Taking A Leap Of Faith: What’s Really Holding You Back?

Afraid of embracing the unknown? Let's disect your choices to make sure you're making the right one

Sooner or later, you will reach a point where you have a big decision to make. One path will take you into the unknown, while the other will perpetuate your current life experience.

Usually, we have an inkling that we need to step into the unknown for change and growth, but let’s face it. Change can be daunting.

Out of fear of things going wrong, many people suppress this voice telling them to take a leap of faith and trust that it will work out. Whether it’s stepping into a new career, a new relationship, or a new country, the familiar is safe, but it gets us nowhere.

The worst thing you can do is let your life pass you by without pursuing the opportunities that come to you.

So let’s look at what to do when you’re getting ready to step out of the familiar, into something that could potentially change your life.

Why take a leap of faith?

Let me tell you a little story.

When I was younger, I was on the brink of suicide as I couldn’t handle the challenges that life was throwing at me. I was unfulfilled because I wasn’t even close to the life I wanted to live.

Long story short, I went through an awakening process and finally understood my dilemma. Now I had a decision to make. I could continue living the same stagnant life which was familiar but painful, or take a leap of faith and step into the unknown.

So I moved to Brazil with a backpack and spent a year backpacking South America. During this trip, I fulfilled so many needs that were previously unmet. Having an adventure, making great friends, and finally having a good dating life.

I could have stayed in Australia and shot for comfort and stability, but the thought of doing the same things with my life didn’t appeal to me.

Instead of following the beaten track, I followed my heart. I moved to Vietnam to teach English and pursued a nomadic lifestyle.

After almost 3 years in Vietnam, I spent 8 months in central America and had plans to move to Ecuador. However, things got a little complicated due to the pandemic.

I soon found myself in a predicament. I couldn’t get into Ecuador, I couldn’t go back to Australia, and I was quickly running out of money. To make the situation more complicated, both my passports were about to expire (dual citizenship with the US).

Again, I had a big decision to make.

I could move to Mexico and work it out, perhaps teach English. This is something I would have loved to do, but I was concerned that I wouldn’t make much money. Or, I could move to the US, find a job, and potentially make lots of money even though this option didn’t appeal to me.

I moved to the US full of hope. But from the first minute, everything went to shit.

I struggled to get a job and find a place to stay. I was sleeping on strangers’ couches and faced the possibility of being homeless. I had no valid ID which proved to be a challenge. After securing a job and a place to stay, I was living paycheck to paycheck and cutting costs everywhere I could. This went on for a year, and I was exhausted.

Living in the US was generally a lonely journey, and my experience there, although it had its moments, wasn’t what I expected. However, I made that decision. My intuition told me not to follow my mind, and I decided to test that theory.

Thankfully, I did manage to save a few grand, and then spent 6 months volunteering in Ecuador, where I felt my life was back on track.

Here’s what I learned from this journey…

What is a leap of faith?

Man taking a leap of faith

Taking a leap of faith implies stepping into the unknown, often to pursue a new opportunity. It’s called a leap of faith because the outcome is uncertain, but you have faith that this new life venture will work out, which is why you embark on it.

It’s important to take a leap of faith sometimes because life tends to stay the same if you don’t. I always suggest taking a leap of faith is a potentially great opportunity arises, but there are a few things I want to talk about here.

You need to follow your heart.

Don’t leap unless it’s in the right direction. If you’re pursuing an opportunity that may not be in your highest interest, you may stumble and regret it. Big decisions in your life should be met with your heart. It should be something you truly want to do, because if your heart isn’t in it, it’s less likely to work out for you.

Be calculated.

Although you want to follow your heart, don’t leap on blind faith. You need to be somewhat calculated about what you’re doing, and strategically think about how you can make the situation work out. Although you may have no control over the particular outcome, you need to be relatively grounded with your decision, considering you may not be able to take it back.

Realize there is a risk.

Taking a leap of faith implies there is a risk involved. As with any venture into the unknown, there is a risk. You might regret the decision. It might not work out well for you. Maybe the opportunity falls apart mid leap.

Needless to say, risks are involved, but sometimes, a little risk is good.

Staying in the same situation also poses a risk. You risk missing out on amazing new opportunities that could improve your life. You risk rejecting situations that could help you.

Therefore, risk shouldn’t be perceived as a deterrent, but it should be acknowledged. If you’re taking a leap of faith, you will have some control over the situation, but a lot of it will be out of your control too.

Changing up your life is a good thing. Even if your life is pretty cushy right now, life change is a gateway to growth, personal transformation, and exciting new adventures.

Don’t be afraid to change things up because life passes quickly, and you don’t want to be the person sitting on their deathbed wishing they did things a little differently.

With that said, if you still feel inclined to move forward, let’s explore how you can do it most gracefully.

Making the best decision

Take a leap of faith

If you’re in a situation where you’re torn between worlds and not sure which path to take, take some time for yourself before making a decision. Meditate, reflect, and listen to your inner voice. Give yourself an audience and feel into the different pathways presented.

When I’m faced with a big decision, I discovered a handy technique to help clarify which path is in my highest interest.

I think about what my higher self would do. This is the best version of myself who is walking my highest timeline. I visualize this version of myself, and imagine what he would do if he was in my situation.

Think about what your higher self would do in your situation. To do this, imagine the best version of yourself who you strive to become. What does he/she look like? What experiences have they had? What characteristics and qualities do they have?

Now imagine that your idealized version of yourself is in your position right now. What would they do? Visualize it, feel it, and model after it.

By putting yourself into the highest timeline, you’re more likely to decide for the right reasons.

I talk more about this technique in my featured article:

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/making-big-decisions-what-would-your-higher-self-do/

Clarity why you're doing it

I want to ask you, what is your motive behind making this decision? More importantly, what place does it come from?

Are you making the decision out of anger or resentment? Perhaps out of a place of frustration, shame, or guilt? Are you thinking about making this decision to impress your peers?

If you said yes to any of the above, I urge you to consider this decision wisely.

The reason why I say this is because decisions made from a place of pain generally aren’t good decisions. They’re not coming from your heart and could be an act of self-sabotage which you want to be wary of. It’s more likely to be an impulsive decision if it comes from a place of pain, rather than a well-thought-out decision that serves your highest interest.

However, if your reason for taking this leap of faith comes from a good place, then this is a much better reason to act on it.

Maybe you want to do it because the opportunity excites you, even though it’s scary. Perhaps you have the itch for some adventure of change in your life and want to see where new roads may take you.

Maybe you resonate with the new opportunity, and you believe it could lead to a better life.

Taking a leap of faith from a good place makes a world of difference. Therefore, think about what your incentive is, and if you’re moving towards something, or running away.

Listen to your gut instinct

I want to stress the importance of listening to your intuition.

Your intuition is like a compass. Many times I have relied on my intuition to find the best route to take. Sometimes opportunities have presented themselves that just felt wrong, and I made sure to steer clear of them.

So make sure you’re always listening to that inner voice rather than the louder, logical mind – even if they’re pointing in different directions.

When you’re on the right track, you find alignment with a deeper fulfillment in your life and intuitively know you made a good decision.

Acknowledge the fear

Let’s face it. Taking a leap of faith is scary. You will be stepping out of your comfort zone and may have mixed emotions due to that.

Often, people back out of good opportunities because they’re afraid of what may go wrong. It’s uncertain, which is why it’s a leap of faith. If you knew the outcome, it wouldn’t be much of a leap, but rather a step toward certainty.

Therefore, it’s important to determine whether fear is holding you back, or whether the decision is not in your best interest.

If you feel the decision isn’t good for you because it’s not in alignment with what you want to do, then don’t do it. However, if your hesitation comes from fear, and you intuitively do want to do it, then you should.

By determining whether the barrier is fear, you can more accurately gauge whether taking the leap of faith is a good thing for you.

Commit to the decision

Once you know that the decision feels right to make, you need to commit to it. It’s too easy to back out and stay in the familiar, which is why you need to reach a point where you whole-heartedly make the decision and follow through with it.

From this point, you need to commit before that hesitation creeps back in.

It’s natural to feel a little out of place after you take a leap of faith. You might wonder if you made the right decision, and feel uneasy. This is a natural stage of acclimatizing to your new life situation, and understand that it will take some time to get into your groove.

But don’t worry, this is normal. Your commitment will keep you on track, knowing there is no going back now.

Keep pushing forward and finding familiarity in your new life.

Have faith that everything will work out

In my eyes, faith is priceless, especially when you’re stepping into the unknown.

We tend to resist what’s happening when things get difficult, but resistance only creates more suffering.

So don’t resist your feelings. Don’t resist where the universe is taking you, believing that everything will work out in the end. Sure, it may be a bumpy road, but have faith that it’s for the best and that sooner or later, your life situation will look bright.

At the end of the day, everything is an experience, regardless of what label you give the experience. If you experience life with a growth mindset, there are no bad decisions, only different decisions.

With this mentality, you can’t lose, even if everything goes wrong. At the end of the day, your story is still being written, and you will get back on your feet.

I’m not saying that you should anticipate things going wrong, but if you’re challenged, look at the opportunity within it.

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