There might be that rare individual out there that doesn’t know about self-doubt, but the rest of us all experience that first solo moment on a regular basis. It is that moment when your training seems to abandon you as you must alter from student to responsible party.
I vividly remember the first moment when this phenomenon became apparent to me. I was 15 and in Driver’s Ed. I’d driven a simulator a few times and even the family car maybe twice with my dad. Now the school had turned the summer empty, vast parking lot into a driving course. Paint lines and orange cones covered the crumbling asphalt. There was a row of compact cars on loan from a local dealership and the instructors were either installed at the top of the observation platform in the center of the lot, or standing in the grass on the edge.
I had been looking forward to this moment for ages. While I waited my turn, I critiqued the performance of my classmates harshly in my mind and I could see from the facial expressions around me that I wasn’t alone in my hubris.
Then it was my turn and I was assigned to a car. I believe it was a Volkswagen Fox. (Yes, this dates me.) I climbed in and adjusted everything as I had been taught, the seat and all the mirrors. Just before I was told that I could start the car, it hit me that I was alone in a vehicle for the first time in my life. Additionally, the full responsibility of managing this machine landed squarely on my shoulders. My ears stopped working and I had to carefully focus on how to breathe. One of the instructors in the grass had to come over and tell me to start my car.
I don’t recall how I did on that course that day, but I know that I didn’t distinguish myself as I had hoped. The biggest lesson from that day has remained the awareness of the importance of ‘getting in the driver’s seat’ but retaining the openness of a student.
© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations