On my 16th birthday, I passed my driving test and earned my driver’s license. It was my ticket to independence, and I was elated! Along with the independence came responsibility: abiding by traffic laws, maintaining a car, filling it with gas and getting a job to make it all possible. Suddenly life was a little more complicated, but the freedom was more than worth it!
Years later, when I nervously sat in the passenger’s seat as each of my three children learned to drive, I once again longed for my independence. Allowing less experienced drivers tote me around was challenging. The expected mistakes of a new driver put me on alert. There were moments I even feared for my life! My “mom arm” flung out across my children frequently during perceived close calls.
Thankfully, I survived, and my children are now fantastic drivers. The experience taught me a valuable lesson about life: the only person that can drive my life is me!
Blaming, making excuses, and giving up seem to be in vogue these days. Parents are blamed for emotionally damaging us. They are the source of our broken relationships, unsuccessful careers, even our poor parenting. I have even heard parents blamed for the lack of cooking or house maintenance skills.
The food industry often gets a bad rap for our poor health and overweight society. Our education system is blamed for not preparing us better. We blame those closest to us for our unhappiness. When we do, we are passively sitting in the passenger seat of our own life.
In order to climb out of the passenger seat and get on with driving our own life we have to:
1. Have the desire to actually get somewhere.
Just like I eagerly desired my independence as a teen, we have to actually want something before we will be motivated to do things differently. What efforts have you made to tap into your passions and dreams and actively go after them? How is what you are currently doing preventing you from indulging in what makes you come alive?
2. Hop into the driver’s seat and go.
Once you’re in the driver’s seat, you are the one in charge. Where you steer the car will determine where you go. How heavy-footed you are on the gas will determine your speed. Without doing something, you won’t go anywhere! You will inevitably encounter roadblocks and detours, but you are ultimately still the one with the power to take you where you want to go.
Perhaps fear, inexperience, lack of knowledge is hindering your ability to drive your life. Don’t let these things stop you from pushing forward. Perhaps you need someone to temporarily guide you like I did for my children while they were learning to drive: a coach, a mentor, or friend. Just remember that even then, you are the one in the driver’s seat!
3. Enjoy the ride!
After reaching a few destinations on your own, your confidence grows. You see that you are capable of more than you thought. You stop being so aware of your foot on the pedal and trying to stay in the middle of the lane. You feel free, and you relish the power that comes from being in the driver’s seat of your life!
How about you? Who is behind the wheel of your life? What do you need to do to ignite your desire to go somewhere? Where would you like to go? What do you need to overcome so that you can buckle up and go?