The sun warms my skin as the wind lifts my hair away from face. I take a deep breath and look at my feet to center myself. Bad decision. My knees tremble as I look down, my feet 50 ft above the ground. The platform shakes as the wind picks up. I back away from the edge.

“Take the Leap of Faith!” I hear a faint voice shout.

The platform shakes again, harder this time. No. Nu-uhn. There’s no way I’m going to jump off this wobbly platform and grab a hanging trapeze, that starts to look further and further away.

I feel queasy and instinctively close my eyes as my fear of heights takes over.

What have I gotten myself into?’

After graduating  from Michigan State, I had an idea of what my big goals were in life, but  had no idea of what my next steps were going to be. Working with nonprofits and city government in Detroit my whole college career, I had found my niche, but where to start?  I wanted to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone, and not get stuck in a typical 9-5, five days a week. What drew me to Challenge Detroit wasn’t just getting out of the office on Fridays, but the immersive program, impressive network, and the impactful work done by a cohort and leadership that truly cared about the work being done in the city. I wanted to live, work, play, give and lead in the city that I grew up in, all the while challenging myself to see things from new lenses and experience innovative ways to address the issues the city faces.

‘You can do it!’… “Go Ayeshaaaa!”… “You got this!”

My eyes open and I creep to the edge to look down on the smiling faces of my cohort cheering me on.

It makes me realize a few things. I begin to understand why Challenge orientation includes getting in harnesses and up 50 ft in the air doing exercises that would make one’s heart leap out of their chest. I also begin to understand why I am up there in the first place. I want to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. Looking back down at my cohort I realize that I’m not going to do it alone and that I have a team behind me supporting me every step of the way. And lastly, I realize that if I keep looking down, I would never take that leap.

I breathe in deeply, smile and take the leap as cheers erupt from below.