As a female in the industry that I'm in, I get asked all the time "How did you get started in working on cars?" First and foremost, let me clarify. I have never turned wrench professionally. Can I do it, yes. Do I claim to be a technician or know as much as my techs? Absolutely not. My professional background is in pretty much everything else--parts, service, and management. But the "how" of my involvement in running and owning auto shops is not nearly as important as the "why".
I started working in shops when I was 18 and going to college full-time. I started in the local Toyota dealer in shipping and receiving. I didn't know a ball joint from a spark plug. But I'm an excellent listener and observer and I soon started picking up my knowledge from listening to the technicians and parts people. What I discovered was a whole new world that not many people, especially women, ventured into and that gave me an incredible sense of empowerment. People in the auto world are generally very giving and kind and were more than happy to help me learn more about cars. They love to share their passion and their knowledge. The more I learned, the more confident I became and not just with vehicles. I figured if I could learn to work on cars with no background or formal training, then there wasn't a whole bunch I couldn't do. So I expanded even further into service advising, management, and eventually, ownership. I'm not here to tell you I know everything. In fact, most days I just feel like a little kid playing dress-up. However, what I do have is the confidence in myself to figure it out and make things work. I don't lose--I either win or I learn. Learn something new, try something you've never done before because it scared you, give yourself more credit, forgive yourself more often, and learn how to be the person you deserve to be.