Buckle Up & Drive Your Brilliant Life
Are you driving your life – buckled up and taking responsibility for the ride?
It’s been a long time, but I still remember passing my driving test and getting my driver’s license. The day I turned 16, I headed to the DMV. I was elated – it was my ticket to freedom!
Along with the new found independence came responsibility: abiding by traffic laws, maintaining a car, filling it with gas, and working to make it all possible. Suddenly life was a more complicated, but the freedom I enjoyed made it totally worthwhile!
Years later, when I nervously sat in the passenger’s seat as each of my three children learned to drive, I once again yearned for the opportunity to be back in charge; back in the driver’s seat. Allowing less experienced drivers to tote me around was challenging. Anticipating the mistakes of a new driver put me on high alert. There were a few moments I even feared for my life! I had a reputation for flinging my “mom arm” out across my children to protect them when enduring those perceived close calls. If you are a parent, you know what I mean!
Thankfully, I survived, and my children are now fantastic drivers. Sitting in the passenger’s seat taught me a valuable lesson about life: the only one able to drive is the one in the driver’s seat. I know that may seem obvious, but it doesn’t just apply to driving a car, it also applies to driving your life! I have to take responsibility for where my life is going. If I don’t take ownership, no one will.
A quick side note…
Ideally, God’s leading your life and you are obediently following His lead. However, you are still the one responsible for taking action and following through with His promptings. It’s a little like God is the navigation system, and you are the driver. Frequently when I set the destination, my navigation system in my car it takes an unexpected route – one completely new to me. If I don’t take action and drive where my GPS is telling me to go, I’ll remain stuck in my garage!
The same thing is true in life. I have to step up and take responsibility – and sometimes what needs to be done is uncomfortable, risky, and hard. A brilliant life is the result of continuing to grow and move forward in positive ways.
Are you ready to take responsibility, buckle-up, and drive your life – your brilliant life? Here are some practical ways to begin doing just that:
You have the power to choose! And not choosing – that’s actually a choice. Dire or unexpected circumstances may be out of your control, but you still get to choose how you will respond to them. That’s empowering!
Passively letting others make decisions for you is like hopping into the back seat and expecting to go somewhere.
Maybe making decisions doesn’t come easy for you. I get it! Why not begin by choosing your…
- One Word
With practice, making decisions gets easier. Plus, you’ll begin to see and appreciate the forward movement in your life!
2. Take Ownership!
Your thoughts, feelings, and actions, including the things you say, all belong to you and only you! In fact, Scripture urges you to take your thoughts captive which is wise advice because everything flows out of your thoughts.
…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
No one makes you think, feel, or do anything – you choose those thoughts, feelings, and actions.
3. Stop Blaming!
Nothing escorts you into victim mode quicker than blaming others – your parents, spouse, boss, the economy, even the devil!
No blaming your mistakes on others – own them and move forward. I promise the people around you will respect you for it.
The willingness to explore your role in various situations and take responsibility quickly shifts you from victim to victor and that’s an amazing place to be!
Who or what are you blaming?
4. No More Excuses!
What excuses are you making personally or professionally that are keeping you from moving forward? Where are you procrastinating? What prerequisites do you believe must be meet before you do “X”?
Be honest with yourself and get to the bottom of what’s underneath your excuses so that you are able to proactively eliminate them. You may even want to take the No Excuses Challenge!
5. Value Yourself!
When you know that you are extravagantly and unconditionally loved by God you live loved – you live in a way that honors just how valuable you really are. That allows you to invest in yourself in positive ways so that you are then able to invest in others. You make it a priority to practice self-care and engage in activities that serve you well like, spending time with God, exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, and spending time with the treasured people in your life.
When you value you, then you treat yourself with compassion. And when you extend compassion to yourself, you are more likely to value others and offer compassion to them. And from that valued place, you are more likely to see the positive in yourself and others rather than the flaws.
6. Quit Complaining!
You may feel justified in your complaints, but did you realize that complaining is actually voicing your fears? No matter what the situation is, there’s something valuable to be learned and an amazing gift to be discovered if you are willing to look for it.
Complaining doesn’t propel you forward, it keeps you helpless and stuck – like remaining in park!
7. Resist Taking Things Personally!
It’s hard to be in charge of your life when you take what others say or do personally. Instead of giving your power away, remember it’s not all about you. More often than not, what others say is a reflection of them and where they are at than it is about you. Pay attention to the assumptions you are making; the conclusions you are jumping to. Challenge them. Ask questions to help you to understand what they are trying to communicate. You’ll be glad you did.
8. Practice Happy Habits!
Too often happiness is something pursued, but happiness is the reward for having “happy habits!” The very same habits that demonstrate that you value you plus things like taking time to slow down and reflect and practicing gratitude.
I’ve found that making space daily for the activities that make my heart happy makes a noticeable difference in my happiness. I call that my “♥ thing” and it’s something I include on my “to do” list each day to ensure I’m regularly engaging in those kinds of life-giving activities. For me those activities would include time with a friend, reading a book, doing something creative, trying a new recipe, or assembling a puzzle.
9. Be Present!
According to David Stoop in You Are What You Think, guilt is about looking backwards and dwelling on the past. It’s characterized by feelings of should and failure and frequently results in anger, depression, and feeling paralyzed.
Anxiety and worry are about looking forward and dwelling in the future. It’s filled with “what ifs” and/or imagining the absolute worst-case scenario. It’s an attempt to control life, but the future is impossible to control! That’s something only God can do, so why not trust Him fully?
Where you can actually “do” something is right NOW – in the present. So, pay attention to your self-talk. It gives away whether or not you are being present.
10. Operate With Integrity!
People with integrity do what they say they will do – they follow through. Agreeing to do something you don’t really want to do or that you don’t have the capacity to do right now is the opposite of operating with integrity.
Be true to who you are – don’t attempt to be someone you aren’t.
The only way to get from where you are now to where you want to be is to take responsibility for your life. That doesn’t mean you have to journey solo – it’s wise to enlist the support of family, friends, and/or a coach. In fact, that actually increases your odds of getting there! However, you can’t expect others to push you there! You have to put your foot on the gas and steer yourself and that’s what taking responsibility is all about!
Where do you need to “buckle up & drive” YOUR brilliant life and experiencing greater freedom?