Driving on the “left” side of the road caused me to think with the “right” side of my brain.
Yes, that is a picture of me trying to orient myself in a car that has the steering wheel on the right side! We were in Auckland, New Zealand where they drive on the left side of the road. Everything—from the steering wheel, blinkers, to the road—was different than what I have been used to for over 45 years!
My initial thoughts were ones of fear (having a wreck), uncertainty (turning on the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers), and doubt (wondering if I had gotten myself into more than I could handle.) I had gone from being confident and in total control to being hesitant and uncertain.
The experience made me think of people and organizations who are going through disruptive change—from driving on the right side of the road to now the left. I realized why so many fail at it. I do because after it didn’t come easily, I thought about having someone else drive.
Two things helped me to get comfortable with driving on the left side of the road:
My wife Celest was my co-pilot. She kept a vigilant watch and let me know to stay in the left lane whenever a turn, especially a roundabout, was about to come up. It’s funny how I went from Celest annoying me when she was “backseat” driving to welcoming her guidance.
I became thankful for having the opportunity to be in New Zealand and to enjoy another day.
It’s amazing how having a co-pilot and being grateful for the opportunity caused me to go from being fearful to being confident. The lesson here for companies is way too often leaders leave it up to employees to handle change on their own. That does not work. People have to have co-pilots to help them navigate change in real-time. For employees, the lesson is to look higher than the change you are experiencing.
Well, I can now drive on both sides of the road, welcome advice, and appreciate God giving me the opportunity to experience something new.