The darkness silenced my mind.
With zero room for error, the price of which meant death, I achieved a Zen-like state of stillness.
A rare glimpse of what it means to be fully immersed in the Now.
The only sounds I heard came from inhaling air through the regulator and the bubbles being released from it.
I swam farther and farther into the silence. Into the jagged rocks enveloping me. Into the magnificent, lifeless, alien world buried within the earth by water.
I wanted to stay down there. I felt too much at peace within the cave to let go. But with each breath depleting the air in my tank, I had to ascend back into the light.
Rising above the surface after what felt like only a few minutes, I could not wait for the second dive.
But now a new challenge presented itself. After making sure to stay hydrated all day, I really had to pee.
From what I understand, for most scuba divers, peeing in a wetsuit is no big deal. And although I had been diving for a few years, I still had not been pushed far enough to take this leap.
The idea of peeing in the very same piece of clothing that surrounded my entire body seemed disgusting to me.
I paused to consider my options:
I would have to drag two monstrous scuba tanks out of the water, up the stairs, back to the table, take of my wetsuit and go to the restroom before coming back into the water for my second foray into bliss.
Or I could say screw it and just pee all over myself.
Within minutes, I found myself descending back into the darkness, wearing a wetsuit drenched in my own urine.
Cave diving is often considered the most dangerous sport in the world, along with BASE jumping. As such, the focus it requires is immense. It had been on my path to immortality list for that very reason. And after my first time cave diving, I was hooked. Between the beauty of the caves, the serenity I experienced and being forced to pee on myself, those 8 days in Mexico transformed my life and my business.
That last part may sound somewhat revolting to you, but the entire experience taught me some valuable lessons. I hope these lessons serve you in the same way the have served me:
Business is a spiritual experience
When I first started my business, I looked at every aspect of it as a chore. My daily actions were things I “had to” get done, not wanted to or chose to get done. I didn’t approach it the same way I did my passion for exploring the edge of my limits in the outdoors.
Cave diving taught me that anything can be a spiritual experience. As long as I choose it to be.
I decided to bring the same level of spirituality and challenge I brought to other areas of my life to my business. And guess what? Things really started to change.
Yes, I took new actions to grow my business, but the key takeaway for me here was not about the doing, but the being.
I just changed the way I approached my business. I began to see it as a spiritual game of creation and transformation.
Isn’t that what any business is? A process of creating something new that brings value to our fellow human beings. And what could be more spiritual than that?
So I started to look at my business as a tool to grow spiritually and connect with my human family. This simple choice transformed the way I went about my daily actions. Even when the actions were the same one’s I took before I learned this lesson, I now enjoyed them. I now found mental stillness in everything.
Whether it be making a cold call, going to a networking event, or writing an article, I now see that all those activities are spiritual processes of creation.
Since bringing spirituality to my business, I have more than doubled my monthly income.
Most of our problems live only in our minds
The idea of peeing on myself was only disgusting because I made it so in my mind.
After crossing the line once, there was no turning back. The next day when I faced the very same decision whether or not to pee on myself, I didn’t even think twice about it. In my mind, I just changed the story I had about the experience.
Every week, I get an email from someone in this community who is stuck in some area of their life because of fear, self-doubt or lack of confidence.
Just last week, one woman wrote to me saying “I am not intelligent, I am average, in me there is no talent…”
These are all just stories that live in our minds. And we can change our stories. That is one of our greatest strengths as human beings.
No matter what happens. No matter how tough things may seem in the moment, the only thing stopping us from finding value in any experience is our story about the experience.
As psychiatrist, holocaust survivor and bestselling author Victor Frankl said the last of human freedoms is “the ability to chose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.”
Focus on what is most important
As human beings, we focus on the negative. We tend to focus on the obstacles, not the solutions.It’s psychologically ingrained in us. But success requires battling against our evolutionary flaws. Which is why only 1% of people hold 46% of the world’s wealth.
Floating in a lake in Mexico, I realized that what was most important to me was the spiritual and mental growth that accompanied the cave diving experience. There was no way I could go into the cave while I still needed to pee. I needed my mind to be clear so I could focus on what I had to do to come back out alive.
By focusing on what was most important to me, the decision I needed to make was an easy one.
When I got home from the trip, I began focusing on the results I wanted in my business, not all the things that came in the way of that result. By shifting my focus, I was able to work backward from the future I wanted to create instead of working forward toward that future. Working backward made that future seem like an inevitability. So when a potential client said no or a media pitch was rejected, I simply maintained my focus on the long term result I knew I would get to. No matter what!
As a result, I have since been featured on Entrepreneur.com and Psychology Today. I say this not to brag, but to illustrate that results do happen if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on your destination, not the storms that will block you from getting there.
The experience just further reinforced that every challenge, whether it be having to pee on yourself or figuring out how to make 1 more sale, is nothing more than an opportunity.
Sometimes, in the words of Sir Richard Branson, you just gotta say “screw it, let’s do it!”
All those things I was scared to do before Mexico, when I got back I began doing them despite the fear.
More often than not, we all know what we need to do, but fear holds us back from actually doing it.
After peeing on myself, I stopped thinking about what to do and just did it. As a result, within a week from coming back from Mexico, I got 2 new clients.
Check out this page for a wealth of resources on how to master your fears and take the actions you need to take to transform your life.
Have fun, otherwise what is the point?
As sickening as it initially seemed to pee in my wetsuit, after I did it, it became just another funny story.
Everything has since become just another funny story. Which means that life is a whole lot more fun.
You too can start having more fun in any area of your life simply by choosing to do so.
Psychologists have repeatedly demonstrated that the simple act of smiling can change your inner state of wellbeing and reduce stress. Emotions affect your body language the same way your body language affects your emotions.
When you choose how you direct your physiology and your psychology, you consciously control your emotions, as opposed to letting your subconscious brain control them for you.
As Tony Robbins says “Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life.” And of course, have a lot more fun!
And speaking of having fun, I just arrived in the Adirondacks for 10 days of ice diving (That’s scuba diving beneath the ice in a frozen lake 🙂 ), downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and mountaineering.
I am intentionally disappearing “off the grid” for the next week to be fully present to the challenges that lie ahead of me.
Until I return, I would love to hear in the comments below what is one thing you want to create in your life this year and what have you learned about yourself when you overcame a challenge in the past.
I will see you after I return from beneath the ice and beyond the summits!
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