It’s the first day of the year and I’m sitting in front of my computer summarizing 2016. There have been some incredible experiences and I don’t know if they will all be possible again.
I‘ve always been surrounded by people telling me “You’re a super lucky guy! You have an amazing job!” It’s true: I teach diving in the summer time and skiing in the winter period, but I didn’t have the feeling that this was making me happy anymore. I’ve been in the diving business since 1993 when I started to work as a SCUBA Instructor in the Dominican Republic. I maintain a vivid memory of the excitement I felt when I received my ticket for the flight to Santo Domingo. When I arrived on that beautiful island I was introduced to a new and amazing job. It wasn’t easy at the beginning because I left a good position in Italy and chose to change my life completely. It was the right decision though: I meet some great staff, I fell in love with my manager and I lived two of the most beautiful years of my life. Every day I stepped out of bed thinking about how lucky I was and I couldn’t imagine any other way to be happier than that...
After two years of passion, experience and love everything was becoming common and less exciting than before... I simply started to feel “comfortable” in my job and I was becoming the most experienced member of staff. For the first time I discovered that “being comfortable” was exactly my problem. Although there area lot of people who aim to create such an environment, and when they obtain it they finally feel good, for me it was completely the opposite. I discovered that getting out of my comfort zone was what I needed. I spent every day doing something I was already able to do, without learning something new, and I felt like I was throwing away a part of my life. I was young at the time and I decided to change my location, choosing the Red Sea. The impact was incredible: the colors, the place, the culture and the completely different way of working drove me into a period of growth which completely satisfied my hunger for knowledge. Strong currents, plumbing walls with no bottom and drift dives forced me to change my diving abilities, becoming more experienced and better in the water.
As can happen with everything, after a while you become more and more familiar with things, and I started to become too comfortable again. The company I was working with asked me if I felt ready to become a manager, but due to my inexperience I was directed to Kenya to manage two centers that had to be closed after having paid all debts and after settling different problems with the local government (and, as I discovered later, this was quite risky...). It was a new challenge which I completed successfully, understanding from inside how to manage a commercial activity and the employees.
I was then moved to Egypt where I quickly became the Area Manager with 4 diving centers, 37 Instructors, 100 Egyptian staff, 9 boats, 5 secretaries and 4 diving center managers. I was again struggling, fighting, crying, but learning. I do not learn fast, but I put my whole self in to a project and I try to do as best I can. This is because I’m egoistic, I want to know more and I’m curious about everything. I ask a lot from myself and try to be a better professional everyday.
Later I started to work for PADI as an Instructor Examiner where I managed the Italian and Spanish markets with many excursions tothe Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia. It was very nice to work for such a big company and to view the diving business from another prospective. I reached the highest position in the training sector; I was very happy and proud of myself! I continued for long time and at the end I became bored again in my “comfort zone”. I wasn’t diving for fun anymore; diving became a job, which had nothing to do with my hobbies. I wanted to change, but it was difficult to find a similar job in such a specialized market, especially considering that PADI was the market leader, so I felt in the same jail in which I’ve seen many of my friends. They were all doing boring jobs that had become a pure obligation to earn money and keep living. This was exactly what I had refused to do 20 years earlier, leaving my position to follow a dream.
Sometimes life gives you gifts at the most unexpected moment and I had a unique occasion: working as country manager for another leading training organization. It was a really lucky situation and I started with the enthusiasm of a young boy: it became a really successful adventure. In two years I helped to launch a completely new project in the dive training market, I learned how to use multinational company sales/budget programs, how to view the business from a different perspective, I created my diving business blog, I met new people from whom I tried to learn as much as I could and I felt I was learning and growing once again.
One day, sitting in front of the sea, watching a stunning sunset, I started to think about my life. I had managed to work in the diving business at the highest levels and to make skiing become my second income. Still, there was something that was telling me that I wasn’t completely happy. I was sitting in front of a computer for most of my day, studying marketing and sales strategies, but this was no longer the purpose I had had at the beginning of my diving career.
I remembered my happiest moments in the past, and I discovered that they were all when I was diving daily and training other people. That was what I had always loved to do, being in contact with nature and people! The decision was made: I had to return to the sea. So I did, and I started by taking a 6-month trip to Croatia to get used to the sea again. I did approx. 300 dives; I went diving every day, even in the shallow bay at 5m for hours with my tech equipment, learning new skills to even the minutest detail. Here you can have a look at one of the best deep wrecks I dove in Rab Island.
I bought a CCR and started to dive as a novice. Nothing was the same anymore underwater and I was excited to understand that a completely new world was opening its doors to me. For me, diving with a rebreather has been the most powerful hit of adrenaline I’ve had for a long time, and it brought back the same interest in diving as I had after 10 dives.
If you want to know more about my rEvo course check out this.
I’m just looking forward to doing the next dive, to finding new buddies and to reading new information from specialized blogs.
Starting once again, once again out of my “comfort zone”, learning again, feeling ignorant, weak, unprepared again… happy again. If there is something that I would change in my “changing attitude” it is the regret that I could have changed more. That I could have been quicker in leaving the known for the unknown, growing more and living my life more intensely.
Changing always means growth, and if you meet me with my rEvo on my shoulders somewhere, you’ll see me looking to try something new, ready to feed my uncontrollable curiosity.
By the way: check out this link.
Seems I'm not the only one thinking about things this way...