Leap and the Net Will Appear

I know lots of people with big dreams. But they are afraid to pursue them. They are unwilling to take the plunge, waiting until they reach the point of absolute certainty. But it never comes. And it never will.

Waiting to Jump Off a Diving Board - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/alexemanuel, Image #14630473

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/alexemanuel

This is the problem with commitment. You must act on limited information. Whether it is marriage, starting a new career, or leaving a good job to pursue your dream. You do your best to gather the best information you can, but then you must act. If you don’t, you risk “dying with the music in you.”

A few years ago, I discovered a wonderful quote by W.H. Murray, a Scottish mountain climber and writer. He says,

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creativity there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’”

Or to simplify it even further, American naturalist John Burroughs put it this way, “Leap and the net will appear.”

I don’t think this concept encourages recklessness. But it does make the important point that you must eventually act, believing that the resources you need will show up when you need them. This is simply faith in its purest form.

I have personally witnessed this numerous times. In fact, I am seeing it play out in my own life right now, just a week after stepping away from my role as CEO of Thomas Nelson.

Question: What commitment have you been waiting to make? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/FosterHope H. Wayne Hastrup

    Michael. It seems you’ve struck a nerve with a theme that strikes us all: overcoming the hesitation, no matter how noble or rational, that keeps us from what is just ahead of us. It always takes a first step. The priests carrying the ark in the wilderness had to take that first step into the river. Even as the water rushed up around their ankles, they took the step, and the next and the next. They reached their promised land only because they took the first step. Each of us have our own steps to take, but we must take them or we will remain stagnant and lifeless here on the water’s edge. (I wrote about this in my own blog recently, too, and ironically used the same photo for the illustration.)

  • Shane

    The greatest risk to progress is the fear of being wrong..wrong action, wrong decision, wrong move…both personally and professionally.. I agree with the sentiments but you rarely hear from the man who leaped and missed. He becomes the cautionary tail…

  • http://www.soulmunchies.com Crystal

    Michael – thank you for this post. Once again you hit the nail right on its head and said all the words that I need to hear.

  • Karl Mealor

    I’m at a crossroads in my life right now, and trust me, there doesn’t seem to be a net. Would appreciate prayers from all who happen to read this.

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, I just signed up recently to receive your posts via email, so I’m actually reading them more (because they come to me, instead of me having to remember to come to the site and read). This post spoke to me, because I’m in a period where I’ve developed a strategic plan for my family, and now I have to take the leap, and follow my dreams, even though I don’t know if there will be a net there to catch me. Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  • Patrick G Grady

    Wow. This strikes directly at my heart.

    About this time in 2005, I figured out that spending more on credit cards that I was making was a really big boulder bearing down on my family. Dave Ramsey helped me begin to solve that, and since then, I have returned the favor by helping him to help others as an FPU facilitator.

    That set in me the goal to become a financial counselor. And for 5 and a half years, the needs of my family (in particular a special needs teenage son) and the resistance of my wife to the tiniest of risks have stopped me moving in that direction. I have long believed that not only do I have a talent for this work, but also a heart for it, and I feel God’s will bearing down on me to make this leap of faith.

    In the last couple of weeks I have finished “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and begun Max Lucado’s “Outlive Your Life.” The messages I find there, pushing me closer to intimacy with God and also toward a life dedicated to service that generates long-term good, run parallel with my goal.

    I am ashamed before the Lord that I have stood still and silent for so long, passively acquiescing to the notion that God cannot provide for our needs while we do his will, running full speed into his loving embrace.

    God, give me the strength, the grace, and the faith to leap off the cliff and into your strong arms.

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    You are on a roll Michael…wow, wow, wow! Right now I am practically sitting on the edge of my seat with a great big “YES!” coming out and my arms in the air (yes, I am a sanguine!). You have no idea how timely this is for me and some of the women I am blessed to be launching a new ministry, called LeadHer, with in a few weeks. I’ve shared your link with them as encouragement as we step out in faith this with this new ministry. Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the name of your ministry. Very cool!

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  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    There is so much truth here. I think the hard part isn’t always taking the step of faith. For me, the hard part is trusting that the step I’m taking is the right one.

    I pray that God will lead me to the right decision, and then I make the decision, doing my best to trust that God has lead me in the right direction. But I’m continually asking myself, how do I know I made the right choice? Am I sure about this?

    The leap isn’t the tough part for me, but rather knowing if I leapt in the right direction.

  • ACL

    Thanks Michael for the post! Find this ‘skill’ especially true for entrepreneurs to have.

  • Christina Parker

    When you are a Christian, to jump or not to jump is a real dichotomy. I had a calling on my life fourteen years ago to make a certain Christian film, I am a director/writer. In that time I have gone ahead of God with my passion only to find God letting me know very clearly, it’s not time yet. So, with this project I am still waiting. In other areas of my life I am waiting for God to give me the go ahead, only to find He’s waiting for me and I realise it is my fear lurking in the background, keeping me from charging ahead into victory. It’s a dichotomy I am happy to keep exploring.

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  • FoxRunImages

    This post totally resonates for me. I just got a phone call yesterday that I’ve been accepted to my denomination’s seminary. It’s been 20 years since I did college coursework, so I’m nervous about being able to handle the load. Also, I’m having to trust God for the finances (I have a wife and two elementary-age daughters, so I can’t just live like a typical poor student sharing a small apartment with other students).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think you will be surprised how things begin to “conspire together” to support you after making your decision.

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  • colleen laquay urbaniuk

    as usual, i love your post and the timing is perfect. i’ve been a writer all my life but i let other things take up my time and focus. a few years ago i read something that said, “stop reading about writing, and write!!!”. that hit a nerve for me because i sometimes spend more time talking about doing something than actually doing the something i was meant to do. a couple of weeks ago that changed when i started a blog- http://www.thegiftofmondays.com i finally took the leap you’re talking about. it’s not easy putting yourself out there for people to see but i’m excited to see where God leads me…

  • nomad1971

    this is so true…
    I have seen it begin for me… i have taken a step… 5 months ago I jumped from the top of the cliff where I had certainty & security in my career – but I had no drive & no new doors to go through….now I have a blank canvas…which is sketching out an image/images – opportunities are coming my way – all i need to do is reach out further…

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  • Adonis Lenzy


    Great Post. Love the simplicity. Congrats on the new chapter in your journey.

  • Hank

    I’ve reread this post several times. My daughter is graduating from college in a couple of weeks and has announced her plans to move to Fort Collins, CO to look for a job. She spent spring break there and loved it and is confident she and her husband (who’s also graduating) will be able to find good jobs. Of course it scares me to death. As a parent, I intellectually understand that we have to let our child(ren) go (the whole give them wings thing), but I guess I didn’t realize you actually do it several times. Each time you’ve got to have FAITH.

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  • http://twitter.com/austinnroberts Austin Roberts

    I promise you that the reference I am about to use is as silly to me as it is to you. But I cannot explain how much of a feat this was for me, seeing as it was something I had wanted to do for years, but never had the guts.

    On Monday, May 2nd, I decided for the first time in my life to try out for the cheerleading squad. Yes, my university was having cheer tryouts, and though, I had thought over and over again about trying out, I never committed myself into doing it until fifteen minutes before the try out began. My fear of embarrassment was sickening. But once I finally arrived at the tryout, I decided I was there to stay. I would be cheating myself if I didn’t. With commitment by my side, I stuck with the tryouts for THREE whole days. And even though I wasn’t successful, I would have never known the outcome if I hadn’t tried.

  • http://twitter.com/junctiongen Jennifer Norene

    who said it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry … who said what?

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  • Sbr2slow

    I have put off joining Toastmasters  , public speaking class. I have visited several times but yet to “join”  FEAR has me

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  • Kathleen forrest

    I have been waiting to make the commitment to write the full blown screenplay.  

  • karismith3

    Thank you for the blog post. I just resigned from a company that I love and have been working at for 9.5 years. I don’t know what the Lord has in store next but he has definitely called me to take a leap of faith and trust that He has good things planned. Here goes nothing…

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Congratulations on your leap Kari!  I left a ten-year business career that I love to do full-time ministry in 2011.  Though I didn’t have the answers, I knew that it was God calling.  I pray that God gives you the vision for the great things that He wants to accomplish through this transition in your life!  May you see the net appear!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001407833419 Julie Cat

    Thank you for this.Just the right moment to read it.

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  • D. Michael Bush

    I like the idea of
    pulling the trigger even though the timing isn’t perfect. However due
    consideration is important as it’s stressful on the net to keep catching random

  • Ephesians519

    Fabulous…I am seeing this play out as I am beginning a business, starting a music career, and a ministry.  I am seeing God in His infinite wisdom providing just the right connection, at just the right time!  Thank you!  I google this quote because it is contained in a Jason Mraz song.   Very timely and encouraging.   

  • Shannon Franklin

    I so needed to hear this! I’m pretty balsy. I started my own company when I got laid off a few years back. I’m expanding, and I signed a lease a few weeks back on a building that is bigger and more pricey than before. I’ve always believed in the “leap and the net will appear” philosophy, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying to take that big leap. Thanks for the reassurance that there is no 100% point of certainty. I believed I made the right choice when I signed the lease. Thanks for reminding me why.

  • Pink

    Please correct your post. The entire quote is Goethe, not Murray.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Actually, if you research it, you will find it attributed to both authors. I am not sure who the correct one is. If you have a definitive source, I’d be happy to consider it.