Who would have thought that swimming with a Whale Shark, surfing and catching a fish would lead to increased confidence? Well, I am here to tell you they certainly do! I traveled over 30 hours to go somewhere most of the way across the world from where I live. That was NOT a confidence builder, but I dealt with it by writing articles for a few magazines during my flights and dreaming about the turquoise waters that awaited me. I thought my adventure would consist of lounging on white sand, getting massages, drinking fancy drinks out of coconuts, snorkeling with brilliant fish and maybe going for a scuba dive after 20 years. I did all of that and it was a blast. But the real confidence came from three things that lived way outside my comfort zone. 1. Swimming with a Whale Shark (which is the largest fish in the ocean and as big as a bus) 2. Catching a huge fish from a tender zodiak 3. Surfing (and actually standing up!) The guides in the Maldives (where I went) had not seen a Whale Shark in years. But something told me we would. In fact, I was so sure of it. Here's why. A week before I left on my out-of-the-box adventure, I went to London to visit my daughter. On the flight I sat next to a man who reminded me of an academic. Well, he was. "What do you do?" I asked him. I upgraded to Economy Plus (which was like First Class in the States), so we were the only two in a very luxurious set of two seats. I had to at least say hello. "I'm a developer." OK. "What do you develop?" "I make the tracking devices for Whale Sharks, Dolphins, Condors and African Hunting Dogs." Did he say Whale Sharks? That caught my attention and he explained in depth about the device and how they are studying them at a University in England where he worked. "In fact," he continued. "My team is going to the Maldives next week to find Whale Sharks and track them; but I can't go this time." What?! That's how I knew. When the guide pulled me and a few others up from a dive after 15 minutes I had a feeling.... "A whale shark has been spotted by plane. We must go now." I jumped into the boat, shed by scuba tank and donned my snorkeling gear. The boat flew. "Go, go, go!" The guide was screaming at the 20 of us on the boat. And go we did. I jumped in and looked down. The enormous Whale Shark (this photo is of the Whale Shark I swam with) was directly below me. I swam like crazy and for the next half hour had an out of body experience. I was one with the Whale Shark. Almost literally. Whale Sharks come up to the surface to breathe every so often and warm themselves. After about 15 minutes of snorkeling about 10 feet above him, he stared to rise. I could almost touch him. It was a religious experience. After that, I knew that no animal in the ocean would ever scare me. In fact, no animal anywhere. The whale shark was so calm and comfortable in his giant body. Learn more about whale sharks! My next adventure was fishing. I caught the giant Jack Fish on my second cast with a brightly colored fish lure. I have never fly fished before. Epic!!!! Finally, I have tried surfing so many times and have barely gotten off my knees. But in the Maldives I took a lesson from the guide and learned how to jump up. Guess what? I did! So how do all of these experiences increase confidence? Especially for someone who felt confident already? Well, maybe not fully as I have always been slightly apprehensive in the ocean. I LOVE the ocean. I love sea life. I have respect for creatures everywhere. I love achieving a goal that takes so many tries. What I learned.....it's all about the journey. The experience. The joy. Experiences build joy, happiness and appreciation, which leads to increased confidence. Life is magical. What are you doing to step outside your comfort zone? Do share! Career and Life Coach Jody B. Miller is author of the new book "From DRIFT to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life." As CEO of C2C Executive Search & Strategic Management, Jody has helped thousands of people find true meaning in their work and in their lives. Learn more at www.JodyBMiller.com.