Mission Control

Every serious quest needs a base. You know, a big map on a table in the middle of the room where men with heavy brows inexplicably move chess pieces around to plan their next move. Last week, we built the mission control centre for our biggest quest yet: our big dream.

If you haven’t heard, we are working toward opening our own dive centre and guest house somewhere in southeast Asia. We aren’t sure where yet and we are far from knowing how.  All we know is that it is what we want more than anything, and we’re working hard on making it happen.

This weekend, we sat down and broke the mission into the biggest challenges we’ll have to conquer. For anyone else out there working on a big goal (or even a small one!), this is a really good practice for two reasons:

  • As you go through the list – scary as it might be – you start to see how one goal leads into another. Put more plainly, it makes your next steps very clear!
  • It shows you where your fears lie. And lie they do! As you begin to lay out your challenges, you’ll hear yourself think of a million reasons why you won’t be able to do this, that or the other. Pay close attention because that’s a key moment! This is your fear talking – and we know that, while fear is often the loudest voice in the room, it is not the most clever. Good news though, it’s very easy to calm your dear friend Fear with a simple statement and a question: I know you’re freaking out, but we’re still going to do this anyway. What will make you feel more comfortable with that?  You’ll often find that your fear gave you the solution when it spoke.
    • An example from us: we haven’t worked in the dive industry before so we feel we’re going in a little blindly. FEAR FREAK OUT! But when we asked the fear what would help, the answer was clear – get a little industry experience. It’s as easy as that!
    • a quick word of advice: some things cannot be fixed this way, most notably fear’s worst enemy – risk. All the things that matter most will involve some risk. That’s what makes them worth it. As much as your fear wants the risk to be zero, it is just not possible to make that happen. The only way forward is to tell your fear that you understand it’s scary and you wish it would be otherwise, but that the reward of trying far outweighs the risks, so you’ll have to take the leap together, holding hands if necessary. Your fear won’t be happy, but at least it will feel acknowledged and you can move forward as friends.

So, without further ado, here is what arose from our meeting over the big map. Perhaps seeing how we broke our dream down will help you deconstruct your own goals so they feel more achievable!

  • get Chris to Instructor level – this one is nearly in the bag! In order for us to run a centre with training facilities, one of us will have to be an Instructor. I only started diving this year, so with his nearly 400 dives, Chris is the obvious choice. He’s studying for the course now and will take his exam in June when we go to Bali. Woot!!
  • get some experience in the industry – (aka help our fear out a little!) while I know the hotel side really well and Chris knows the diving side, we have a gap in the dive business knowledge and experience. While business is business the world-wide, every industry has it’s own quirks and needs that we’d be smart to be aware of. Two good bits of news here:
    • This is very tentative and early, but there is a chance I could do some work with a dive centre here. Even a few months there would teach me a lot about doing things right with our own place. Fingers crossed!
    • After his Instructor course, Chris can possibly stay on and do some intern work with the dive centre in Bali. That would help him gather some great information about doing it full-time.
  • find the funding – tricky. scary. intimidating. This is our biggest obstacle and yet the one that feels so silly to be set back by. We are, after all, tiny dots on a small blue dot that is one of countless dots in an ever-expanding universe. That makes those scraps of paper that we move around to get things done seem pretty irrelevant. And yet…they make things happen. So we’re stuck with trying to figure out how to gather enough bits of paper to invest in our dream! There are a few options here:
        • save up – it would take bloody ages, especially as I can’t find a job here! We don’t really want to wait five years for this to happen. I really don’t, that’s for sure! I’m 33, after all, and there are other ideas that are starting to creep into the realm of possibility. I won’t give details, lest my mother is reading this, but I would like to be settled in somewhere in the next couple of years. I’m also very ready to be more in charge of my destiny. It’s been really hard to have so many limitations on what I have been able to do for the last few years. I am a go-getter but there is not a lot to go get here. I want to be working for myself because I will always have something to do!
        • ask for donations – people are surprisingly generous and I’ve already had a couple of friends mention that they want to contribute. That is so incredibly kind and heartwarming. We’d graciously accept any donations people are willing and able to offer. It really means a lot to us. It probably won’t fund the whole thing, but every little counts, eh?
        • borrow money – a few catches with this one as neither of us have an income in our home country. It’s unlikely they’ll lend to us without that. That leaves borrowing from a bank in a foreign country (possible once we have a business plan) or from people we know who have the reserves. My list of millionaires is fairly limited, but perhaps we can cobble together a few different contracts and bridge the gap with other means.
  • go on a research trip – We will have the very unfortunate fate of travelling around to several potential locations to see what might be possible for us. Damn. Life is hard.
  • decide what to buy – we have a few options here:
    • buy a place outright that is already set up – a pretty good option since it comes already tried and tested and the set up is done for us. Some places even add to the contract that the current owners will stay for a set time to help you with the transition. Could be a good option.
    • work as a franchise or branch of another business – another good possibility. A little less freedom to do what we want as we’ll have partners, but partners also means help, and we could probably use some help with this one!!
    • buy a small plot of land and build it all– the hardest option of all and one that I am not totally keen on. I love the idea of making it exactly what I want it to be from the ground up, but man, that is a lot of work. I don’t know if we have the time and energy for it. We’ll see. Maybe it’ll be different on the ground, but for now it looks like the other options are stronger.
  • set sail! – no matter which option we choose, there will be a first day for all of them. A day where we start running the ship on our own. That is a scary and exciting day – possibly more scary than exciting, but all the best things are, right? Right….?

So that’s our current breakdown – subject to change as we figure out what we’re doing! To be totally honest with you, I’d love to think we always look like the Rob Stark at the top of this post, focused and clear and ready to take on the world, but in reality we spend quite a bit of time looking more like this.


Oh well. Gotta start somewhere, right?

What about you? What are your goals? What are you working toward? Any fears that are holding you back? I’d love to hear about what you’re up to!

Until next time, my friends!


PS. If you’re interested in donating to the cause, any amount you can spare would be much appreciated! I’ll be sure to let you know what your money bought. For example, $5 could buy us a meal on our research trip. $10 would buy us some snorkeling gear  (that you might use when you come visit!). $20 would help with visa costs.  A little goes a LONG way in Asia!


2 thoughts on “Mission Control

  1. Sabiscuit says:

    This is a great appeal, Noelle. You are handling it like a boss. I am sure that you will pick up the necessary assistance and support in weeks to come. Best of luck with the project.


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