What is the most challenging thing you have ever chosen to do?
Many of us go through life very comfortably- we go to work, we spend time with our family and friends, we enjoy our hobbies- and that fills our time. Is that enough?
One of my goals for the year was to find new ways to challenge myself. I have a long list of things I’d love to try, and most of them terrify me. I’ve spent the past two weeks on Boracay Island in the Philippines in search of adventure, incredible experiences, and personal growth. For me, the most personal growth comes when I try something new… and difficult! There is no better feeling than succeeding at something I’ve feared I’m not capable of doing.
While I was walking down White Beach, I saw the sign for Freediving Boracay. This was on my list! Freediving: Diving to a great depth on one breath of air. I walked in and signed myself up for the next class. And then the nerves took over. I’m an incredibly weak swimmer. I can hold my breath for about 10 seconds before I start feeling uncomfortable. I’m not really sure why I thought I was capable of something like this. What was I getting myself into?!
The course included about 8 hours of instruction – half in the classroom and half practicing in the water. It’s not a difficult course and anyone is capable of doing it. The difficult bit is telling your brain you don’t need to breathe and pushing yourself past what you think your limit is. Breathing is a natural instinct. Your body wants to breathe. You’re 30 feet under water and it’s going to take you some time to get back to the surface and you have to tell yourself to keep going down.
But… I did it. I listened to my instructor. I practiced the techniques. I pulled myself down that reference line and when my brain started screaming at me that I was running out of air, I kept going. And on my best dive of the day I reached a depth of 62 feet (19 meters) on one breath. And I made it back to the surface alive and really freaking excited!
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I felt like I’d accomplished something great. I’d pushed myself way further than I ever expected to. I look forward to pushing myself even further, because I know I can.
When’s the last time you did something that scared you? Challenged yourself? I hope you take the plunge- pun intended- and rise to that challenge. I would love to hear about your experience!