Christianmy eldest son
during his residence at Canterbury University in
Christchurch New Zealand:
he discovered diving. Not mere snorkeling - to that he's no stranger.
Rather he discovered fully equipped, regulated, airtanked, wetsuited
SCUBA ie Self Contained Underwater
Breathing Apparatus diving. He loved it. Even though his
first four diving forays into this new
cold water with minimum visibility, it didn't detract from his
enjoyment and enthusiasm, nor from his indebtedness to SCUBA pioneer
His enjoyment and enthusiasm for SCUBA diving, however, kindled as they
is nothing compared to what opened up for him during our sojourn
together on the island of
in the Mamanucas chain in
tropical warm waters,
discovered SCUBA diving with maximum, crystal clear visibility. Diving
in warm clear water is as different from diving in cold water with
minimum visibility, as watching the
on a cloudless night way out in the countryside is from watching them
within a neon-lit big city. His six dives around
like his four dives in
before them, were logged. They count towards the sixty qualifying dives
required for his PADI ie Professional
Association of Diving Instructors' certification.
A whole new
of possibility has opened up for him.
of possibility open up, things tend to move fast. New possibilities for
being call you powerfully into being. New openings for
call you powerfully into
With one thing
fast to another,
is now living in the Florida keys working towards his PADI
certification under the auspices of a diving company who have offered
him a job as a diving instructor, contingent on him becoming certified.
On his remaining forty one qualifying dives (he's completed nine more
since arriving in the keys), he must be accompanied by a diving buddy -
it's not a good idea to dive alone.
This is the first real challenge he's encountered: finding diving
buddies with whom to complete his remaining forty one qualifying dives.
is this a challenge?
On each of his days off (he's working part-time in a restaurant until
he's certified), he could do eight qualifying dives, each of which must
be at least twenty minutes in duration, and thereby complete the
remaining forty one dives in two weeks or less. But he can't dive
without diving buddies. And on one notable occasion when he found a
trainee diving instructor to buddy-dive with that day, he cited other
interests and surfaced after only fifteen minutes - too short for a
qualifying dive for either himself or Christian. Trainee diving
instructor notwithstanding, it was looking like
the only one
to being certified, something he can't do by himself.
He called me one evening to vent his frustration that even though there
are plenty of other trainee diving instructors like him in the keys who
also need to log the necessary sixty qualifying dives to be certified,
those guys have set their clocks to "beach time", sit around, talk
story instead, and ignore
invitations to buddy-dive. They
about him being rushed, that he ought to relax a bit.
not rushed. What he is is
to accomplish what he came there for: to become PADI certified. I can
easily get his frustration. "You're here to be certified, so do what it
takes to be certified" is our message to the other trainees talking
story on the beach who could be buddy-diving and being certified
faster. The trouble is they're not
But I am. I'm
venting his frustration. And I continued
him venting his frustration until I noticed doing so was serving no
useful purpose any more. It wasn't forwarding the
I knew I wanted to take the
in an entirely new direction, a direction
didn't yet have.
"OK, what if" I asked him, "they're not ignoring you? What if they
simply don't get the opportunity? What if the opportunity you see,
doesn't occur for them? What if the opportunity is so
clear to you, that you're assuming they must also see it -
but they simply don't? What if you're assuming they see it and don't
respond to it, and you have a whole raft of
about them because of that (which frustrates you), when the truth may
be they just don't see it at all? Instead of being
frustrated with them for not accepting your invitation to buddy-dive,
how about taking the time to
them in your possibility of being certified? Talk about it
with them. I mean have a realconversation
with them about it. Don't assume they get the opportunity but are
avoiding it or ignoring it or are just being plain
about it. What if they don't see it and you do, so your
job is to share the good news with them and
them in your possibility? What if? Well?".
Here's one of the (many) things I love about
He could have argued the point with me. He could have justified himself
and his frustration. He could have made the other trainee diving
instructors wrong. He could have spoken badly about them for being
and lazy. But he didn't. All he said, after a moment of silence (he
- that's something (else) I love about
was "OK. I'll talk about it with them tomorrow" and that was the end of
evening I called him. I asked him how his day went. "We did six dives
in three hours" he said, almost casually, and then went on to tell me
what's going on with his restaurant job, the place in which he lives,
and his new bicycle.
As soon as I could, I interrupted him. "Wait just a moment" I said.
"Yesterday there was no possibility you could find diving
buddies. Yesterday there was no possibility the opportunity to do
qualifying dives and become certified fast, would be appreciated by the
other trainees. Suddenly you go from one non‑qualifying paltry
fifteen minute dive in a day, to six qualifying dives in three hours.
So between then and now, obviously something happened. What
This is what he told me:
He chilled first so he could talk about it calmly with the others.
Instead of simply inviting them to buddy-dive (a strategy which has
failed), he talked about how great it would be to be certified so they
could start work as diving instructors and make some realmoney
- and diving instructors do make realmoney.
He talked about how great it is to dive, and what a great thing it is
that by doing something great, they'll not only be enjoying themselves
but also forwarding their careers. He talked about how perfectly
positioned they are to do this in gorgeous surroundings (Idaho, for
example, doesn't exactly have the same kind of environment a trainee
diving instructor in the Florida keys has at their disposal in which to
He didn't make them wrong and - more importantly - he didn't make
himself right. What he did was simply share himself and his enjoyment
and his enthusiasm for diving and his possibility of being certified
faster. And the
thing he knew, he had diving buddies and had completed six qualifying
dives in three hours. Then he went on to tell me again what's going on
with his restaurant job, the place in which he lives, and his new
But I wasn't about to allow him to gloss over what he'd just shared.
just wait a moment" I said. "Stop. Hold it right there. I want you to
look at something. Nothing was going to happen - until you talked about
it. Nothing was going to change - until you talked about it. You were
stuck with doing one (sub-qualifying) dive a day or maybe less because
you didn't have anyone who would buddy-dive with you, and now you've
got buddies who'll do six dives a day with you and maybe more. What you
did is you
them in your possibility. I want to acknowledge you for that. It
takes guts to do that
Well done, My Son!".
He stopped talking (if you know him like I do, you know that's hard for
him) and after a moment or so, said "Thanks Dad!". He got my
acknowledgement. Equally important is he discovered
enrolling others in his
It's easy, I told him - as long as you're willing to talk about it. And
when you're willing to talk about it, that's all it takes
happen. He discovered the leverage of
ie he discovered the fulcrum of
And now both he and the other trainee diving instructors will all be
certified a lot faster ie the
is forwarded for everyone because of it.
What I like most about this whole episode is
has now gained a direct, personal experience of and proof of the power
and its benefits both for himself as well as for others. It's a power
he'll be able to deploy in his own life from now on any time he
chooses. That's its