Standing there, all 4 feet 10 inches of me, weighed down by kilos of diving equipment, I felt like a hobbit* peering into the dark pits of Moria. The Spanish sun was relentless, and beads of sweat trickled down my forehead. Below me, the Mediterranean Sea looked looked equally enigmatic, a realm of untold mysteries and hidden dangers (and jelly fish, there were a lot of jelly fish). My then-husband and nephew were already in the water, goggles on, looking up at me expectantly. It was now or never. This moment, teetering on the edge of a bouncing boat, would change my perspective on risk forever, in business and in life.
It wasn’t my first time.
I had tried try diving before (is it just me who hears yoda when I think of “try” diving – there is no try?)
I had failed 3 times**.
My main problem was that I couldn’t put my face in the sea – I’d do exorcist type head swizzles to avoid it.
(I’ll talk more about where that fear came from in the next issue.)
The Turning Point
Enter Danny***, my Argentinian diving instructor. Calm, professional and kind. He was the Gandalf to my Frodo, guiding me through my fears.
Instead of taking me to the water and pushing me in (sink or swim style) he’d spent the last couple of weekends taking me through the process. Guiding me gently. Pushing my limits but never breaking me.
On the boat, when I hesitated, he simply took my hand and said, “That’s OK. You can do it when you’re ready.” And we waited.
Why I chose Danny and his process:
- He had a well-defined, proven process.
- It started where I was – with my head above water panicking.
- The first steps were achievable – put my face in the water and blow bubbles – baby steps.
- We did it in a small group together. We were all at different levels (they could put their heads in the water) but we all had same objective, we had a clear desire.
- Danny built my desire by explaining how he’d helped other people get success, so I believed it was possible for people like me.
- He didn’t just talk about it. Every week he showed me new skills and I got to try them, growing in confidence by taking action.
- He gave me feedback, tricks and tips so I improved quickly.
- He helped me avoid mistakes so I didn’t get setbacks.
- He was my guide and my buddy.
In business, finding a mentor who can guide you through the labyrinth of risks and decisions is invaluable. They don’t push; they inspire. They don’t dictate; they guide. You don’t sink; you dive.
The Calculated Risk
With Danny’s hand in mine, I sat down and took the plunge, backwards.
It was a calculated risk, guided by expertise and trust. The moment my head went underwater, a new world opened up—a world of silence, beauty, and endless possibilities. Calculated risks are the stepping stones to innovation and growth. They’re not reckless; they’re informed. They’re not leaps into the dark; they’re steps into the light.
I dived because Danny had a process, was experienced and an expert.
The freedom I felt underwater was transformative. I went on to become a certified diver, then an advanced diver, exploring coral reefs, sunken ships and anchored planes**** around the world. I even completed my first-aid diving training.
The rewards were beyond anything I could have imagined, all because I took a calculated risk and found a sympathetic guide. In business, the rewards of taking calculated risks can be just as transformative—new markets, innovative products, and a sense of accomplishment that no amount of caution can provide.
Whether you’re standing on the edge of a boat, diving equipment weighing you down, or standing on the edge of a business decision, the weight of responsibility heavy on your shoulders, remember this: calculated risks can set you free. They can open up worlds you never knew existed. So, find your Danny, and take the plunge. Your abyss might just be an ocean of opportunities.
Pop me a message if you have any diving stories to share.
Ciao for now,
* Yes, I do have hairy toes.
** Previous try dive “instructors” included: a doped-up adulting-challenged kid who forgot to turn my air on; a disinterested “vet” who was only there to pull; and an earnest first time instructor who was trembling more than I was.
*** Danny founded Buceo Sin Barreras in 2009, to teach divers how to help handicapped people get their first experience under water, and is a member of International Association for Handicapped Divers (IAHD).
**** Really, we have a 2 seater sunk for the naval divers here in Cartagena – I sat in the pilot’s seat!
PS: When you’re ready there are three ways I can help you to get your feet wet, and I promise to hold your hand:
- “Try” me out weekly – join us in the Ideas into Assets weekly events. Free events, recordings, networking. https://debbiejenkins.com/ideas-into-assets-join-the-group-access-the-calls/
- “Dive in” and get your book written and guaranteed publishing with our Cohort Publishing group. Here’s an explanation of the cohort and the application process. https://expertauthor.academy/cohort-4-publishing-with-debbie-jenkins/
- If you’ve already got your business book then join the OnlyAuthors.club and become an “advanced” author by using the 4 book marketing strategies and getting your own copy of the Book Marketing Canvas(tm) – it’s only 1 euro to join us. https://onlyauthors.club/join-the-only-authors-club