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I was standing on the ledge looking down about 30 feet to the Colorado River.  Just five minutes earlier I was happily rafting with my extended family in multiple boats.  Our guide pulled the six or seven boats from our group to the side where there was a jumping ledge the guide company stopped at during every trip.  The offer was to jump from the ledge into the river.  If you went up, the only way down was to jump.  

My two brothers in law looked at the ledge and looked at me and said: “Are you going?”  With as much bravado as I could muster “Absolutely!” with an immediate sense of nervous regret in my gut.  We walked to the top with a small group of jumpers.  That’s where I stood.  There really was only one option, but that’s not what my brain was telling me.  My rational brain was telling me the climb down was doable.  There could be a trail down the back… 

Nothing great ever comes from a life of ease and least resistance; only a list of Excuses.

If you’re like me, there is a moment when risk becomes real.  It is one thing to talk about doing something, and another to do it.  What is the deciding factor between risk and reward?  Belief.  

Whether we are on the ledge over the Colorado River about to jump or asked to lead a new project, ministry, or product line, the same question inevitably comes to our mind and gut – Do I have what it takes?  

That question has annoyed and troubled every leader at one time or another.  It is the question that comes with each new level of opportunity.  The answer always lies in Belief.  Do I have what it takes? is answered from within.  It comes down to whether you believe in yourself or not?  That is the real question behind the facade of Do I have what it takes? 

Do I believe in myself, my aptitude, my skills, my strengths, my abilities…  Humans tend toward the path of least resistance.  On this path, there is no need to believe in yourself, no reason to ask questions like: Do I have what it takes?  The path of least resistance is about pleasure and ease.  Nothing great ever comes from a life of ease and least resistance; only a list of Excuses.

When we choose to answer the affirmative – Yes! I do have what it takes!; we are ready to move toward achievement.  Excuses go by the wayside.  We no longer afford ourselves the opportunity to justify our actions.  When we choose and commit, we put our reputation on the line.  We put our ‘I do have what it takes! response to the test.  Commitment is the point of no return.

I looked over the ledge one last time.  Do I have what it takes to jump?  I walked back 10 feet to get a slight run to clear the cliff and ran past the point of no return.  As I let out a primal scream of delight (or possibly terrifying fear) and lept into the air I knew the answer.  I believe in myself.  I can do this.  I can make it happen.  I can lead this new venture.  

As I steadied myself underwater and pushed to the top I had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.  I did it.  I wrestled the excuses into submission and jumped into the future.  

Little did I know that moment would prepare me to start my company, MicroShift.  That moment helped me put my future into perspective.  It is why I made the choice to have freedom of time over stable income.  It’s why I choose to serve leaders and teams who feel uncertain or stuck.

When you hear any iteration of the question, Do I have what it takes? remember your choice is to take inventory and jump or make excuses.  Can I tell you a secret?  You have what it takes.  Trust me; you won’t regret taking the leap.  

Do you have a moment in life, business, relationship or other where you asked yourself: Do I have what it takes? What was your response? Any regrets? Let me know in the comments below.