Did you ever skip rope when you were little? I wasn’t a very athletic child, but I was a good rope skipper. I started out as a solo skipper, using a white rope with red wooden handles. Then I learned to “jump in,” on a bigger rope that two friends would twirl on either end. I remember hot summer days on the driveway of my house, Cathy and Lisa on each end of the rope using their whole 10-year-old bodies to send it looping into the air.
“Come on, Beck!” they’d taunt. “Jump in, NOW! We’ll count you in…one, two, three, and go!”
The first few times I faltered and the rope fell unceremoniously on my head, puddling in soggy loops at my feet.
“Go again,” they said, encouraging me.
I watched, waited, bided my time, aiming to run under the rope the precise minute it hit the apex and be ready to jump! as soon as it brushed the ground.
What a thrill that first time I made it in! It was so exciting that I almost stopped, but remembered in time and made it through a dozen or so jumps before I lost my momentum.
The first time is always the hardest and after that initiation I became fearless, jumping in with barely a moment’s hesitation. Soon, I could jump simultaneously with one or even two others, as the twirlers chanted favorite skipping songs to cheer us on.
I’m not a big risk taker, not one to plunge headfirst into challenge. I tend to wait a long time, watching the rope go round and round, trying to judge the safest moment to make my move. This method has always been successful for me, because once I’ve gathered my courage and taken the initiative to jump in, the experience has been positive and pleasurable.
What holds me back from taking that first leap into the fray?
Fear of failure.
Fear of appearing foolish.
Fear of hurting myself.
Any or all of these fear factors could be relevant to the situation I’m faced with jumping into.
But it helps to have some cheerleaders on the sidelines, advising me to “Jump in now!” and encouraging me to “Go again!” if I miss. That’s why I try to get a friend or two to join me in any new activity – we keep each other motivated and honest when inspiration starts to wane.
We all need those folks in our lives who urge us on, counting us in so we can jump successfully into the middle of life and start skipping.
How about you? Have you jumped into the middle of anything recently?