Stepping Out in Faith

One of my favorite parts in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is towards the end where Indiana is trying to get into the room where the Holy Grail is.  He knows he has to reach it in order to help his father, who lies bleeding from a gun shot wound in a cave in the mountain.  As he gets closer to the cave where the grail is supposed to be, he reaches a large chasm that he must cross to reach it.  The chasm is wide and there is no jumping across it and it seems to drop down with no bottom.  His only hint is clue he got from ancient scrolls that says, “Only with a leap from the lion’s den will he prove his worth.”  Indiana has doubts and hesitates and then his father, almost telepathically, murmurs, “you must believe, boy, you must believe!”  Indiana steadies his heart and then takes a step.  He has to simply step out in faith that there is something out there that will support him.  It was a leap of faith for him!  And it worked!  He found that there was a camouflaged bridge to convey him to the other side.   You can see the scene here:  Leap of Faith Scene
When crisis hits is when our faith is put to the test.  Anyone can believe what they see or when the evidence supports it; although there are certainly cynical people that don’t even do that much.  It’s the moments when everything we see and all of the evidence seems to be against us that we must believe completely that we can accomplish our goals.  We have to engage in a leap of faith that things are going to work out as long as we continue to work towards them.  There are going to be moments where we are growing, moments that are going to test our faith.  We have to step out in that leap of faith and trust that things will work out.
In the Bible it tells the story of Jesus walking on the water.  Peter asks to join him and Jesus simply says, “come”.  Peter steps out of the boat onto the swelling waves and takes a few steps and then….falls into the water.  Peter took a leap of faith that he too could walk on water like Jesus.  Once he realized what he was doing, his mind started putting in limiting beliefs and into the drink he went.
Like Peter, we need to be reminded to keep the faith and step out of the boat; confident that we will reach our goal.
Here are some things to help you keep going and keep working towards those goals:
  • Keep Moving!  Don’t Stop!
  • Don’t buy into what others say about you.  There will be doubters but don’t let that stop you.
  • Use Daily Positive Self-Talk greatly helps you maintain the right attitude.
  • Focus on your strengths.  Know what it is that you are good at doing and find people to come and work with you whose strengths overcome your weaknesses.
  • Commit to daily growth.  Become a 1%er!  If you commit yourself to grow daily then you can overcome the obstacles that get in your way.

Over the Bar

You ever watch the High Jump during the Olympics or on television during one of the rare occasions they show track and field events?   I think the competition is somewhat cool, probably at least partly because I can’t do it very well. I have never been a very good jumper either horizontally or vertically.  The idea is that the athlete approaches a horizontal bar and attempts to leap over it without knocking the bar down.  Each time they raise the bar a little higher.  Naturally, whoever jumps the highest wins.

The first recorded High Jump event was in the 19th century in Scotland.  They would basically just scissors-kick over the bar.  That advanced to running up to the bar and then throwing the one leg over and then the other.  Shortly after people innovated with “roll” techniques where they would almost literally roll their body over the bar.  For protection, there would be a sawdust pit on the other side of the bar for a landing area.

Changing the Landscape

dick fosbury taking a leap of faithThe real innovation happened in 1968 when Dick Fosbury of Oregon State University employed a totally different technique.  By this time, the saw dust pit gave way to a cushioned landing area.  Fosbury would run up on the bar at an angle and the thrust himself backwards over the bar, head first, and complete the jump by “flopping” his legs over and landing on his back.  Fosbury used this technique to win the Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics.  Today, almost every high jumper uses the “Fosbury Flop” technique.  The current record, according to, is 8 feet and one-half inch set by Javier Sotomayor from Cuba.

Leap of Faith

The reason I mention this is an observation made about the flop technique.  If you were to do that and land on hard ground or even in the old saw dust pits, you would likely break your neck.  In other words, if the cushion wasn’t there and you landed, you would be in a whole lot of trouble.  Broken bones, skull and brain damage would be highly probable.  But the flopper, because of the technique, doesn’t get to see the landing area as they are jumping; they simply have faith that it is there and that they will land in the right spot.  It is a LEAP OF FAITH in their ability to complete the jump.

The high jumper makes this leap of faith because they believe in their skills, their training, their visualization, and their execution to make the jump without getting injured.  He TRUSTS himself to do what he has prepared and trained to do.  He doesn’t wonder if any kind of outside force is going to get in the way, he trusts his body and his training to get the job done.  He doesn’t create excuses for why he can’t jump today, he just goes and gets the job done.

taking a leap of faithEven though he BELIEVES he will be successful every time he jumps, he actually doesn’t KNOW until it is over whether he has been successful or not.  So, the high jumper has FAITH in his ability to perform every time; even when he is unsuccessful or bettered by others.  At no point does he give up because the weather got in his way, or the bar was mounted incorrectly, or there are others competing that are more athletic or talented.  He ignores all outside factors and simply has FAITH in his skills and training and performs the best he can.

Flopping Our Way to Success

You and I may not be jumping over a bar 8 foot of the ground, (I already mentioned I am a terrible jumper), but we face hurdles and walls as we pursue our goals and dreams.  To overcome those hurdles and complete our mission successfully, we have to have FAITH in our abilities, prepare ourselves for success, expect success, and then success will come.  We won’t really be able to see the landing area until we are up and over the bar, and sometimes not until we land.  But the landing area is there and we have believe we will clear the hurdles and land successfully.  That is our LEAP OF FAITH.

What’s keeping you from making that LEAP OF FAITH?  What is argument you give yourself?  Is it true?  It is always true?  How can you prepare yourself more effectively to take a Leap of Faith?  How can you reinforce your beliefs everyday to keep that faith alive?

Action Plan

  •  Target an area where you feel like you are not where you want to be. Where do you want to be?  What do you think is holding you back from reaching that goal?
  • Apply a little realism.  Are the things you THINK are holding you back real or imagined?  Are they simply excuses?  It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself.  Yeah, you know the real answer!
  • Read or listen to a daily affirmation to keep a positive mindset.  Reading it out loud is best because the most important words you hear are the ones you say to yourself.  This is not (necessarily) New Age stuff; it is real and valid. Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale, and others have promoted positive affirmations as a way of changing your mindset and your life.  Here’s a good one from Hal Elrod or you can get one from Zig.  I prefer the Ziglar version, although it is a little longer.
  • Engage in your daily personal growth to prepare yourself for success.  Remember, be a 1%er.

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

Zig Ziglar