I love to watch my daughter learn to walk - her tentative steps grow more confident each day. About half of the time she makes it across the room to whatever piece of furniture she can grab and about half of the time she falls on her bottom.
There are times when she cries out for me when she lands or gives up and crawls to her destination while other times when she looks slightly startled and then stands back up again and continues walking. Each day she’s more likely to do the latter.
Cut to me trail running in the woods last week. I happened across two men out running. As I lifted my gaze to wave high, I caught a rock and rolled downward in a fall that was pure Hollywood. It was an awesome spill. My ITB struck a sharp rock and am still sporting the bruise. But I brushed myself off and kept running down the trail.
There are many ways we fall in life. There are the big falls from which we don’t pick ourselves back up and that lead to failure - projects that lie uncompleted, books that go unwritten, dreams that go unheeded and relationships that end in acrimony.
And there are smaller falls, like when I expressed my frustration to my husband in that tone he doesn’t like, or scorched the garlic trying to make a new recipe for dinner.
What is apparent though is that when we fall, it’s generally because we’re stretching ourselves (or because we’re not paying attention). It’s the falling associated with stretching that I’m interested in here. Because like my daughter who is no longer content to crawl, when we’re stretching we’re saying yes to life. We’re taking risks, willing ourselves to learn and grow.
One of my friends recently started learning to rock climb. He’s in his late 40s and that’s generally well past the age when people start climbing. He’s like the proverbial old dog learning new tricks. What’s so cool is that this guy is an amazing athlete – someone who has excelled at many sports, and he’s doing okay learning to climb. It would have been really easy for him to have just stuck with what he was already good at. It took a lot of courage and openness to be the new guy at the gym, struggling on easy climbs, and yes, doing an awful lot of falling. Literally.
One of the reasons I think people age is that we become afraid of failure and afraid of falling. When this happens the world gets smaller and smaller rather than continuing to expand for us.
I think fear of falling is also why so many relationships become stale. People get complacent and don’t want to take risks. On one hand, they hold too tightly to a relationship by not risking rocking the boat by being willing to be authentic even when that part of themselves isn’t what their partner wants to see. On the other hand, they get lazy and don’t try anything new. Comfort replaces the courage that inspired excitement in the relationship.
How willing are you to take risks in order to grow in your life and relationships? How often do you not speak up or try something new because you’re afraid of getting the wrong answer? How willing are you to take falls in your life?

Author's Bio: 

Author of Simply Sacred, Everyday Relationship Magic and The Alphabet of Inner Demons and How to Tame Them, Jennifer Zurick-Witte is a personal coach and confidante as well as an inspired rock climber. She's brought that courage into over a decade of helping men and woman overcome daunting personal challenges, from forging more intimate and meaningful relationships to charting new paths associated with life's transitions. If you are interested in learning more about how this certified coach can help you craft creative solutions that let you climb to new heights in your life, check out her website, movebeyondit.com. While there, make sure you check out pictures of her dog who is convinced he's a kitty cat trapped in the body of a 179 pound Tibetan Mastiff.