The husband-and-wife vacationers had paid hundreds of dollars for their getaway to an exclusive Caribbean resort. Included in the package was a scuba diving lesson. Clear blue waters beckoned as they donned air tanks and swim fins then leaned backward into the water.

At 30 feet below the surface, incredible beauty was an immediate payoff for the money invested. The husband wrote a note to his wife on a waterproof chalkboard: “This is great!”

Suddenly, another person appeared in the water. Dressed in street clothes and wearing no diving equipment, this swimmer energetically swam up to the surface, then casually floated back down to the ocean floor. The vacationers watched in amazement as he repeated this cycle several times. Finally, they swam over to him and wrote on the chalkboard, “Why no gear?”

The man, his face turning purple, grabbed the chalkboard and wrote frantically, “Boat sank. I’m drowning!”

Every leader has felt that way at some time. You’re surrounded by beautiful opportunities but have that sinking feeling: too much to do, too little time, not enough resources, no help. Keeping your head above water demands that you maximize energy by making the most of your opportunities.

(from Stan Toler’s Leadership Letter, Feb. 2004.)

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