While shooting an author’s conference I got distracted when I started listening to the keynote speaker. He captured my attention as he told a story that made me raise an eyebrow and make a wish to have what he was talking about. I’m going to attempt to do his story justice, but forgive me if I muddle details and it doesn’t translate, ending up as one of those “you had to be there” moments.
This rather engaging speaker started with a picture of his son, roughly 8 years old and goofy as they come, enthusiastically setting up the scene while describing their family vacation in Mexico. They watched as a family friend lept off the cliff and proceeded to execute a beautiful back flip, striking the water with precision and moxy. With absolute dread, this man watched his young son tremble with excitement as he excitedly asked if he could do that too. The man had an internal battle knowing this was a crucial moment in the boy’s life, wanting him to not always play it safe and learn to take risks while not encouraging something stupid where his son could very seriously injure himself. There was no way he could let his son do that while not doing it himself. There was really only one thing to do.
Looking at his wife he knew what he had to do. Deathly afraid of heights he slowly approached the ledge and swallowed the ever increasing lump in his throat. Setting an example was more important than any fear…no matter how much he wanted to pee his pants.
The next picture that flashed on screen was the perfect shot of a terrified man in mid-air half flipping and half cannon-balling into the sea below.
As he continued his story, it was no surprise that his son followed his footsteps and flipped off the ledge into the Mexican waters below. What was surprising was the next set of pictures in his story.
Turns out, his son went on to not only join the swim team and earn scholarships from his collegiate high dive career, he became an Olympic contender and is on his way to the upcoming games in Rio. That boy’s decision to follow an example set by his dad and flip off the edge set him up for even grander adventures and successes that he never even knew were possible.
So the question is: are you living a life worth flipping?
What exactly would be your equivalent of flipping? For some it might be to submit an application to go back to school, to finally ask for a raise. Maybe it’s walking away from a dead-end job and starting a new career path, attending or join a new club or Bible study, getting that cute girl’s phone number and actually using it, or maybe it’s finally pushing aside the excuses and pursuing a deep down dream or hobby no matter how silly it may seem (like writing).
The best part of being at that conference with my camera in hand was when a gentleman who I had done his pictures for earlier came up to me with a big grin and nervously said, “That portrait session was my flip.” Apparently he hadn’t had any pictures taken of him in over a decade and for him that day was a really big deal to be able to get his pictures done and move forward on a project. That may be one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
As I smile and look back at that day filled with authors and awesomeness I can’t help but think, how often are we actually in the role of the dad and not the son? How often are we in the ones that others are watching and looking at with a decision hinged on our decision to flip? How many people are holding back on their flip by simply waiting for ours? We may never know who’s flip depends on ours.
That is a scary thought.
Go ahead…live a life worth flipping.
Ashlee Bratton – author of the book “Life Before The Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket” is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and (when she has to be) an inspirational speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.
Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.
Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.