Fulfillment Seekers Interview Series
As I life coach I mostly support people to find their purpose and fulfillment. These people are often stuck in their career, they feel they would like to do something more meaningful, something they would actually enjoy but they have a lot of limiting beliefs that are keeping them back from pursuing their dreams: I am not good enough. I’m too old to do this. I can never earn enough money by doing something I enjoy. I have too many commitments and making a radical change is too risky.
With this interview series, I would like to introduce inspiring stories of people who believed there is more in life than exchanging their time for salary. Despite their circumstances, these people decided to face their fears and make a radical change in their career.
I met Anne Dellerue on the beautiful, small, sleepy Thai island of Koh Mak, where she currently lives and works as a manager and diving instructor. Anne spends most of her days on a boat with other divers and diving students. She knows the best diving spots in the area and if you dare to go diving with her, it is almost guaranteed that she will introduce you to the giant sea turtles.
When she is not instructing divers or exploring the underwater world, you can find her in her tiny office on the beach surrounded by coconut palms and lizards.
Anne’s contagious smile and positivity makes it really obvious to see that she is in the exact place where she wants to be, doing what she loves and is passionate about. I’m really grateful to Anne for her willingness to share her inspiring story.
You are currently working as a diving instructor on the beautiful island of Koh Mak in Thailand – can you tell me a little bit about who you are and what does it mean to be a diving instructor?
I am french, and I decided four years ago to change my job after 20 years in the same industry and travel around the world. Now I am a manager/instructor for BB Divers Koh Mak. Every day, I meet new people and try to share my passion for the oceans and marine life with them. I teach diving, discover the underwater life of the region and the fragility of the underwater world. But I also organize the days and the team, making sure that the tourists can practice these activities in total safety and have a beautiful trip with us. They come with a smile, and I want that they leave with as memorable an experience as possible.
Your previous career path was very different from what you are doing right now – what is your story?
Since I was 13 years old, I knew that I wanted to work in the video industry. After my studies, I started and stayed in the tv and cinema industry for 20 years. As sport was always a part of my life, I decided to find a combined job/passion activity. After 30 years in Paris, I felt that I needed something else.
My passion for diving, travelling, interacting with people and teaching made me think about becoming a diving instructor.
When did you start to play around with the idea to become a diving instructor?
I have been a diver for 25 years and I think to become a diving instructor is a dream for a lot of people. My previous job was great, but after many years in the same industry, it was a bit boring for me. Then you start to think about something new, different and where I can use my gained skills.
What was the moment when you told yourself: “‘I’m going to do this as a job!”?
Four years ago, I decided to stay at home for a few days, without a phone or distractions and think about my future. I had also asked one of my friends (the course director) if he thought I was able to become a diving instructor, given my level but also my age after I questioned my entourage to find out what they thought of my project.
Perhaps there were some challenges you faced leaving your “old” career and going for something people usually consider “a hobby” – how did you manage to make your transition? Did you face any fears/limiting beliefs/judgements from other people? If yes, how did you manage to handle them?
Of course! There were a lot of difficulties. But I was fortunate too. All my family and friends were with me, encouraged me and helped me (the list is too long to name all).
I was also supported by a great coach (Mrs Catherine Pelege). She gave me the keys and frame to build my project step by step. First, I wanted to do everything at the same time and I was too stressed. She taught me to refocus my ideas and think about how to get there. She helped me understand how to use what I did in my previous job and bring it forward to introduce myself to new recruiters. She helped me with every step throughout this professional change. She was terrific and we are still in contact after four years.
My course director (Alex Diamond, from Diamond Diving Dive center) was also fantastic with me. He trained me as much in the practice as well as all the theory that one must learn to become an instructor. After a lot of years out of school, it’s hard to stay focused on studying and books for hours.
I made a plan for my training too. I worked from Monday to Tuesday, precisely as if I went to work every day. And I alternated the theory and sports training. And have time off at the weekend to practice other activities? I relaxed with my friends and family.
What does being a diving instructor in Koh Mak mean to you personally? What do you like about this work?
Koh Mak is a small island and you must appreciate staying in a small area. But we are lucky because there are a lot of different places and activities to do here. The diving centre is open every day and we are like a small family. The dives are excellent here. I appreciate seeing the healthy corals and so many fish.
I enjoy sharing my passion with certified divers but also to teach and see the smiles of the new divers when we come back from a trip. We have the opportunity to work on two others islands where B.B. Divers are also to be found. It’s good to change location sometimes and to see how it works in other diving centres.
If you could give a piece of advice to someone who is thinking of pursuing their dream lifestyle/career, what would you tell them?
First, don’t think it’s easy to change and don’t leave without a solid project. If you say “I’ll just go there and see what I can do once I’m there”, that’s a mistake.
If your purpose is to find an easier life, you need to think about each part of the situation. Think about what you can win but also what you leave behind. You will also miss some moments when you are far from your friends.
What are your future dreams and aspirations?
To develop diving for disabled people. There are a lot of things to do, to teach but also to learn about it. And it’s an excellent skill to apply with each guest.
Anne, thank you so much for sharing your story and for all the unforgettable snorkeling adventures!
If you liked Anne’s story, feel free to check out the previous Fulfillment Seekers Interview: Yura Gulyayev: From Account Manager to Independent Tattoo Artist