You often hear people talking about taking a leap of faith. Whilst traditionally it has referred largely to a religious leap, it can mean different things to different people – we are after all intrinsically, exquisitely unique … it is one of the things that makes this world such an interesting place.
Oxford Languages explains it as “an act of believing in or attempting something whose existence or outcome cannot be proven or known”.
A leap of faith can be believing in something you can’t always see, like a god … or believing that things we do see will be okay, and won’t let us down. I personally think a leap of faith doesn’t have to be big, sometimes it might be a little hop of faith … or a ‘keep both feet on the ground’ type jump – one of my granddaughters is good at that. It can be telling someone your life’s story, getting married, letting your child walk to school on their own, trying new food, jumping out of a plane, thinking your football team will actually win, letting your dog stay inside, leaving a perfectly good job to start your own business …
It can be an anxiety-building time, this leaping caper, something I have discovered on a couple of levels lately. I have managed to take a metaphoric leap and an actual leap within the space of six weeks.
Firstly, it was leaving my steady job after 22 years to concentrate fully on my own business, Mental Strides. While I did not actually leap out of the building, I did take that leap of faith … faith that the business would continue to grow, to provide both an income and job satisfaction (both pretty important things), faith in myself … I can do this!
My second leap was an actual physical leap out of a plane – something I had wanted to do for some time but had always thought to be too foolhardy for the responsibilities I held. Having independent, grown-up children, with loving supportive partners has afforded freedoms I did not have (or felt I didn’t have) before … at least not for many years.
Both leaps required some thought and planning, weighing up the pros and cons – what will happen if I do? What will happen if I don’t? And really, that is the point – you don’t really know what will happen, hence the term. All the planning and thought in the world will never give you an exact, undeniable, foolproof view of the future. In the end, it is the leaps that count, and taking them can be frightening, challenging, enriching, and rewarding.
When you take a leap of faith, regardless of how big or small it is, you trust that somehow things will be okay – better, even. Mostly, a leap of faith is not taken to make things bad or worse … at least not in the long run. Now, I am not telling anyone to leave their job or jump out of a plane – that is totally up to the individual. All I can say is that I am incredibly grateful that I finally took these leaps. I wonder what the next one will be….
About the Author
Engel Prendergast is a Mental Health Consultant, working with organisations and groups to build a culture that supports good mental health.
Engel is an accredited Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK Instructor, and Lifeline Crisis Supporter and Mentor. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Health Promotion), Diploma of Counselling, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
With natural compassion, a determination to help others and extensive experience in training and facilitation, Engel provides an environment that fosters learning and ownership.