Sometimes inspiration comes from an unlikely source. Last week, it came when I took my 7-year-old son to see Cars 3, the latest Disney/Pixar movie. As its title indicates, Cars 3 is the third installment in a series that began in 2006 with the original Cars. The Cars series is maligned by many computer animation fans as the worst movies created by the usually innovative Pixar. But I could tell from its movie trailer that Cars 3 was going to deal with some adult themes.
Don’t Fear Failure
As the movie begins, we find our hero Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) on the race track. But he’s losing to a younger, faster and sleeker rookie named Jackson Storm (voiced by Armie Hammer).
As experienced IT professionals, it’s easy to harbor feelings of anger, fear, or jealousy. These feelings can arise when a new co-worker becomes the boss’ favorite or when a new technology appears to threaten our skills profile. Lightning McQueen’s childish reaction isn’t much better than ours often is. But his girlfriend Sally Carrera (voiced by Bonnie Hunt) provides sound advice.
“Don’t fear failure. Be afraid of not having the chance; you have the chance!” Sally Carrera in Disney/Pixar Cars 3
We have to look past the fear and recognize that we still have strengths. And for those of us who qualify as “older” IT professionals, we must remind ourselves experience and judgment qualify as strengths. That said, what worked for us yesterday may not work for us tomorrow. It may take longer to learn new skills than it did in our twenties. But if we can let go of the fear of learning something new, we can master new skills and remain competitive.
Everybody Needs a Mentor
“You’ll never be the racer you once were. You can’t turn back the clock, kid, but you can wind it up, again.” Smokey Yunick in Disney/Pixar Cars 3