Along came Dean with his invitation to join him for a diving excursion at the resort at which he worked as a scuba dive instructor.  Free, convenient and easy … combined with the ability to check scuba diving off my LLL (that’s short for “Laura’s Life List”) … sold.

So escorted by Dean I met the other beginner divers, two honeymooning couples … nice. After a few minutes of “Where is her other half?” and “Why is her name the only one the instructor knows?” glances and two hours of surprisingly easy pool exercises, we all were bosom buddies confident to brave the open water.

Then boarded the boat with other divers and instructors and strapped on the tanks, regulator, vest, masks and weights … I could barely stand. Then we stepped into the choppy water … my body immediately went into panic mode with water lashing my face. Then we descended and I had to pause half way … my ears weren’t too happy. Then we explored a small shipwreck …  a lack of peripheral vision and crowd of nervous divers was not a comfortable combination. Then my mask fogged up …. ummm … I only knew how to get water out of the mask, not how to clear it. Then I scraped my knee on the coral and fought a wave of nausea.

How much longer? I’m so done with this.

What’s all the fuss about diving?  I don’t get it.

I would stop using my hands, Mr. Dive Instructor, if I would stop sinking.

C’mon, Laura, remember to at least look around.

Ooh pretty … I’m still not loving this but at least I can appreciate the view.

Finally we ascended. And as I was sitting and dripping on the boat on the return to shore, I realized a few analogies  useful for change communication.

In a controlled environment, like the pool, everything will be easy breezy. Once out in the open water, the elements aren’t so kind and the natural instinct is to panic. But a conscientious effort to regulate your reaction, look at things calmly, and pause until you and others get acclimated will make it a much better experience. The affected groups may still not like the change, but they will at least appreciate the effort to communicate the situation in expansive manner.

I found these comparisons to be especially true in my experience of closing Caribbean Star.

– Laura