A photo of a young boy of colour jumping off a cliff into the sea to represent the topic of the article - Embracing Opportunities By Taking The Leap This Leap Year

Embracing Opportunities By Taking The Leap This Leap Year

Given that this chance only comes around once every four years, and with the leap year date falling close to my publication day, I couldn’t miss this chance to write this article. So, here’s my article on taking the leap this leap year.



What’s A Leap Year


Because of the Earth’s less-than-perfect orbit of the sun, we round up our years to be 365 days long, as it really takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 56 seconds to orbit the sun (National Air and Space Museum). Thus, every four years in the Gregorian calendar, we add an extra day to balance our time, with this extra day being known as a leap day, or February 29th (Live Science).


It’s known by the word “leap” for the fact that from March onward, the dates of a leap year move forward by an extra day from the previous year (Live Science). Without this time correction, our years would eventually look very different, such as Christmas eventually appearing in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, they’d finally get a winter Christmas.


Historically, the 29th February, in Ireland, was the day women were allowed to propose to men. Women were given one day a year to break from the repressive traditions of the time (Metro). This is meant to be known as either Bachelor’s Day or Ladies’ Privilege.


Interestingly, there are also leap seconds. A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied because of the fact the earth doesn’t spin at exactly 24 hours either. However, they’re meant to be scrapping the leap second in 2035 (Rest Less).




Taking The Leap


Finding and accepting new opportunities can be both exciting and daunting, because it requires stepping outside your comfort zone, embracing the unknown, and taking a leap of faith.


I’ve heard it said that the only person who likes change is a wet baby

Woodard (2022)


Change is unavoidable. Thus, the Leap Year, or Year of Leap, is a metaphor for improvement (Flourishing Life). Thus, embracing opportunities and taking a leap, especially in a leap year, involves stepping out of your comfort zone and pursuing new possibilities. However, there has been a tendency for people to equate an opportunity to a work narrative, such as a promotion, making them job-centred, but this has its drawbacks (Lambert and Waxman, 2005).


Seeing opportunities as just something based on a job is limiting. As most of us get our sense of purpose and meaning outside of work. As such, that’s where the opportunities that matter will be found as well. What’s important to a good quality of life, is the opportunity to meet personal responsibility and the development of a fulfilling personal life (Lambert and Waxman, 2005).


So now that it’s a leap year, with its extra day, it feels like an invitation to take an extra leap in your own life. It’s a time to step outside your comfort zone, embrace new opportunities, and chase your dreams. Here are some ways to make the most of this leap year and truly take the leap and improve your quality of life:


Believe in your potential

Remind yourself of passions, past successes, and skills you can leverage. More often than not, the only thing holding us back is our own self-doubts. Don’t let these limiting beliefs run your life.




Identify your passions

What makes your heart sing? What are you curious about? What have you always wanted to try but never dared? This is the year to prioritise these passions and make them a bigger part of your life. Whether it’s learning a new language, starting a creative project, or travelling to a far-flung destination, focus on the things that bring you joy and fulfilment.


Before the pandemic, my partner and a few friends took up ballroom dancing. Since the pandemic, my partner and I have been making time to do archery. It’s been fun taking on new things like this because we’ve always had an interest, but never got around to doing them before.


Identify opportunities

Reflect on areas in your life where you’d like to grow or take a new direction. This could be in your career, personal development, relationships, or hobbies. Also, consider what type of chances or growth experiences align with what will fulfil you.


Challenge yourself

Growth often happens outside our comfort zone. This leap year set some goals that push you beyond your usual limits. It could be anything from running a marathon to taking on a leadership role at work to finally conquering that public speaking fear. Stepping outside your comfort zone can be scary, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.


Last year, I stepped outside my comfort zone to take part in a panel discussion on psychosis, because of my lived experience. And because of that, I was asked a lot of questions by the audience. I’d never done anything like that before, and I’ve always hated public speaking, but I got through it and it’s changed my perspective on public speaking in the future.




Set clear goals

It could help to define specific and achievable goals related to the opportunities you want to pursue during this leap year. Having clear objectives will guide your actions and decisions.


Take action

Once you’ve identified potential opportunities and set your goals, take proactive steps toward achieving them and try to be consistent with the actions you’re taking.


Break down bigger goals into smaller steps

Maybe your ultimate leap this year is starting your own business or writing a book. While those goals are exciting, they can also feel overwhelming. The key is to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This will make the process less daunting and help you stay motivated along the way.


For example, if you want to start a business, it might be useful to first find out how to do that. Maybe you’ll want to talk to someone who’s done it, do some research online, or even do a course. Maybe you’ll want to do all of those. Thus, breaking this down into small steps like that will make it easier to achieve the end goal.




Embrace the power of “yes”

Embrace the concept of being the Yes Man, like in the 2008 Jim Carrey film. Say yes to new experiences, even if they’re a little bit scary. Say yes to invitations you might normally decline. Say yes to taking a chance on yourself. You never know what amazing things might happen when you step outside your usual routine. It was an amazing experience to do the panel discussion I was invited to take part in.


Make bold asks

You may be surprised who says yes when directly presented with passion and purpose. I ended up doing ballroom dancing classes and archery for the simple fact I brought it up with my partner, and they said yes.


Embrace change

Be open to change and willing to step into the unknown. Remember that growth often occurs outside your comfort zone, so embrace uncertainty as a part of the journey. Furthermore, if multiple doors open at once, consider which best aligns currently based on your readiness and resources.


Don’t be afraid to fail

Taking leaps often involves taking risks, and that means there’s a chance you might stumble or fall. But remember, failure is simply part of the learning process. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from taking those leaps. Embrace the stumbles as opportunities to learn and grow, and get back up even stronger.


Failing is part of life and a big part of success. As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. Becoming good at something or succeeding isn’t about never failing, but about what you do in the face of failing.



Overcome fear

Acknowledge and confront any fears or doubts that might be holding you back from taking the leap. Challenge negative thoughts using some of the many thought challenge skills that you can learn (for example, reframing, putting your thoughts on trial, silver lining, etc.) and remind yourself of the potential rewards of seizing new opportunities.


Take calculated risks

To help with overcoming any lingering fear about taking a leap, consider making informed decisions and taking calculated risks instead. Evaluate the potential outcomes and consequences of taking the leap and not taking the leap, before making significant changes. It’s important to consider the outcomes and consequences of not taking a leap, because they may be worse than not taking the leap.


For example, for me to get a grip on my anxiety-induced psychosis, I had to stop using my safety behaviours. In the short-term, that was going to be (and it was) an unpleasant experience, but the long-term gains were life-changing. Not taking that leap would have meant I’d still be having multiple psychotic episodes every day, but also not taking that leap would mean I wouldn’t have to go through that initial unpleasant experience. And it was unpleasant. We have safety behaviours for a reason.


Therefore, weigh risks, but don’t obsess over them. Consider possible downsides, then focus on the upsides. Remember, most regret comes from not trying. The risks of inaction tend to outweigh possible failure.


Start small if needed

Break a big opportunity into gradual steps to build confidence for larger leaps later on. For example, don’t plan to be opening a bakery in two months if you’ve never baked an item in your life. Instead, build your skills starting with a beginner class, and work towards opening that bakery.


Stay resilient

Resilience is built by getting through experiences, rather than being something you can learn, per se. You can of course develop skills to help manage experiences, but ultimately, it’s getting through them that is where you’ll grow your resilience. Therefore, understand that setbacks and challenges are part of the journey. Cultivate resilience and perseverance to bounce back from failures and keep moving forward.


Having a mindset that you’re ok with failing and being prepared to try again, will do wonders for your resilience, as it’s all experience. Fundamentally, resilience is based on our experiences and how we perceive those experiences. This is what makes looking for a silver lining so useful.


Stay flexible

Be adaptable and open-minded in your approach. Things may not always go as planned, so be willing to adjust your course if necessary. Doing this will also help with your sense of resilience. After all, there is no perfect road to success.



Approach your opportunities as if trying your best is good enough, rather than aiming for perfection. Perfectionism is a trap of endless disappointment and heartache. You won’t be perfect at a new hobby like going to cooking classes right away. You’re likely going to burn a few things and forget to season a dish or two with salt. It happens, and that’s ok.


If you were perfect at everything you tried the first time, you’d likely become bored quite quickly, because it’s the steps we take to get better that can bring us the most joy. In short, few things are ever perfect. Focus on engaging authentically, rather than fixating on performance. Growth comes through experience.


Learn from your failures

Everyone fails sometimes. But failures are a great learning opportunity, so it’s important to learn from your failures and use them as an opportunity to grow. One way to do this might be to keep a journal. A journal is a great way to track your progress and reflect on your experiences, good and bad, helping you to be able to better learn from failures.



Taking leaps, big or small, is something to be proud of. Don’t forget that. Not everyone will take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them. So regardless of the outcome, be proud that you took that leap when it’s presented to you.


Celebrate your successes (big and small)

Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your successes along the way. Especially acknowledge and celebrate small wins along the way. This will help you stay motivated and keep moving forward.


It’s important to recognise your achievements, no matter how small, to stay motivated and inspired, because if you’re waiting for the one big goal to be completed, you may be waiting a long time to feel that sense of achievement.


For example, if you want to write a book, but only plan to celebrate when you publish it, you may struggle to stay motivated to reach that state. However, if you celebrate completing your first 1000 words, each chapter you complete, finishing a first draft, etc. you’ll routinely get that sense of achievement and boost to your motivation and creativity.


Surround yourself with supportive people

Your friends and family, who make up a large part of your social support network of people who support you, are there for times like this. The people in your social support network will believe in you, encourage you, and help you pick yourself up if you stumble. So make sure you involve such supportive people who will be there for you on your journey.


You may also have access to mentors or professionals who can provide guidance, encouragement, and advice as you embark on new endeavours. If so, use these connections as well to help you take advantage of new opportunities.


Nurture curiosity

According to Kashdan, Rose, and Fincham (2004), curiosity begets further curiosity, and that curiosity is important because it’s relevant to nearly all facets of human functioning. This is a fancy way of saying, that curiosity is its own form of motivation (Silvia, 2012). Thus, Nurturing curiosity will help in finding new opportunities, and with time as you nurture your curiosity, curiosity itself will keep you motivated to look for new opportunities.


Kashdan, Rose, and Fincham (2004) also proposed that people with higher levels of curiosity will be more inclined to pursue and take advantage of varied opportunities, helping with the development of a meaningful life. This means that a key to happiness is curiosity and taking advantage of new opportunities.


Embrace continuous learning

The world is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep learning and growing. One way to do this is to keep taking courses, read books, and attend workshops to stay ahead of the curve. Another way to do this is to treat life as one long learning experience, and the more experiences you have, the more you’ll learn.


Finding flow states

Pushing yourself out of your comfort and into novel flow states where you give your personal skills a chance to grow by confronting challenges, builds confidence in those skills and yourself (Kashdan, Rose, and Fincham, 2004).


Meet new people

According to Mollenhorst, Völker, and Flap (2008), who we interact with isn’t wholly a personal decision, but rather heavily influenced by circumstances, such as where you live and work. Thus, we may find it hard to meet the kind of people we’d prefer to have in our lives, meaning that we should seek out opportunities to meet such people. This could be joining a group on Facebook or using sites like Meetup.com. Therefore, take opportunities to meet new people this leap year and connect with the kind of people you want in your life.


Another way you could do this might be to talk to people in your field and attend industry events. This helps in a slightly different way, as the more people you know in your field, the more likely you are to be presented with new opportunities that might benefit your career.



Montuori and Fahim (2004) argued that the best way to learn about yourself is to learn about other cultures. This allows us to not only see what makes us different, yet the same in a lot of ways, it can highlight what motivates us to perceive the world the way we do, thus challenging those perceptions. Embracing and exploring different cultures gives us a chance to grow as individuals.


Speaking as someone who was driven to suicide because of childhood racism, I fully endorse everyone doing this. Therefore, take opportunities to connect with other cultures and expand your horizons.


Embrace creativity

We have a natural sense of creativity, that we often lose as we grow older. However, according to Montuori and Fahim (2004), creative people are better at coping with new things, experiences, and opportunities. This means that creative people are better at embracing chances for personal growth.


Creative people are likely good at taking such chances for personal growth because being creative means you’re going to have a greater ability at problem-solving. It’s also easier for a creative person to create meaning (Montuori and Fahim, 2004), which is important for life satisfaction.


Therefore, it’s important to also nurture your creative side, rather than letting it fizzle out as you get older because we find joy and purpose in being creative.






Remember, this leap year is your chance to make a difference in your life. So take some risks, embrace new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take the leap. You might just surprise yourself with what you can achieve.


But most of all, don’t give up. There will be challenges along the way, but don’t give up on your dreams. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to find new opportunities. By embracing opportunities and taking the leap during this leap year, you’re opening yourself up to growth, new experiences, and the potential for positive change in various aspects of your life. The journey might be challenging at times, but it often leads to valuable personal and professional development.


I hope this article helps you have a leap year filled with amazing experiences and personal growth. Because you’re capable of more than you know. So go out there and start exploring and growing.


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with embracing opportunities and taking a leap in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, you can sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, click the red bell icon in the bottom right corner to get push notifications for new articles.


Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then there are PayPal and Ko-fi donation payment options below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.







Kashdan, T. B., Rose, P., & Fincham, F. D. (2004). Curiosity and exploration: Facilitating positive subjective experiences and personal growth opportunities. Journal of personality assessment82(3), 291-305. Retrieved from https://mason.gmu.edu/~tkashdan/publications/JPACEI.pdf.

Lambert, S. J., & Waxman, E. (2005). Organizational Stratification: Distributing Opportunities for Balancing Work and Personal Life. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susan-Lambert-3/publication/232434183_Organizational_Stratification_Distributing_Opportunities_for_Balancing_Work_and_Personal_Life/links/64f615b6827074313ffaa582/Organizational-Stratification-Distributing-Opportunities-for-Balancing-Work-and-Personal-Life.pdf.

Mollenhorst, G., Völker, B., & Flap, H. (2008). Social contexts and personal relationships: The effect of meeting opportunities on similarity for relationships of different strength. Social Networks30(1), 60-68. Retrieved from https://pure.rug.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/2750010/MollenhorstG-Social-2008.pdf.

Montuori, A., & Fahim, U. (2004). Cross-cultural encounter as an opportunity for personal growth. Journal of Humanistic Psychology44(2), 243-265. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167804263414.

Silvia, P. J. (2012). Curiosity and motivation. The Oxford handbook of human motivation, 157-166. Retrieved from https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-54239-009.

Woodard, M. (2022). Embracing New Opportunities. Texas Library Journal, 98(2), 57-57. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/openview/12dfca407aa9a1cccf3db5c36d3d7d38.

6 thoughts on “Embracing Opportunities By Taking The Leap This Leap Year

  1. This was an interesting article. My goal is to keep growing as a writer and content creator.

  2. Nice article. I’ve been really focused on setting clear intentions and embracing new changes especially as my pregnancy progresses

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