As I stood on the rocks above the Pelorus River, I froze. I knew my family was becoming a bit impatient with me, and I could hear them yelling at me, “Just jump!”
I had watched as other adults and kids – including my own – had made the jump from the rocks to the river. It was safe and everyone who jumped was hooting and hollering. But I also knew the water was cold and the rocks were pretty high. In short, I was afraid. At the time I had a couple of thoughts – one was that I wanted my daughter to see that I could do whatever she could do; the other was that I wanted to overcome my fear. Okay… to be honest, I also had a very pathetic thought – I actually thought of one of the sayings on the lululemon bags: do one thing a day that scares you.
So I jumped.
Maybe some of you are into big risk activities or fast sports, but I am not. Truth is, I am a chicken. But this experience made me feel so good that I did it again.
In total, I did four jumps during our three week trip to New Zealand – off a sailboat in Abel Tasman National Park, another off of Split Apple Rock, and yes, I did the jump of all jumps: I bungy jumped 43 metres from the Kawarau Bridge, the same spot where A.J. Hackett created the first commercial public bungy. Each time I was terrified – especially the last one, knowing that I would dip my head first into the Kawarau River before bouncing back up – but each time, afterwards, I have never felt such a rush.
Now that I am back to work, back to day-to-day non-vacation reality, I have been thinking about taking risks – the fear and also the confidence and the rush. It sounds cliché, but I felt alive in those moments, and I want those feelings again.
Can I get that in my day-to-day life at work?
Today, on my first day back after 23 days on the other side of the world, I feel a bit like standing on a rock about to jump. Other than hundreds of emails and the usual projects, here is what I see when I look at jumping back into work:
- Our new national research project on Excellence in Learning
- Our Summer LI includes a new program for Heads, a second round of the Next Step Program, and a new Forum for Academic Leaders
- Our Strategic Planning process begins with a survey this month.
At this point, these projects don’t have clear outcomes or any guarantee of success; plus, they will require a lot of hard work…. Come to think of it, my vacation jumps were easier!
But the fact is, I know that these projects will involve many people across the country and will ultimately contribute to strengthening our CAIS schools. The fear is about getting started.
So I need to think about what I learned on my vacation: jumping feels good and the after-jump feeling is even better.
So here I go…
Happy new year.