Swimming with Killer Whales..?

“Go! Go! Go!” shouted the captain of the speedboat. I felt like I was on a Navy Seal bootcamp as we just reacted, rolling off the side of the boat into the cool, wild waters off the South African coast. Coming towards us, out of the blue, through the bubbles were 4 orcas - yes, majestic killer whales.

In the afterglow of this amazing experience I reflected that sometimes in life we just don’t know what’s coming towards us. We have no time to think, to assess, or to do a pros/cons analysis of our next course of action. Sometimes we just need to back ourselves and jump into the ocean that is our life.

Often though, we are too cautious. We underestimate, second-guess or doubt ourselves. We shy away from situations that could put ourselves at risk of failure. Yet, when we doubt ourselves, we not only become more anxious in our response to challenges, more risk adverse, but we are also then potentially shying away from other opportunities and challenges which might be more rewarding or exciting. We might miss out. In most cases we only know that we are on the right track once we have taken that leap of faith, when we back ourselves and take action.

One of the many things I’ve learnt over the years, in and out of the water, is that we are all capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. So here are three of my observations that may help you think through how you might be a little braver, have a little more confidence to react to and face challenges head on and open the possibility of new adventures and opportunities to help you learn and grow.

1. You know so much more than you realise

How would it feel to live a life where we expect the unexpected? What would trusting all that experience and wisdom that we have developed through our lives be like? A little daunting maybe? Everything that you have experienced in life has got you to where you are today, the good and the bad. We have learnt so much, but the great news is that we all know so much more than we realise we know. When we recognise that and we back ourselves, we are also then less afraid to; take a leap with a new career opportunity, or to break new ground with our business goals and with that comes the potential to take your business, your team, your career or that unrealised personal ambition in a new direction.

2. Don’t wait for the finished article

Too many of us wait to be certain that we will succeed before we take action, we want to have all the answers to all the questions, believe me, I’ve been there, wanting to have that brilliant plan fully thought through before taking on a new challenge or taking that next step. But the truth is that there are very few instances where we can be certain that we will succeed, where we can even be certain that we know all the questions, let alone all the answers. So try it, step through your fears in pursuit of bigger and better adventures, take on that new challenge or opportunity that you have been mulling over for days / weeks / months and trust that you will work it out as you go!

3. Why wouldn’t you back you?

You have already accomplished so much in your life, take a trip down memory lane, mull on all that you have achieved. We have all had the successes and definitely the failures, no one is that perfect. But all those experiences, especially the failures, have helped us grow and learn. Ultimately they have made you who you are today. You are not an imposter. Trust that in yourself, you have survived a lot and you will survive whatever is coming.

When I jumped off that boat into the South African waters I know that deep down I trusted in my experience, as well as in the resources around me. I might not think I remember everything I’ve learned or been taught, but I trusted enough in me and those around me to know I could deal with any challenges the water might throw at me. If I’d stopped for a split second and thought about what I was going to do, what might have been under the water, or even waited for the sea to be a little calmer, I’d have missed the most incredible sight that I will ever witness.