“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy
I’m not much of a small engine mechanic. So when I did something really dumb with my lawn tractor a couple of weeks ago the thought of having just ruined a perfectly good, albeit old, mower raced through my mind.
it was the beginning of mowing season and I set out one Saturday morning to change the oil, hop on the tractor, and whip my lawn into submission. I pulled out my oil siphon pump which, when used properly, will suck the oil from the engine through the oil filler tube into a container. Then you’re able to add fresh oil and be on your merry way.
There’s always a “but”
However, there’s a small plastic tip at the end of the siphon hose that you insert into the filler tube. If you’re not paying attention that tip can come loose and get lodged in the tube. I could see the tip about halfway down the tube (which thankfully gets more narrow toward the bottom so foreign objects can’t fall all the way into the oil reservoir).
I tried fishing it out with a wire clothes hanger. It didn’t budge. I tried long needle-nose pliers but couldn’t open them enough to grab it because the tube was too narrow. The only thing I succeeded in was expanding my vocabulary.
I asked around for advice
No one had any brilliant ideas. The guy behind the counter at the neighborhood auto parts store said I might try removing the oil filler tube from the engine and pushing it out from the other end. But, he added, since the mower is about 15 years old the tube might not even be removable. Good luck with that.
So now my mind was racing toward the worst case scenario in which I never get that plastic object out of the tube and have to pay lots of money I don’t have to get it repaired. Or worse, buy another lawn tractor for lots more money I don’t have.
Out of the comfort zone I go
This morning I finally forced myself to pull the engine cover off the tractor and see what I could do, the negative thoughts flying everywhere. What if I can’t get the tube off? What if I break the tube? What if I get it off but can’t get it back on with a good seal?
I was trying something new and I definitely felt awkward.
But to my surprise, the filler tube came off without much difficulty. I grabbed the clothes hanger and pushed the plastic tip back out from the other end. I re-installed the filler tube with no trouble. I added fresh oil, cranked the mower, and 90 minutes later had a decent looking lawn again. Who knew it could be that easy?
So I guess Brian Tracy was right. I was out of my comfort zone but still went ahead and tried something new. I grew a little today. Not only do I know a little more about tinkering with small engines now, I also have a little more confidence for the next time I tackle something I know nothing about.
And I have a freshly mowed lawn.
What have you done to step out of your comfort zone and grow? Please share a comment.