Sklover’s Monday Thought: “The Safety Net . . . Within You.”

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“Leap and the net will appear.”

– Zen Saying⁣

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Gosh, I find it hard to stop thinking about this saying. Actually, what I find so hard to do is to stop thinking about the times I have taken a “leap” despite there not being a safety “net” in sight. Sure, there were a few “crash and burns,” but I have survived, and in some ways even thrived.

Am I glad I tried to make a reality out of all of those dreams? You betcha. Arriving at college without the funds to pay tuition, or even buy the course books. Starting my law firm without any kind of financing, except for eight – yes, eight – credit cards. Somehow, after almost every one of those “leaps” a “net” appear before me.

Has a net ever failed to appear on time, and in the right place after one of my “leaps?” Honestly? Yes, but I don’t brag about those “leaps.” The scars on my body and the bumps on my head (and elsewhere) speak clearly and loudly on that issue. There are no guarantees; “leaping” does sometimes leave its “lumps.”

But, one thing I do know, and that makes me happy to think about, is this: if I had not taken the “netless leaps” that I did, I know I would not have achieved the cherished and crazy dreams that I have, perhaps the greatest of which has been to be a “successful” father, that is, one who is crazy-proud of his truly greatest “accomplishments.”

The notion of “leaping” without a visible “net” on the horizon comes up a lot in conversations with my clients and those for whom I coach and mentor. I’d estimate the experience of at least 90% of those folks who decided to “make their leaps” are later pleased they did so, regardless of their immediate success or failure, because like myself they invariably are pleased and proud that they did, in fact, take that “leap.”

Give it some thought: after a few “leaps” without “lumps,” you will be your own “net,” energized by the power of faith in your “wings.”

I believe this Zen saying is as profound as it is practical. It was transmitted to me just the other day by one of my longest-term colleagues, indeed, for 26 years, someone who has taken her own “leaps” many times, including coming to this country from a distant land, with few resources, and who has – without a net – done extraordinarily well for herself. Perhaps our mutual view of “leaping without a net” is what brought us together, and kept us together, as well, over the course of decades.

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“If you live your life the right way,
your later years will not be a winter.
Instead, they will be a harvest.”

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