Driving Miss Crazy

It's no secret that I learned to drive late in life. In fact I learned to drive this year aged 34, a fact which I'm in part ashamed of and in part incredibly proud of.

But why did it take so long? 


Let's be honest, so many things that we could have done, should have done and would have done come down to fear. I could give you a dozen "excuses" why I didn't do it but the truth is fear prevented me from doing it. And that fear only grew over time. And once I had children and knowing that I would be driving with them in the car made taking that leap even harder. If I'd learnt when I was 17 and had been driving myself confidently all these years, it might have given me a moment of additional reflection when I had kids but this way around and the challenge seemed insurmountable.

And it's the same story I often hear from people who want to leave their 9-5 jobs and start a creative business. 

"It would be different if I'd done it earlier"

"I have responsibilities - I can't take the risk"

"My family depend on my income"

It's all valid! Of course it is. We have responsibilities, there are bills to be paid and mouths to be fed. But there's also only one life to be led (as far as we know) and at some point in our life we will look back and regret not taking that risk, that leap, that move. Just make sure that when that day comes it's not too late.

For me that day came when I had no alternative. Moving away from Vienna, where public transport was actually more convenient than going by car to Como where the children would be attending a school 20 minutes away from home meant that unless I wanted to cancel the whole scheme I would jolly well have to learn.

And I needed a strategy. The voice of fear was not going away, because, after all it had a point. It is dangerous on the roads, and my kids would be in the back of the car and it would deb my responsibility to keep them safe. But that didn't mean that I shouldn't do it, there was no reason why I couldn't do it, so the strategy had to be learn to do it well.

Now accidents happen, we can't predict or prevent them all, but what we can do is ensure that they are unlikely.  I chose rather than to avoid my fear, making excuses about "what if", I would learn to be the best driver I could be. I face my fear every morning, it looks a bit like an old fashioned showdown except instead of wearing spurs I have my driving shoes on and instead of a blade of grass between my teeth it's my lip balm. I buckle my kids in, I put on my driving music and drive; carefully, reactively and observantly, remembering the words or my driving instructor (and those of my therapist!) . And it's the same when you start up your business; get the training you need from the people who you value, don't ignore your fear but let it lead, and come up with a plan to keep those in the back seat safe. Oh and get yourself an awesome pair of new shoes - you can't fight fear without great shoes!