The story that started with, “Sure, I’ll do it.”
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to get in the Way-Back Machine and recall how I started on this path and the lesson I learned that I still apply to my work.
My husband and I were driving through rural Kansas on the way back from a week in Bentonville for some mountain biking (which was awesome!). For a number of miles, we were driving alongside a rail line with a Kansas City Southern train heading north.
Me: “You know, Kansas City Southern was the project that got me started on this journey.”
My husband: “Seriously? I had no idea! How did that happen?”
I proceeded to tell him the story, that it was my second job out of college, working for an IT consulting firm. I was doing database development–not what I wanted to do for a career, but I didn’t have any better ideas.
Our company provided CRM system consulting, called “Sales Force Automation” (SFA) at the time. KCS was a client–we’d developed an SFA solution for them (in Lotus Notes–talk about a throwback!), and we needed to train the sales team on how to use it.
Our manager asked if I wanted to do the training. I had no idea what I was doing but liked public speaking, so I said “Sure, I’ll do it.”
I loved it, and that started me down the path. Training > instructional design > talent development > leadership development > organizational development. Most of those steps came from saying yes to opportunities that were offered to me.
All because way back when I said “Sure, I’ll do it.”
As for that lesson, I keep it with me… On a break during the training, I was chatting with one of the sales guys (and they were all guys). These were individuals who had been with KCS for years, had started in the yards, and worked their way up. They were loyal to KCS. They loved the company and their jobs.
And then the person I was speaking to asked “So, Sales Force Automation. How long until we lose our jobs? Until they automate it all?”
Oof. I sat back in my chair and then tried to explain that this wasn’t to take their jobs away but to make their jobs easier so they could sell more.
I learned so much at that moment: the power of words; the impact of change; the importance of empathy.
I don’t know that those lessons all sunk in immediately–I needed to grow and mature–but the lessons gestated over the years.
Those lessons continue to inform how I work and lead. All because I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.”
I finished the story about the same time we split away from the train. I’m so grateful for that coincidence, and the opportunity to go down memory lane–to remember why I do what I do, and why I’m awesome at it.
What’s something to which you said “Sure, I’ll do it” that changed your life?
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