Sunday, July 15, 2007

jumping off cliffs

Come to the edge, He said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came. He pushed them,
And they flew …

Guillaume Apollinaire
Avant-garde French poet.

I don’t usually talk much about my work, too busy doing it; and I like to pour my energy into the process rather than explaining what I’m working on. But last month, after telling my friend in no uncertain terms (for the umpteenth time and for seven million reasons), “Not happening! Not going to do it!” … I went and did it!

When I took a break from the radio show at the beginning of this year, I intended to be hosting again toward the end of the year, and planned to take my time looking for a new executive producer (EP) to team up with. I wanted to wait until I found someone with a good match of goals, values, and vision; and was willing to be patient.

So even I was surprised, when early in May, I found myself calling several stations to talk about airtime and studio and production costs.

Information gathered, meetings held, discussions clarified, contracts reviewed … now all I had to do was decide. Did I want to do ‘it’?

Well I did want to do it. And without analyzing it to death, I trusted my instinct and took a huge leap of faith—with the stroke a pen, I became my new EP. Done. Dusted. Sorted.

I spent the next week on a roller coaster: It’s thrilling, scary. Exciting, daunting. Energizing, terrifying. Yeay! Aghh!

But life truly is what we make it.

No matter how you define success, there are many times in life when we have to be willing to leap without knowing what’s in front of us. We have to push through our fears, our doubts, and self-prescribed limitations. We have to close our ears to those who say it can’t be done and who try to drag us into their misery pit. We have to fill our minds with the belief that we can accomplish whatever we set out to do; and our hearts with the courage to do it.

So without further ado, I’m jumping right off that cliff, damn it, and building my wings on the way down. See you safely on the ground!

Others who jumped off a cliff (and kept on jumping!)

  • Composer Oscar Hammerstein had 5 bombed shows lasting less than 6 weeks in total before Oklahoma! It grossed $7million and ran for 269 weeks.
  • Author Tawni O’Dell had 6 unpublished novels and 300 rejection slips over a 13-year period before her first novel was published. When it became an Oprah book club selection, it made the New York Times bestseller list for 8 weeks.
  • Admiral Robert Peary reached the North Pole on his 8th attempt.
  • Stephen King got so fed up of receiving rejections on his novel Carrie that he threw it in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, retrieved it and sent it back out … we all know what happened next.
  • Model/actress Angie Everhart was told by Eileen Ford that redheads don’t sell. Everhart later became the first redhead in history to appear on Glamour magazine and appeared in more than 27 films and now has her own show.

What cliffs have you jumped off? How did you build your wings? Maybe more importantly, what cliffs do you regret not jumping off?


Cazzie!!! said...

The cliff I regret not having jumped off of... none that I can think of yet...I might have to return on this topic Bibi.

Ant said...

"Building wings on the way down" - that is fantastic imagery...

I've been going through something similar with my new business, and it's slowly but surely beginning to pay off. Sure there are risks involved, and I am consistently surrounded by doom-mongering nay-sayers, but belief is the core that's taking me through...

The vision I subscribe to is something similar:

The bit at the beginning of Goldeneye, where Bond drives off the edge of the runway on a motorbike, chasing a plane - he falls down to the plane, pulls himself in, dispatches the pilot and pulls up just before he hits the ground, with the theme music thundering loudly in our ears...

That's me, that is. :o)

andrea said...

Go for it!

Deirdre said...

Congratulations on the new adventure. I've had several conversations in the past week with women who are taking new chances and giving their dreams the opportunity to see daylight. It's a wonderful sight.

I've jumped off a few cliffs, sometimes landing broken at the bottom and have to crawl back up to find a better way down next time. Sometimes the wings work well enough. Don't know that I've soared yet....

A small opportunity has presented itself in regard to my art and I'm going to step off the curb for a test run. Even though it's a tiny thing I'm a bit nervous.

Becca said...

Bibi, this is just what I needed to read right now. I had just about talked myself into retreating from something I knew I really wanted to do, and you've inspired me to take the leap!

I love the quote you posted, and actually bought a poster of it for a teacher that I work with because it embodies what she does so perfectly. I need to listen to it for myself!

Good luck with your new venture, and thanks for the inspiration!

Pamela said...

There have been to many from which I failed to leap.

some regrets.

Now I'm thinking......

Bibi said...

Cazzie, hopefully you have no regrets! ;-)

Ant, I should I say Bond, James Bond. I can't claim credit for the imagery of 'building your wings' ... it's a common saying here in motivational circles and has been credited to many different folks. Glad you're biz is starting to pull through. And those nay-sayers ... squish them!!

Andrea, I's-a-goin' ;-)

Diedre, thank you and that's fantastic news on your front! Good luck with your art work. Believe in yourself!

Becca, thanks and glad the timing was right, LOL. I hope you leap so high there's no stopping you!!

Pamela, I've heard time and again from people in their 80's + that it's the things they didn't do, that they regret. I try to rememeber that ... try to ... ;-)

Romeo Morningwood said...

Tom Edison said "I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."

I am coveting your courage.

kj said...

go bibi!!!

thanks for the contagious inspiration. here's my announcement: i WILL be a successful published admired writer. i'm my own ep too. and ceo. and marketing director. and counselor. and spirit guide. and pep squad.

you will be great. i want to hear you on air.....


Ant said...

Actually yeah, do you do online podcasts or anything like that? I'd love to hear your work.

Ian Lidster said...

Thank you for your wonderful wisdom in this piece, dear Vicki, and good for you for doing what you are doing. You gave me exactly what I needed to hear today, so my visit was very serendipitous.
Your friend just across the Strait, Ian

WithinWithout said...

Ha! The second consecutive post you've done where you've really made me look inside (almost all of them do, but these two particularly).

First, you go girl! I admire you a great deal for taking this leap and I'm sure you'll land gracefully and safely.

The leap I'm most glad I took was quitting college while I was doing well and going on a long bus trip from England to India and back.

Everybody said I was an arse. They were wrong.

Since then, though, I've been on a very straight, purposeful path in a journalism career that's great, but it's TOO straight.

I haven't leapt off any cliffs and, largely out of necessity (or so I think), I've avoided them like the plague.

I want to get off that beaten path at some point...and, like you, just run as fast as I can and jump off, without wings.

Thanks for your insight...and your example.

Bibi said...

Homo Escapeons, yes, Edison did indeed!

KJ, you go girl!! Don't know about you, but I love wearing a lot of hats. Makes life much more interesting! ;-) Will put a link on the site next week.

Ant, it's streamed live on the net --8pm GMT/ noon PST--. Website is not really developed yet, but there's some info at

Ian, Friend across the Strait, thank you and I'm glad it worked for you today! Funny how that works...

Within Without, thanks! Travel (the kind you did) is the best education anyone can have. Good for you. I think we all 'think' ourselves into walking straight ahead at times (if we want to keep a roof over our heads!). But taking the leap is sometimes so invigorating that the surge of energy it generates helps to pull it all together.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, this is great news on your behalf. The cliff I always regret NOT jumping off, or clinging to for so long, was the corporate ladder. Once I let go, life took flight. The cliff I'm glad I did jump off, obviously, leaving the corporate world and the lifers who hang in there day after day waiting for their pension. Ugh... makes me shudder.

Great post.

dinahmow said...

Looking back, most of my leaps have been from molehills or kerbs, but they seemed Himalayan at the time!
And sometimes, the free-fall was worth the rough landing.It's all about the trying, isn't it?
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm not very adventuresome I'm afraid. I would like to be - but it's not in my nature so I admire people who are. I am sure you will do brilliantly and will listen in for your show!

kj said...

all this reminds me: "a ship in harbor is safe but it doesn't see anything..."


Yasmine Galenorn said...

I think the one cliff I regret not jumping off of was perhaps one of the simplest--but it was so hard for me. To ask for help when I needed it, and because I would not ask for help, I ended up with some major physical problems in my back. And the results of too much pride, and being taught that you take care of your own problems no matter what, are still dogging my heels today.

Otherwise, I've jumped off a lot of cliffs as you know, ~V...and each time, whether rocks or updrafts to the next cliff are waiting below, I've had one hell of a journey. :)


Bibi said...

Pete, I felt the same way when I quit as a senior manager in the corporate world ... what took me so long?

Dinahmow, it is about the trying. And luckily that was drilled into me by my parents as a child. So I know the real failure is always in NOT trying.

Lisage, we're not meant to be all the same, and that's good!! Thanks for your well wishes.

KJ, yeah ... must not be afraid to lose sight of the shore to find new horizons.

Yasmine, mmm, asking for help is a tough one for many people. I've certainly struggled with that too! But I now see it as a strength to know when to ask for help, and a weakness not to.

Kiyotoe said...

This was a great post Beebs! Sadly, I can't think of any cliffs I've jumped off of. There are a couple that I've jumped from literally (on vacation here or there), but not the kind you're talking about.

Is that sad? Does that mean I haven't taken any risks in my life/career?

Aw man Beebs. Now I'm depressed. ;)

Chris Benjamin said...

hopefully my novel will soon be ready for hundreds of rejection letters!

Bibi said...

Kiyotoe ... don't feel that way. It's not a contest. We each do what works for us. And everyone defines success differently. For me, success is about living with passion and purpose. I thrive on challenge and growth ... so it's different strokes for different folks ...

Bibi said...

benjihopper, YES. And then your name will get added to the lists of 'those who never gave up and are now best sellers'! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Fab news. Fab post. Makes me wanna jump too!

Chris Benjamin said...

that thought makes me smile hopefully.

Bibi said...

mikey m, thank you!

Benjihopper, ;-D