When a once in a lifetime opportunity comes your way – you take it. Today, mine was swimming in the middle of the ocean – 2 miles from the shore, in 250 ft deep water – filled with about 50 sharks.
For the past decade or so, I have found myself in these situations countless times. There are those that are more obvious; like the sharks, or doing a seminar at Bagram Air Force Base in the middle of the war, or having Shane Dorian teach me how to surf even though I am not super comfortable in the ocean.
But, those aren’t the only “scary as shit – but turn out to be the most important and pivotal moments” I am talking about. Some of the best opportunities in our lives are the most terrifying when they first come our way. The easiest thing to do, the most rational thing to do – would be to play it safe. Stay the course that you are on. Follow the path that is the most safe, with the most guarantees.
Do you want to swim with sharks? First instinct, “No way!!”
Do you want to leave your current job to follow your passion? “Sounds too dangerous.”
Do you want to travel to a place you have never been even though you don’t know what to expect? “Seems complicated”
Do you want to say your dreams and goals out loud to your friends and family and actually own up to them? “That’s super scary. What if I fail?”
I didn’t want to swim with the sharks today really at all. I was scared from the moment I heard about it until the moment I was back on the boat. But, also from the moment I heard about it, I knew I was going to do it. How could I not?
I knew it was risky, I was super scared. I would like to say that once I saw these majestic animals and how calm they were that I became less scared – but that would actually be a lie! I was so afraid of the combination of the rough waters and the sharks that I actually made the dudes give me a floaty thing from the boat. Actually, about 15 min into the 30 min swim, I wanted nothing more than to get back on that damn boat. I didn’t though, because even though it was terrifying, I could appreciate the opportunity I had and the amazing experience that I was a part of in that moment. I knew I would regret it if I gave in early and headed back.
I had committed to doing this thing and I wanted to squeeze everything out of that moment that I could.
Life is like that. Full of incredible opportunities and chances to make incredible memories at every turn. Some of them are scary, some of them are exhausting, most of them are very – very worth it.
Being comfortable doesn’t create great stories or great success.