As an entrepreneur building my online business while traveling the world full-time, I constantly have to find creative ways to stay focused and productive on the road. Whereas once upon a time I used to learn my working habits from the office, nowadays my most valuable business lessons come from my travel experiences, speaking with other entrepreneurs I meet along the way and trying things out on my own.
Take scuba diving: I recently got open water certified in Gili Trawangan, Bali, and in addition to falling in love with the underwater world, I picked up some habits that are quite practical in helping me improve the focus, efficiency, and productivity of my brand identity coaching business.
The following are three diving habits that have recently inspired my work:
Stay Present And Pay Absolute Attention
One of the first and most important rules of diving is to constantly breathe in and out, consistently and without exception. Similar to meditation, diving is very much about staying present in the moment, breathing regularly, and observing the environment unfolding around you. The act of breathing steadily is not only necessary to enjoy the sport, but also to ensure safety.
Diving creates a contained environment in which I am pushed to pay attention and stay focused on the task at hand. I carry this with me in my working style and my commitment to excel in my projects. I break the projects down into a series of tasks, I prioritize them, and then I focus on one task at a time.
I stay completely present – often working in 40-minute, hyper-focused increments (similar to the Pomodoro technique) – and do not allow myself to be distracted by my phone or other technologies. I don’t move onto my next task until the previous is complete, and most importantly, I take breaks in between to breathe and recollect myself.
When Complications Arise, Keep Collected
While diving is an extreme sport, following protocol and staying calm and collected can prevent the majority of complications.
Minor issues will pop up all the time: for example, there may be discomfort with your equipment (such as a leaky mask), someone could accidentally bump into you and knock out your regulator, or the currents may be strong… the list goes on. How the diver reacts to these issues ultimately determines the quality and experience of the dive.
Diving reminded me that it’s not the problem that I’m encountering that defines me; it’s how I choose to deal with it. Part of succeeding in both business and life is cultivating the ability to remain cool, composed, and concentrated when presented with challenges.
Don’t think about all the bad things that could happen because of the problem, but rather how you can solve it in a manner that is efficient, sustainable, and sets you up for long-term success. This approach will allow you to think rationally, stay solutions-oriented and prevent more problems along the way.
Trust In Yourself And In Others
I’ve always felt tremendous reverence for the ocean. I don’t like swimming alone and I’m apprehensive of the open sea. I made a completely last minute decision to try scuba diving for one reason only – I inherently trusted the people responsible for me.
In scuba diving, it’s not recommended to ever be on your own: you’re instructed to always go with a buddy, so that you can help one other out should issues arise.
My experience diving helped me understand that to thrive in your work and scale your success, it’s absolutely essential to trust in yourself as well as in the people who are part of the journey. How well I do my job is frequently contingent on other people doing their job well, and it also requires me to put my faith in those I outsource work to.
When you have trust – not only in others, but also in yourself – you can go above and beyond in achieving what you believed you were capable of.
Originally published on Forbes.