Fear of Jumping In

I stood in awe and watched my friendjump off a rock into a pool at Yosemite.  I didn't jump in - I photographed.  There were several fears that stopped me from jumping into the olive green pool of water.  One very serious, and the other quite banal.  A very certain and sure fear is the fear of death.  No doubt, standing at the edge of the craggy rocks at Yosemite and jumping into the pool, images of cracked skulls and broken bones are enough to paralyze even the most thrill seeking person.  That to me seemed very reasonable.

The main reason why I did not jump, was because I HATE COLD WATER.  Not so reasonable.  As a teenager I would have to wake up at 5:00AM in the middle of a Miami winter (granted after living many years in the NE my definition of chilly has expanded) and jump into a frigid outdoor swimming pool with broken heater and swim 7000 meters.  We would stand on the deck of the swimming pool wearing skimpy bathing suits and parkas, shivering violently.  The coach would announce the warm up and then one by one swimmers would run and jump in.  Some would take a run and dive approach. Momentum was your friend.  Once you started there was no going back.  You could tell how cold the water was by the yelps and screams of certain people as they popped out of the water and primally reacted to the prickling and numbing sensations of cold water.  Others would stroke and kick violently to warm up their bodies.  I remember I was always one of the last to jump.  I could rationalize that the shock and violence of the cold would pass and the body would adjust to the temperature.  A couple of strokes in and you would find your groove.  I hated this pre-practice ritual - the anticipation.  The moment before the jump.  The moments of indecision.  To jump or not to jump, that is the question?  I guess I could have walked away and said "No".   I knew I was going to jump in and yet I would wait on the deck plagued with fear.  

And now I'm an entrepreneur, in the early months of what is already developing into an international business and I'm reminded of this fear - the fear of jumping in.  I'm fully committed.  Ready to set off.  What’s holding me back?  It’s just about putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes it’s epic and performative, like a running start, a giant leap, and a barbaric yawp.  Sometimes it has no fanfare.  You step to the edge of the pool and quietly and simply just step in.    So how do you do it?  How do you jump in when you're standing fearfully, afraid to launch.   Well what I remember from so many years ago on a dark chilly pool deck in Miami, FL - "Isolate the breath.  It’s just water.  You’re going to be fine.  Ready to launch.  Here we go. Sprint.  Dive.  Crash.  Experience the cold.  Push through the shock.  Come up for air.  Find the rhythm of your stroke. Find the rhythm of your breath.  You're fine.  Time for practice.”