People ask me, “Joey, aren’t you scared of this massive fast-moving change and exponential technology transformation?” The quick answer is YES, absolutely! I really think a professional would have to be in denial to not be afraid of what is in front of us. It reminds me of the first time I jumped on a big street bike.
On a beautiful spring afternoon in 1973 on Jones Street in Batesville, MS, I remember our neighbor was in the front yard with a brand new sparkling and loud motorcycle. Wow was I intrigued by this beautiful, powerful machine. I admit, I immediately had dreams of the girls at school begging me to take them for a ride. It was a fleeting thought as my neighbor asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin. My mouth got dry, I felt my skin get clammy and I realized that I was scared to death to take it for a spin.
With sweaty palms and a heart that was beating 150 BPM, I climbed on and gripped the handlebars until my knuckles were pearl white. I knew if Mom came outside I was toast. We had a “no motorcycle” rule at our house. You could play football with or without a helmet, you could even ride bicycles across town in 5 p.m. traffic, but you could not get on a motorcycle with full body armor and ride in a Christmas parade. The “no motorcycle” rule was firm.
As I felt the weight and power of the motorcycle, my fears only grew. Could I really handle this? After my neighbor very patiently explained everything to me, I let off the clutch and away I went. Up and over the hill to the dead end and back. It felt so good, I made a quick turn and made another run to the end of the street. Wow was I enjoying conquering my fears and the fantasy of the high school girls came flooding back into my mind. That is until I got back down the hill and saw Mom running out the front door—now that is real fear! I was toast.
So yes, we could be fearful today because no one has the answers. Yet, I’d challenge us to take the fear and apprehension and use it motivate action. The answers are in front of us, over the hill and out of sight. The answers require that we ride something new, do new things and learn new skills. If you can put out of mind the image of Mom coming out the front door (it’s still hard for me to forget), think about how confident we feel, how excited we feel and how energized we are as we learn new things.
Certainly fear is normal considering today’s transformation, but I am hoping we do not let those fears keep us from riding over the hill to a new and wonderful experience. Fear will freeze us only if we allow it to. Let off that clutch and let’s take this new ride for a spin—together!