Would you jump out of a plane to salvage the rest of your life?

I watched a video recently of actor Will Smith speaking about his first sky diving trip.

He talked about how he only agreed to go sky diving after being forced into it over dinner and drinks with a group of friends. They all wanted to go, he didn’t want to be the only one not to go, so he said he was in. Peer pressure even works on famous celebrities.

But he was very afraid of jumping out of the plane.

He was too afraid to sleep. He was too afraid to eat.

The fear was a feeling caused by his belief that jumping out of the plane was going to put him in danger. It was going to cause him pain. Or loss or death or whatever else bad …

The fear of course only grew as he entered the plane. As they climbed to 14,000 feet. As the door opened. As the wind rushed in. As he stood at the edge of doorway.

And then he was pushed.

And as he dropped out of the plane … he said it was the most exhilarating experience he has ever had. Calm. Bliss. Peace. He wondered what he was ever afraid of.

He had pushed through (or been pushed through) his fear.

The best things in life, he said he learned, are on the other side of terror.

We are afraid of our day to day life as attorneys. We fear our work and the boredom and our mean bosses and the uncooperative opposing counsel and the anxiety of our fiduciary duties.

We also are afraid to leave the law. If we change our lives and leave, we fear not having a steady paycheck. We fear disapproval from our family and friends. We fear running out of money – and losing our home, and living in a box on the street and … death.

We are comfortable with our patterns, so we don’t push through our fear to get to the other side.

But it’s on the other side, it’s in the unknown, where our true growth is to be found. Just ask Will Smith.

Or just ask me.

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