I’m feeling rushed. It is 8:45 and I need to get my son and my friend’s two daughters to stage school by 9. I should be ok; I should make it in 15 minutes.
I rush out the door with my son who is carrying his shoes to put on in the car.
It is a new car that arrived on Thursday and I am feeling excited. I had not driven it yet.
I jump in the driver’s seat and the smell of the new car hits me in the face. Why can’t that smell last?
No fingerprints, no sweet wrappers, no hair clips, no sign of the kids being there. I love it.
I look around the cockpit to figure out where everything is and then press the start button by the steering wheel. The radio and heater come to life, but then nothing. No growl of an engine.
I try again, nothing.
Stress levels start to rise, what am I doing wrong?
My wife has been driving it since it arrived, so it must work.
The car has a new feature where you do not have to plug the key into the dashboard. The key just has to be with you.
Maybe my wife’s key works and mine doesn’t. I jump out the car and run back into the house to change the keys.
Time is ticking and I am feeling my stress level growing even more.
I jump back into the driver’s seat with my wife’s key and press the start button again. Again no growl of an engine.
That’s it, overload has happened and I am now irrational. But I am conscious that my young son is next to me, so keep my language in control.
“Right, this car is an expensive pile of rubbish, we are taking the old one.”
We both jump out the new car, lock it and jump into the reliable 12 year old Audi.
I put the key in the lock, turn it and the car jumps into life. I let out a big sigh of relief.
It is 8:55 when we arrive at my friend’s house and then arrive at stage school at 9:10. I apologise to the children that we are late and then start my journey back home.
On the way home, I calm down and think about what I need to do to get the new car going.
When I arrive, I get in the new car and stare at the cockpit for a few minutes. I press the start button and the car jumps into life.
What happened, why is the car now working?
I think about the actions that I have just done and then it hits me.
A major feeling of embarrassment. My son is going to tell my wife about the car and I am going to have to explain that I have been an idiot.
Our previous cars have all been automatic and this one was manual. Instead of putting my foot on the clutch, I was putting my foot on the brake and trying to start the car.
The car’s safety feature stopped the car starting.
I told my family that afternoon and as you would imagine, there was a lot of laughter and banter that followed.
This week, I thought a lot about this and what I could learn from it.
The action of pressing the brake before pushing the start button had become a habit, something that I did without thinking about it.
In a new environment, this habit was not working. The car would not start.
I am in a new role now, a new environment.
What habits of my old role have I brought with me and which of these are going to work?
Well, I am certainly going to think about them now.
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