I Didn’t Know How To Drive Before I Got My License

True story.

I learned how to drive, after I got my driver’s license. My parents hired a “consultant” to teach me the best practices. I even remember the time I drove on the wrong side of the road because I was too focused on the clutch and the stick shift.

Go figure.

It took me a lot of practice to learn to drive properly. No matter how much I read the manual or listened to the wisdom of others, I didn’t learn to drive until I was behind the wheel doing it.

This story mimics my leadership journey; and possibly, the journey of many others.

It seems to be common practice to assume that subject matters experts can be great leaders. Too many of us get promoted to a leadership role with zero idea as to what it entails.

Worst of all, I believed I deserve it and I believed I could be better at it than my manager and other managers I knew. Can you relate?

I couldn’t be more wrong.

Nothing I could have read or heard would have prepared me for the first time…

  • I had to delegate a project I knew I could do better than my staff member.
  • I had to decide to wait until the next day to finish a project so I could spend time with family at the expense of missing a very important deadline.
  • A team member or peer told me I wasn’t a good leader.
  • I had to go against a decide from my manager to protect my staff.
  • A team member made a big mistake and I had to defend her.
  • I asked a team member to do something and then proceeded to totally revamp their work because I didn’t like it.

And the list can go on.


I DON’T have to know it; I just need to KNOW WHERE to get it.

Should I really think that Henry Ford knew everything about car manufacturing? No! He paid a lot of people to know.

Today, I look to erase the notion that you need to become a subject matter expert before you start doing anything.

Knowledge is not power; what make us powerful is the ability to apply specialized knowledge for a specific purpose.

Ultimately, what we know today is a result of a long process that started with us knowing little about anything.

Give yourself some grace and let your inner child come out and play again.




What is your experience with this concept?

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