You never know when you're going to be tested. And I certainly didn't think I'd be on our recent honeymoon to Belize.
During part of our trip we were on Ambergris Caye, a small island near the barrier reef. In Belize, the law says that you must have a guide in the water with you to snorkel the reef. Sounded ok to me. We took a boat out about ½ mile to snorkel and found the reef to be teeming with life. There were more fish, rays and turtles than I've ever seen.
During the trip, our guide made an extra stop at a spot where fishermen were cleaning their catch. He'd gotten word there was a big, loggerhead turtle for us to see. And sure enough there was a huge turtle there.
As we swam around, our guide got closer to it. Then I noticed the normally gentle turtle getting aggressive, swimming towards the guide. And before I knew it the turtle and guide were in a full underwater fight! It didn't last long but our guide was the loser, getting his hand bitten. He was bleeding bad and needed stitches.
As the turtle swam in a loop clearly coming back for more, I got in the boat as fast as I could. I'd never seen a turtle attack and I wasn't going to be his next victim.
Our guide bandaged himself up and wanting to ensure we finished our tour, took us to another spot known for sharks. As he threw chum in the water and the sharks came to the surface for a snack, I realized that swimming with the sharks is on my bucket list.
That's when the fear crept in. These sharks were supposed to be gentle but their big jaws told a different story. When there were 8 of them (9 feet each) surrounding the boat, the guide said, 'They won't attack, let's get in'.
Part of me wanted to get in. But we'd recently seen him get attacked by a turtle that 'wouldn't attack', he was bleeding and there was no way I was going to test my luck in the water with supposedly gentle sharks. You might call me a chicken but I wasn't going to find out if I tasted like it! And nobody else in our boat took him up on the offer either.
As we took the boat back to shore, I couldn't help but be a little upset with myself. I'd had a chance to scratch something off my bucket list and instead chose to do some 'on the fly' list revision. And this drove me crazy for a day. How could I let something like that go? When would I get the chance again? And was I being smart or just being a chicken?
2 days passed. It was our last day on the island and I just couldn't leave things as they were. So I paid a different guide another $120 to take me and my new husband Matt back out to the shark zone. Again he chummed them. Again they came. And Again I was terrified. So I did what any good wife would do and sent my new husband in the water first to see what happened. (yeah, I'm a caring like that).
And sure enough they didn't pay any attention to him. Still terrified I sat on the edge of the boat and contlemplated my fate. Then I knew it was now or never. So I jumped in and they didn't eat me, either.
Bucket list item accomplished. It was an amazing experience.
I learned something. Sometimes, the things we want most can be the things we're the most scared of. What are you talking yourself out of? The benefits of doing it or at least giving it a shot will last a lifetime. Fear is only momentary.
I'm a body language and persuasion expert by trade and talk to business people all over the world about getting others to happily do what you want them to. Remember, sometimes the only person you need to persuade to get what you want is yourself.