As a diving professional, I bet you would agree that as a community, we adhere to a set of beliefs and aims that guide our actions, and we hold ourselves and each other accountable to them.
Many years ago, I worked with other folks at PADI to create a code of conduct for PADI Professionals. As part of that work, we wanted to create something to describe, define and guide the powerful nature of teaching diving as a transformational human experience.
The first section of the PADI Instructor Manual is the Commitment to Excellence, and its first topic is the PADI Professional’s Creed. It’s first and prominent because, while short – only 11 lines – it lays the foundation for adherence to a set of beliefs and aims that guide our actions and ultimately to PADI’s mission:
PADI Professional’s Creed
As a PADI Professional, I have the opportunity to see:
• Fear changed to courage
• Faintheartedness converted into accomplishment
• Timidity transformed into confidence
• Anticipation turned into a passion
As a PADI Professional, I can:
• Open hearts and minds to the hidden beauty of nature’s creation and our obligation to protect it
• Foster self-esteem in another person
• Teach the value of character and integrity
• Transform another human being and change a life for the better and forever
The PADI Professional’s Creed not only lays out our set of beliefs and aims to guide our actions, but it also describes the power and responsibility of our work. It embodies what we should do as PADI Professionals and the changes we should see in others as a result. But, when we reflect on what these words tell us, they go much deeper than it might seem with a casual read.
The PADI Professional’s Creed reminds us that every PADI Pro has the power, authorization, opportunity, and capacity to be someone’s hero – no exaggeration. With our guidance, people change their lives – often more profoundly than we realize in the moment. When timid student divers flood and clear their masks (or overcome some other fear), many didn’t even believe they could do it. But they believed and trusted in you; and because you said they can, they did. You see small steps toward skill mastery, but for many, these are unforgettable, life-changing strides toward empowerment over fear and rising to challenges.
When a new diver chooses a refillable beverage container because you talked about marine debris, you see one less single-use plastic bottle, but over their lifetime, your influence may have eliminated thousands. When youngsters’ eyes ignite with their first underwater breath, you see thrill and excitement, but often you’re launching lifetime careers for dive professionals and marine scientists. All of these people will be Ocean Torchbearers – some more passionate than others, and all mindful of the ocean. All will experience diving’s healing power. And all will remember you as their mentor, guide, teacher, influencer, and, yes, in several ways, their hero.
Caring for others by enabling life-changing events is the most profound, far-reaching, and world-changing pay-it-forward action anyone can take, and we get to do it daily. Yet, because it is often as deceptively simple as an encouraging word, a reassuring smile, or a gentle “you’ve got this,” it easily gets lost in our day-to-day struggles and stresses. Every interaction we have with divers, would-be divers, and fellow pros is either a life-changing opportunity seized or one trickling through our fingers wasted. So, we need to regard these little moments as seriously as the big ones. The extra time spent with struggling learners, the adaptive techniques applied to enable skill achievement, the wisdom shared with up-and-coming professionals, and our effort welcoming everyone into diving are not simply parts of our jobs – they are central to how we make a meaningful, positive and noticeable difference in the world.
That’s worth reminding ourselves of every day.
President & CEO
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President’s Desk, CEO, Drew Richardson, PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE, straight talkPADI Pros