Remember the First Time You Tried Something New?
Remember that first time? The excitement alongside the terror of the unknowns – and feeling them all simultaneously? Having new drivers at home has brought these experiences front and center, and it has been a good reminder that trying new things can lead to new freedoms and experiences in our lives. Here are some insights…
There’s a Difference Between Being a Passenger and a Driver
Before learning to drive, you did not need to pay attention to what was happening outside of the car. As a passenger, studying the roads and learning the landmarks was unnecessary. As a teen today, that means sitting in the backseat heads-down on your phone, scrolling TikTok and Snapchat. Becoming a driver, you suddenly become aware of the value of knowing where you’re going. Your perspective changes, and instead of sitting in the backseat heads down, you’re now in the front seat heads-up. Watching traffic patterns, learning which landmarks matter, and focusing on your surroundings are not only important, it is essential.
This translates so easily out of the driver’s seat and into our daily lives. Before we try something new, we have a limited perspective on what it will take. It’s not until we find ourselves behind the wheel of a new life experience, with our foot controlling the accelerator and the brake, that we really start paying attention. When that happens, we learn quickly where to focus and what matters.
The Insight: Trying new things requires us to pay attention to new things and eliminate distractions.
Embracing “I’ve Never Been Here Before”
Just yesterday, we had a conversation about driving to new places. As new drivers, we all quickly learned the landmarks and gained knowledge about the roads we drove regularly. There’s a turn lane I need to get into here, a pothole over there… Like playing a new level in a video game, we learned what to expect. Somewhat quickly, our subconscious starts taking over, and we can travel between Point A and Point B with less effort… until we decide we want to go from Point B to Point C. Then, things get real.
The moment we decide to drive somewhere new off our beaten path, we encounter the “I’ve never been here before” fears and unknowns. New conversations start in our heads. “I don’t know where this road goes.” “What if I miss my turn?” “What if I get lost or in an accident?” The conversations we have in our heads can take unexpected twists and turns.
Again, stepping out of the car and into the rest of our lives, the fears that come with “I’ve never been here before” are real. Anytime we try something for the first time, or stretch ourselves and how far we’re taking a new experience, this will happen. There will be a moment where the “what if” and “I don’t know” conversations start rattling around. That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s normal, it’s OK, and you don’t have to buy into those conversations. You get to choose what you do with them and how you move forward.
The Insight: Fear and uncertainty are part of the process. Embrace them.
You’re Going to Ding Up The Car
Early on in having a new car, a teenage trip to the mall resulted in a visit to a body shop. Driving in traffic, on roads with other cars in the elements, presents some natural risks. Sure, you could stay in the bubble of your neighborhood and drive circles around the block, but eventually, there’s a world out there to explore. Leaving the bubble comes with some risks and, often, some scrapes.
Whether we’re driving, launching a business, leading a team for the first time, or beginning a new relationship, scrapes and dings are part of the deal. You’ll never meet anyone who tried something new and didn’t scuff some things up along the way. Occasionally, we have big crashes. Often we experience small fender benders or pick up little scratches. All are acceptable. What’s unacceptable is staying in a bubble where everything is always safe.
The Insight: Expecting perfection and success from the very beginning is unrealistic. Give yourself some room and some grace.
As a new driver, everything was, well, new. It was scary, exciting, and unknown. Then, as you got a little older and gained some experience behind the wheel, the fears subsided, and it became second nature. Driving became more comfortable. Whatever new thing you want to try, you can expect that same progression from scary and unfamiliar to comfortable and normal… With that in mind, embrace the newness (even your fears) and take the wheel in your life.
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