The early part of my career was spent building my expertise in operations, which dealt mainly with the internal side of the organization. My boss reached out and suggested that I run one of our engine programs, which focused on on product and sales. This was an entirely different direction for me, which felt like a huge risk.
I respected my boss a great deal, so I told him I would think about the opportunity and let him know. He encouraged me to consider how I could learn and benefit from the new experience. Though I was afraid I might not be able to pull the job off, I realized that he would not have asked me to take on the role unless he thought I would excel in that position.
So I took the job. Before I even started, I laid out a clear plan for how I was going to ramp up. The gaps in what I knew were far greater than the strengths I brought to the role. But I did what I could to make it happen. Soon, I found that I was learning more about the business, my customers and, of course, myself.
Looking back, I have so much respect and trust in my boss, who obviously believed in me. He taught me to focus on what I could do for the job versus what it could do for me.
In my opinion, women are more likely to doubt their ability to learn something new; men seem to automatically say, “I can do that.” I think more women need to be willing to take risks; we’re just as smart as the next group of men. We need to stop worrying about knocking it out of the park before we even pick up the bat.