Bridges are meant to be built, not to be burned. But what about the bridges that keep us in too much of a place of comfort, or one that blocks us from our fullest potential?
Bridges, in how I’ve thought of them, are the relationships, experiences and places that act as gateways for our own development as people. We have professional, personal and spiritual relationships (among countless others) that help us to find an grow into the best, all-around person we can be. But what happens when the bridge no longer produces growth? When it no longer produces fulfillment and passion? When it only keeps you in one solitary place instead of transforming and transitioning you into the best you can be?
A customer once greeted me when I was having a bad day with advice about writing my next chapter of life. Among the musings was the idea that I should always leave a key in a lock – meaning I should never burn a bridge. “You never know if you’ll need to come back.” However, I’ve lived far too much of my life under or around a security blanket. I feel I never gave my capabilities the respect of going for the gusto – until now. My hustle has been at a snail’s pace when I could’ve been a machine by now. I really realized that I get caught up in my dreams only to have had them dashed with the realities of where I am. But with that realization, I now know I have the choice of where I am, and where I want to be. Sometimes, you can’t build a new bridge unless you are willing to get off an old one and leave it there. So maybe burning is a little harsh, but as Fridtjof Nansen said, “I demolish my bridges behind me – then there is no choice but forward.”
It’s not easy to burn a bridge. In fact, it’s not always easy to get flame the first time you strike a match. It took me a while to get out of the mindset that I need to be doing this or that before I can start living my dreams. It’s scary to think of cutting off the comfort of a certain job, or a certain group of people, or even the place you live. But I have found, sometimes relationships, jobs, experiences and places reach their limit. It is then that we must burn those bridges in order to build new ones, so that we do not revert to our comfort but rather the journey to reach our fullest potential.