After 12 years of faithful service, my pickup truck became too unreliable to continue as my primary vehicle. I tried everything I know to help the old truck keep going longer but was told it needed a new engine. I pride myself on getting the most value possible from a major purchase, but it was clearly the end of the line for my truck.

I am a big proponent of purchasing slightly used vehicles as a great way to save money on a declining asset. My initial intent was to follow this often professed model. After checking the price of used vs. new F150 trucks, I decided to go with a new vehicle. It turns out, due to COVID-19, the price of used vehicles is at an all-time high. Simultaneously, Ford is introducing a new F150 model in 2021 and was highly motivated to move the 2020 trucks. I was also able to complete the entire transaction without visiting the dealership. This feature allowed me to honor another vow I have made never to visit a car dealership to close a deal. This article is not about buying a car; perhaps I can address this topic later.

Due to this purchase’s timing, I had to select my new truck from the existing inventory. I ended up with a great truck at a fair price, but I have to live with a few features and options I would never have selected otherwise. One of these options is the “Backup Assist” feature. This feature aids in the sometimes arduous task of backing up a trailer. I have been backing up trailers for decades and do not need some fancy backup assist technology.

Since the feature was on my truck, I decided to set it up to see how it worked. Setting up “Backup Assist” for the first time is relatively complex. There are measurements and sticker placement involved. Finally, I had entered all the necessary trailer data into the new truck. I was in a remote area and ready to try “Backup Assist.” The Ford representative who delivered my truck cautioned me to be careful with “Backup Assist” if I already know how to back up a trailer.  The owner’s manual strongly suggested not holding the steering wheel while using this feature. I ignored all of this advice as I assumed I knew better; after all, I always hold the steering wheel when backing a trailer.

I started my test run of backing up a trailer with this new feature. With my hand on the steering wheel, I noted immediately the wheel was spinning without input from yours truly. I sort of freaked out and began fighting with the steering wheel. This system was not designed for some over the top control freak, and my initial attempt of backing up a trailer with this new feature failed miserably. Also, I determined the steering wheel’s autonomous maneuvering could actually hurt my hands and wrist if I continued to do battle with it.

I finally just stopped for a bit and reassessed my effort. I concluded if I do not let go of control of the steering wheel and trust the computer in the truck, I will never succeed. I thought of just turning off backup assist and never use it. After a bit of reflection, the song “Jesus Take the Wheel” popped into my head, and I decided to press ahead and continue trying something new. After releasing the steering wheel and trusting the computer in the truck, I easily backed up the trailer. The key to success here was letting go of my old ways and trusting something new.

For me, giving up control is never easy. Maybe you are like me and either consciously or subconsciously strive to be in control. Insisting on control can be a frustrating and unhealthy approach to life. Knowing when to assert and release control is the key to success as a leader. This relinquishing of control is a big challenge for parents. Just ask any parent whose child is learning to drive about the difficulties of letting go.

Are you struggling with issues of control? Do you try to manage too many situations, personally? What you are trying to control is probably not that important. Lean in on letting go and trusting others, and you will be blessed.

Make the most of this day!