"Hey, Scott, I think you have that title backwards. I think you mean 'Look before you leap.' Because, you know, that's just good advice to always look before you jump into something.”
No, I didn't make a mistake. And yes, the phrase, "Look before you leap" is certainly good advice when thinking of someone literally leaping off of some type of ledge or platform onto a landing site of some sort. You definitely want to know what you are about to leap into in terms of the environment, surroundings, and dangers associated with them.
However, there is a problem with the statement, “Look before you leap.” The problem is too many of us (myself included all too often) take this line to an extreme and use it in far more situations than just literally jumping off of one spot onto another one. Too many of us apply this as a metaphor for all aspects of life. I have come to realize that sometimes it is better to do a version of the opposite – “Leap before you look.”
Now, please understand – I am not advocating this in literal terms or even to the extreme in any situation. You should definitely have an understanding of the “lay of the land” as you leap into some kind of endeavor. You want to know what you are about to get into before you get into it.
However, too often, this attitude creates what many refer to as “paralysis by analysis.” We look before we leap, find something that could be a minor danger, look again, find something else, look again, find something else, and so on, and so on and . . .
This overanalyzing causes us to never leap. We stay safe in the spot we are in. We don’t venture out because of a perceived fear that something might go wrong, some danger may be lurking out there.
Of course, there are times when this is a wise course of action. There are times when we definitely want to make sure that everything is exactly right and in the best shape possible for us to have whatever success we are seeking where we leap.
The current Coronavirus situation in the world right now comes to mind, as I type that. It is wise to know ahead of time where you are going, what the risk is for infection, what you should do to prepare for it, and then do that. The danger is real.
However, at the same time, once you have determined the best course of action, it is time to act. While that might mean that you decide not to get on a flight, it does not necessarily mean you don’t go where you are wanting to go. You are just going to take an alternative route to get there.
The key is going. The key is in “the leap.” Because if you keep looking and you never leap, you aren’t going to get where you are wanting to go.
Another classic metaphor from the baseball world comes to mind – “You can’t steal second base with your foot on first.” You have to leave first base in order to get to second base. You must step off the base, take the chance that you might get thrown out, and just go!
Now when I say “Leap before you look,” I don’t mean to just jump blindly. I mean that you shouldn't feel like you have to look at every single possible outcome of some action before performing it. And again, I don’t even mean that for every situation you may be presented with. There are certainly some life-and-death types of things where it is far better to look and look and look and look again before you leap.
But for so many things in our lives, we apply that same attitude, and all it does is get us staying home, safe and maybe sound, but certainly not where we are wanting to go. We are ultimately not living that way. We are not expanding our horizons, pushing the envelope, and stretching our boundaries to see where we can get to, what we can become.
So if we know it will take us to new heights (pun intended!), why don't we leap more often? Because it's scary. The unknown out there is not easy to deal with. Fear, doubt, worry, and insecurity all have a way of keeping us from leaping. Another phrase even helps explain it - "Leap of Faith." You have to have faith when you leap, and for many of us that is hard.
Living This Concept Now
I am smack dab in the middle of this kind of moment right now. Next Wednesday, I am opening up our new Fast Track Lab for New Coaches Membership Site. This is the project I have been most excited about getting going over the last few months. This is where a good majority of my time has been directed and will be directed in the coming months.
But I have had my doubts and fears about doing it. “Who am I to start a membership site for new coaches? What do I know about this kind of stuff? I’ve never run a membership site before. What if people don’t recognize the value in joining? What if nobody signs up? What if I fail?”
These are all limiting beliefs. These are all thoughts that creep into our minds that keep us from “leaping” when the opportunity to leap presents itself. These are the kinds of thoughts that lead to paralysis by analysis.
It is certainly understandable where those thoughts come from. I have doubts as to where this site is going to go. I have not done one before. I do not have it all figured out as to exactly who will join, what we will do, when we will do it, where we should concentrate our efforts, and how to do every little thing involved in running one.
But I do know why I want to do it. And my “why” is far greater than the “who, what, when, where, and how” of it all. My “why” revolves around equipping new coaches with the tools necessary to succeed in their role as coaches of young people.
Helping New Coaches Stay in the Game
We are losing new coaches at a rapid rate. Too many new coaches feel isolated and alone, like they are on an island without a way to connect with others and a way to know how to provide kids a great experience. Without a positive, strong support system in place around them, these new coaches decide that coaching just isn’t for them when they get bombarded with some of the challenges that all coaches face. We are losing way too many good people who have the potential to become good coaches and positive impacts in kids’ lives.
I want to help new coaches feel empowered to be able to handle what they are going to be dealing with on this coaching journey. By empowering new coaches in this way, I believe we can increase the rate of retention of new coaches, so kids have more positive role models helping them enjoy their athletic experiences.
So, I am launching the Fast Track Lab for New Coaches Membership Site on Wednesday, March 18th. No, I don’t have all the answers – not on coaching, not on child development, and certainly not on running a membership site. But for my entire career as a teacher, coach, and athletic director, I didn’t have all the answers either. What I had was a desire to help kids in various ways, an open mind to learning the best ways to do that, and a willingness to work with others in that pursuit.
And that’s exactly why I wanted to launch this membership site - to create a place for new coaches to come together and learn ways to help kids have positive athletic experiences. Together, with the coaches who decide to join us on this journey, we will build the type of membership site that coaches want to help them on their journeys to being impactful coaches in kids' lives.
I hope you will consider joining us in developing this membership site for new coaches. While I am gearing the messages and materials towards new coaches (first 5 years as a coach or first 5 years in a new position), you don’t have to be a new coach to join us. In fact, it would help to have some veterans in there to offer their wisdom and guidance to the new coaches on this journey.
So I encourage you to take the leap with us. Even though we can’t see where we are going to land just yet, that’s really how it always is in coaching, isn’t it? We have an idea of what we would like to do, but we may not have all the answers yet. That’s okay. The key is that we do it, and we are constantly figuring it out along the way.
If you would like to join us or would like to learn more about the Fast Track Lab for New Coaches Membership Site, go to the homepage of our website - www.greatresourcesforcoaches.com – and scroll down to the “FTL4NC Membership” area. I look forward to serving all of you in this new venture - together!