Powerful Truth I Discovered in a Parking Lot

I’m getting better with the truth.  The truth is that I found myself recently sitting in my car in the parking lot of Aldi’s eating an ice cream and listening to a podcast just so I could hide from my family and extend my grocery shopping alone time.  Truth.  Don’t judge.  I love my family, but they drive me crazy sometimes.

I seem to have a habit of facing truth in parking lots.  In fact, one of the biggest turning points in my career happened during an emotional breakdown in a parking lot at Los Alamos National Lab.  I had never shared this breakdown with anyone until I decided to share it with the whole world in my TEDx talk about Leadership in Tech.

So here’s what went down:

I had just been given the opportunity to lead several projects in a major program at Los Alamos.  Bam!  I was rocking it.  I had arrived.  I had worked hard for THIS.  I was qualified.  My colleagues had faith in my abilities, and I had a supportive network.  However, I ended up in the parking lot sitting in my car talking to my mom on the phone and bawling my eyes out.  Sobbing.  I was sobbing and repeating “I can’t do this!”

The truth is that I was smacked in the face with the reality that I had no idea how to lead people. 

Despite my shiny degrees and credentials, I realized suddenly that my technical competence was only part of what I needed to lead teams of people.  It was seriously a revelation for me.  How was I going to get a bunch of brilliant scientists and engineers to listen to ME?  To comprehend my vision?  What WAS my vision? And how was I going to get people engaged when they considered things like vision and soft skills a complete waste of time?  I was paralyzed by doubt, by fear, by lack of foundation and the sheer degree of technical, professional and personal challenges before me.  Paralyzed.

Eventually, I calmed down, but I made a commitment to learn to how to lead.

The truth I discovered that day in the parking lot was pivotal in my career.  I realized that my PhD and technical credentials were not enough when it came to moving projects forward and making an impact.  The truth shaped every decision I made moving forward, including founding EverRise.  I’m getting better with the truth.  Will you?


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Dr. Crystal G. Morrison

Dr. Crystal G. Morrison

Dr. Crystal G. Morrison is a highly regarded scientist and leader who is passionate about developing people and organizations to their highest potential.

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About EverRise

Founded by a scientist and leader, EverRise LLC is a consulting firm dedicated to transforming technical professionals and industries. Our company works with organizations to assess performance, refine strategy, and build world-class leaders and teams.

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