Since it’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, I’m thinking a bit about life behind the wheel – and the many road trips I’ve taken since that first day of freedom. I’m also thinking about how people approach “the unknown” in life.
The day I passed my driver’s test, I came home with my paper license and launched my first “adventure” on the road: a drive to my grandparents’ house by myself. Even though it was years ago, I still remember it.
The moment that feeling of independence — and responsibility — hit was one I’ll never forget. I was thinking something along the lines of, “There’s no turning back now.” And, I know it’s because I was committed to moving forward into something new.
That’s the thing about life. Whenever we face the unknown or try new things, we basically have three options:
- Embrace what we don’t know, and learn as we go.
- Pause for time to study and learn. Then dive in.
- Avoid the opportunity because it’s uncomfortable.
While all three options are totally up to us, some things in life are worth a little discomfort — especially if they can add value for us or others around us.
In the case of 16-year-old me, I may not have realized it at the time; but, I could see added value as clear as the steering wheel in front of me. Technically, I was as ready as I could be at that point in time (after Driver’s Ed, lots of practice and passing the state driving test). What I didn’t have was experience. I knew I needed it. Beyond that, I wanted it.
So, let’s hit “pause” on the driving analogy for a second and think about social media. Every generation in the workplace today is impacted by it, whether we grew up with it in our hands or not. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already been at that point with social — where it was time to take that first “drive.”
I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that change is ahead for all of us with technology, social and a lot more. Some call it disruption. Some call it innovation. Regardless, there will be more “first drives” for us as technologies, tools and people evolve.
Like anything you study, train and prepare for, there comes a point where you have to get out of your head and drive forward, into the real-world experience of doing something you’ve never done before.
That’s when you have to ask yourself, realistically, “What will I miss if I don’t move forward?”
As for me, I’m not the greatest driver in the world, but I’ve been many places and seen many things since that first trip to my grandparents’ house. Social media isn’t all that different if you think about it. It’s just a different kind of vehicle.