Many years ago, when I relocated to Dallas, Texas to begin my career as a young manager in the transportation and relocation industry, I ran into some challenging situations. One of those situations including my first week driving a moving truck. I had been with the company for about a month as a “manager trainee” working with the moving crews when my manager mentioned that he wanted me to get my commercial driver’s license (CDL) so I could drive a truck with air brakes. I thought, yikes… that’s risky, and I’m not sure I want to do that. But I agreed, even though I was fearful of driving a big truck in an unfamiliar city… and passed my driving test.
During my first week as a driver, also known as van operators, he asked me to make some small deliveries to get used to driving the truck. I was actually enjoying the new role and gaining confidence… One positive thing about a van operator is that he/she becomes the job supervisor and I enjoyed that. Just as soon as I started gaining my confidence, I ran into that challenging situation we all hope to avoid. I had just finished a delivery and was on my away back to the office and stopped at the stop light to turn left. For those that don’t know, when you turn a large moving truck, you have to continue straight through the intersection and make a wide turn to avoid cars that are driving next to you… as I continued through the turn, I noticed a guy in the car next to me through my passenger mirror immediately turned to follow me and continued to follow me…. I noticed the guy was trying to get my attention and was trying to tell me something like my gas cap was open, or my tire was low… but my office was just around the corner so I kept going and pulled into my office parking lot to find out what was going on… Well, the guy was not happy at all and advised that during my turn, I had knocked off the mirror on his truck and that I was in big trouble. I was so fearful; and thought my career was over. I then went into the office and my manager advised the guy to get the mirror replaced and that we would pay for the cost of the repair. I then thought the worse, license suspension, losing my job, and maybe even jail time… Funny how we always think the worst when we make mistakes in our career… Well, I got through that situation, and grew from it. For one thing, I learned to pay more attention at intersections! I drove for the next 10-12 months and didn’t have any other accidents, so I gets that small situation helped make me grow and become a better driver.
What’s interesting is that it’s been 20 years later, and I still find this same intersection. Not necessarily driving, but other areas in my career. You see, mistakes are where the growth is, but we often find ourselves fearful of trying because of the consequences… It can get dark, it can get lonely, but the other side is where the growth is. On “Life in the Leadership Lane” podcast (episode 65), I interviewed Executive Director Erin McKelvey and she shared that if we aren’t taking risks and moving forward, then we are not going to reach our full capacity. I agree! Many times, we are afraid to take a risk because we are comfortable or there’s a good chance we will fail and it will set us back. I have found myself in this situation many times over the course of my career. But it’s when I decided to take a chance by getting my CDL, apply for a volunteer leadership role, or taking on a project that required a lot of involvement that I learned and grew in my career.
Today, we are all going through something challenging in our career or in our personal life… It may feel really big right now, it may feel overwhelming, it may feel like it’s never going to end, but it will… and the growth will be substantial to move you forward in your career.
I recently finished the book “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier and have been reflecting on this question as I go through my own challenges… “If you are saying YES to something, then what are you saying NO to.” Saying no can also be fearful and risky if it causes you to miss out on opportunities like a new role in your company, or moving laterally for future upward mobility. Think about it… it’s all about where you want to go and you will find this intersection of fear and growth on the entire journey – so buckle up and keep moving forward!
Quote of the Day: Faith and fear both have something in common. The both ask us to believe in something we cannot see. Whichever one you get in agreement with is the one that is going to come to pass. (Unknown)
Call to Action: What do you need to overcome this week? Share with a colleague or a friend this week and move through the intersection of fear and growth and you will find yourself in the lane of experience and belief!
This is “Move to Inspire” with Bruce Waller! For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out www.BruceWaller.com to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon. Be sure to subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel for weekly messages to encourage you and others in the workplace! Looking for a Podcast? Check out “Life in the Leadership Lane” on APPLE PODCAST as I talk to leaders making a difference in the workplace! Interested in a book club? Join our book club “CLIMB” on Facebook.