I had the best car repair appointment the other day. The dreaded check engine light showed up on my dashboard and rather than put a piece of black tape over it and ignore the situation, I took my car to get checked. I drive a Mini Cooper S, which has what can be considered a high-performance engine. The repair guy said, “You need to drive this car harder.” Wait, what? “Get it on the highway and push it to 4,000 and 5,000 RPMs,” he told me. Hmm. I can do that. Turns out, I was driving my car too carefully. Minis might be, well, mini, but they like going fast.
So do I.
I hit the highway and proceeded to do as told. While I was out there a thought came to me. By going easy on my car I was actually hurting it. I was doing a disservice to its very engineering; preventing my car from operating at maximum performance. It didn’t require much of a leap to connect that revelation to how I challenge myself every day. Yep. How many of us are holding back? Playing it safe. Our human engineering is a lot tougher and more adventurous than we give it credit.
Without getting too philosophical or anything, what are you not going after? It’s time to hit the highway. Or at least that “S” curve up ahead. This is especially true if you are in a leadership position, because if you’re holding yourself back there is a good chance you’re holding others back, too.
And, loosen your grip. This isn’t about being reckless or even fearless. It’s only about trusting yourself. That’s all.