As some of you know, time is a topic I like to talk about. The clock is always ticking. But I also believe it’s never too late to start something new. Let me throw in a quote: The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time in now!
For my 50th birthday I made a list of 50 things I wanted to try... from ping pong to riding a motorcycle. I really wanted to open up my horizons and learn a new trick or two. So, with the help of my coaches and mentors, I tackled each item on my list. I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to do something like this, and I am truly grateful. It was a lot of fun!
One thing on the list was free-diving. As someone who's finished several ultra-races, I figured this would be easy! I was wrong.
My free-diving coach wanted to gauge where I was so she asked me to do a breath-hold test. I was confident, thinking that I could hold my breath FOREVER!
I took a huge inhale and went under. I managed 29 seconds underwater. What? This has to be some kind of mistake.
“Run it back,” I said. But again, 29 seconds. I couldn't make sense of it... and then she showed me the technique. In two sessions I was able to increase my breath-hold time from 29 seconds to a staggering 3 minutes. I 6x’d my performance by learning the right technique.
It was a revelation to me that many things in life like business, running a marathon, public speaking, and even free-diving are a lot like a Rubik’s Cube. At first, they may seem confusing, intimidating, and impossible. But once you know how to solve the puzzle—once you know the right technique—it becomes easier.
At the end of the day, there’s a technique to anything you're trying to do—find the right people to coach you, and learn it.
(The technique I learned is called a "breathe-up" which is a preparatory period before a breath-hold test or dive. The purpose is to maximize the oxygen saturation in the bloodstream and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, a waste gas produced during respiration, in the lungs. This helps extend the duration of the breath-hold and delay the onset of the diving reflex, which triggers the urge to breathe. The technique for a breathe-up varies and can involve slow deep breaths, hyperventilation, or a combination, but the goal is to increase overall oxygenation and reduce carbon dioxide levels in the body).