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  • Writer's pictureMindy Thomas

Building My Wings On The Way Down

Have you ever felt words hit so profoundly, they knocked the wind out of you?

Like in a good way. Not in the heat of an argument kind of way, where they cut you like a knife.

But in a way, you’d been searching to articulate for months, maybe years, and then a conversation with one person helps you sum it all up?

I had that moment during the first recording of my podcast back in February. However, I’ve been thinking about it now more than ever. Maybe it’s because we’re starting the end-of-the-year reflections conversations?

Either way, when chatting with Clinton Norris, Artistic Team Member at John Paul Mitchell Systems, we discussed the points in our lives where we made, what others would consider, bold decisions, and completed pivoted our lives.

For him, it was quitting the wildly successful metalcore band, As I Lay Dying and walking away with no future steps at the height of its notoriety.

For me, it was leaving a secure salary job in the middle of a global pandemic with no backup plan in sight.

"Sometimes you've gotta jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down."

And somehow, we both began to forge our paths and find our way. I had been looking for words to describe the “scrappy” feelings of motivation and clarity I’ve felt since making that decision when he came at me with a quote that stopped me dead in my tracks.

He said, “Sometimes, you’ve gotta jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”

I wish I were recording myself at that moment (I have never made that mistake again); you could see the deer in the headlights look as my brain and soul connected and embodied what he just said to me. It was like a thousand lightbulbs illuminated at once. All the moments I took a leap of faith throughout my life flooded my brain — one after the other. Like an old VHS tape, stuck on fast forward.

I scanned backward over my life. I saw all the scenarios where I took a leap of faith and built my wings on the way down.

  • The day I told my mom I was dropping out of college to attend hair school.

  • The day the little pink plus sign surprised me on that pregnancy test.

  • The day I walked away from a full clientele behind the chair to jump into a digital marketing agency. Oh, and I was 13 weeks pregnant with baby #2.

  • The day I resigned from a salaried position with no backup plan.

These were all monumental life moments not in the original plan. Still, I felt a strong sense of responsibility deep within to reinvent myself to provide a life as authentic as possible.

An authentically led life is all I’ve ever envisioned for myself.

Looking back, I never wanted someone to control where I was or what I was doing 40 hours a week. I always told myself I’d create my path over living in a cubicle more than I lived in my home.

So here we are, one full year into the next episode of my life as an official Content Creator.

But this time, I’m not doing it alone, and I’m going to talk to others who have made similar shifts in their lives. These conversations, stories, posts, and tweets are just as much for me as they are for you. I believe we have so much to learn and gone are the days of having to do it alone or in silence.

So while I’m still falling, I can actively feel the wings emerging with every nerve-wracking meeting I take with a potential new partner or the tiny pit in my stomach that emerges before I publish a new podcast episode.

No one ever said growing wings would be a pleasant experience. But knowing you’re on your way to having the freedom to fly makes it all worth it.



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