, taking some deep breaths, tightening my wallet, and starting my ‘Leap of Faith.’ I’m thankful to have the opportunity to step off the edge and see how far my new wings will take me.
Amy Kiernan Sinclair is a marketing and communications professional interested in sustainability programs to address climate change on a global scale. She hopes to visit every country in the world. She will be attending MEA’s “Your Career Mindset Shift” starting March 8.