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Planning is Planning, whether for a Scuba Dive or a Project

by Leadership Participant

Hi everyone!

As I think about what to reflect on this past week, I keep coming back to thoughts of scuba diving as I took my regulator in to get serviced this past weekend. Scuba divers are, most often, over-prepared in the planning and execution of a dive. 
Below is a little bit of the planning:
1. Exposure suit (wet-suit thickness or dry suit)
   – Depth of dive, temp at surface, temp at bottom, bottom composition (sand, mud, rock)
2. Regular air or nitrox
3. Length of dive
4. Number of tanks
   – Determined by air consumption by varying depths and water temp
5. Does my dive computer work, are the backup gauges functional, are backups to the backups functional
6. Then comes the prep of testing all the equipment before each dive
This over-preparation makes me think about work…how all of us prepare or do not prepare? How we size up a situation we approach? How do we react in situations of panic/stress based on our preparation? I think I have more questions than answers.
I compare diving to work because I continue to ask questions and assume scenarios, so that I am prepared to react calmly.  
Here is a short story on my preparation with a resulting reaction while scuba diving:

Before each dive I always play through a scenario in my head, what if I suddenly run out of air? Can I calm my panic?  That scenario actually happened when I was at 100 feet on a dive. An O-ring broke on my 1st stage (the main connection seal on the tank) and I was my own geyser shooting out bubbles of air.  As I sat there helplessly, watching my computer go from 2500 psi to 1000 psi to 500 psi within minutes, I relied on my dive buddy to attempt stopping the leak – to no avail. As the computer beeped at me frantically: Low Air! Ascend! Ascend (really, tell me something I didn’t know), every breath became harder and harder to draw air as my buddy and I slowly made our emergency ascent. The whole time calming myself to take slow deep breaths, trying not to hold any of those breaths, not exceeding a foot per second while ascending, watching for boats overhead, and making sure we didn’t drift too far from where we descended. Fortunately, while switching over to my buddy’s alternate regulator after my tank was empty, we eventually surfaced.

Everything we do helps us prepare, whether that is education and/or experiences. From education and/or experiences we sometimes react based purely on instinct from what we have learned. Other times we react from more of a thought-based approach from what we have learned.
The ELP program helps us learn and experience leadership qualities to assist us in instinctual and thought-based approaches to situations that require leadership.  It is all worth it, in the end. 🙂
Hopefully you enjoyed reading!