The Secret To a Great Leap

It’s been almost 5 years since that fireside chat. My friend “Joe” and I were one of the last few remaining at our campsite fireside on our annual church camping trip. The embers were glowing and yes, there was a bit of whisky involved. I distinctly remember Val emerging from her nearby tent in her pajamas and explaining that although our conversation was “indeed fascinating,” she was tired, and to please keep it down. Clearly the conversation stuck with me, as I wrote about it a year later.

Over a year ago I had a debate with a friend that just keeps staying with me. His premise, “By the time we are in our 40s our path is set. Your potential is channeled. You are just not going to accomplish anything significant you haven’t already started…”

His words angered me more than they should, perhaps because I was preparing for my own leap into the leadership development space. Looking back, my frustration with him was most likely driven by my own fear. What if he was right? Maybe it was too late to follow this dream. I woke up the next morning worried I had given him a bit too much “encouragement.” We never spoke of that evening again.

Fast forward to this week, leap year 2016.

His wife approached me. “Joe’s got a great opportunity for a huge new job in a new city. It’s just perfect for him and for us. It’s all so new and exciting.”

Surprised and delighted, I leaned in to hear more. What she said next floored me.

“Joe shared something the other night, I thought you should know. He said that conversation you had by the fire really stuck with him and made him think. He believes it helped him to be open and confident when the recruiters called out of the blue with an offer to change course.”

Great leaps don’t start the moment our feet leave the cliff. They begin in the moment we open our hearts and minds to the possibility for more.

Your path is not set.

Stay open.

Posted in confident humility and tagged , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of several books: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates (Harper Collins Summer 2020), Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. Karin, Hope you will remember me. I interviewed you for several articles I wrote for Fox. Love your post today. The openness of heart and mind is the first step to being an intelligent adventurer and a lifelong learner. Indeed, there are adventures and opportunities around every corner. Our job is to be open to them because the possibilities for growth are endless.

    Barbara Mannino

    • HI Barbara! Of course I remember you. So awesome to see you here. Thanks for your kind words. So agree, “our job is to be open to them.”

  2. Hi Karin!
    Perfect timing with today’s post. I recently left Verizon and am a bit nervous about pursuing an “encore career”. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Patti, I have no doubt you will be successful at whatever you put your mind too. Stay open and enjoy the ride.

  3. I love your story and post, Karin!

    I agree that it sometimes take patience and persistence to follow our dreams. I know for me, that although I have been involved in social media for so many years, I hear from leads out of the blue many years later. It’s fascinating that when we don’t close ourselves off to trying new things and are willing to step out of our comfort zones, we can really set amazing courses for ourselves.

    You are a great coach!

    • Terri, Thanks so much! I’ve experienced the same thing… it’s sometimes seems like the seeds we’re planting aren’t doing much, and then all the sudden, and beautiful garden appears.

    • Cindy,
      Thanks so much! I’m so glad. If you like it, I hope you will leave an Amazon review 😉 That helps spread the word. Namaste.

  4. What an amazing and affirming story!

    I totally agree with you—Joe and many others like him place limits around what they think they can do. Self-limiting beliefs are toxic because they are filled with words like “can’t” and “shouldn’t”.

    Complacency sets in and we are too timid to take the next step…

  5. Great post, your finally statement is very moving. As someone who is just graduating high school going to college and entering “the real world” is pretty scary. Going into college is a big leap for me, I need to remember the path that I start on may not be the one I finish. I hope to stay open to new things and not be afraid to take risks. Because the future is so unpredictable I need to remember that anything can happen and plans change, so even when I’m old and things change I won’t be scared to try something new. When it comes time for me to take a “leap” I hope to be ready.

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