Keep your eyes on the road.

Here's a story for you. I like stories on Fridays.

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Way back when I bought my first car, I purchased an '86 Volkswagon Cabriolet, partly because it was a convertible, but mostly because my big brother had said they were good cars for princesses (and let's face it—that's all the convincing I needed). It was white on white, (badly) needed a new roof and had an impressive constellation of dings on the passenger side door that had clearly been touched up with White Out correction fluid, with the hopes that purchaser would either a) not notice, or b) not care. I fell into the second category.

The only tricky part was that it was a standard transmission and I had absolutely no idea how to drive it. Believe it or not, this was no accident: I did not—just in case you were thinking I had—accidentally purchase a car without checking if I could drive it. Nope, I knowingly bought a car that I couldn't even test drive (don't worry, my friends did that for me). How's that for faith?

See, I'd decided that the only way I'd ever learn to drive a stick shift was if I was forced to because I owned one. I also felt like it was really important that I learn how, thanks to an overactive imagination and a nightmare totally realistic precautionary scenario involving myself in a remote location, an axe-wielding murderer (obviously, because who else would be out there with me?), hell-bent on being, quite literally, the death of me, and a stick-shift truck being my only available escape route and salvation.

What? We all get our motivation from different sources, some being more pleasant than others. And, I did learn to drive a standard, so clearly vivid night terrors have a place in the achieving our goals.

Anyway, the car sat, unmoving, in my driveway for about three weeks, when finally some friends decided enough was enough and took me and the car to an abandoned parking lot to teach me how to drive it. I got the hang of it, but I was really nervous on steep-grade hills, which I defined as roads with an incline of anything greater than 0.001 percent.

My big brother took me out to the winding, hilly back roads to help me get over my fear of steep inclines and gentle slopes. He'd get me to stop the car in the middle of a hill and then start it. Needless to say, there was much frustration, pouting, protesting, wailing and gnashing of teeth (all me). I kept shoulder checking and staring into the rear-view mirror, positive that a Ferrarri, BMW or some other equally expensive import was about to come barreling up behind me.

"Look where you're going, Bay," Paul said, repeatedly, "not where you've been."

That guy. Brilliant, right? Little did he know the truth and impact of his words: This was the story of my life.

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It's easy to see, in this story, that my obsessive need to look over my shoulder at what lies behind me was fear based. I was afraid of causing an accident (and of my insurance deductible). I was afraid of making a mistake, so I sat in the middle of the road, not going anywhere at all, a hazard in the waiting.

Well, it's exactly the same thing when we refuse to look at or create our vision for our life. It's about our fears, whatever they might be:

  • Not getting what we want.
  • Not making the right choice (turns out FOMO & YOLO apply to all of us, not just 20-somethings on spring break).
  • Being afraid we can't work hard enough to get it, or that we just aren't that lucky and the stars aren't aligned in our favour because we were born on a Friday that was cloudy.
  • Maybe we think we don't deserve it—who do we think we are, after all?

So many great analogies, this driving metaphor... In keeping with the theme, here's what I've learned about creating/choosing a vision:

[Tweet "Time doesn't stop and wait for us while we're making up our minds."]

  1. Time doesn't stop and wait for us while we're making up our minds about how our life should be.
  2. Just like driving a car, wherever we look in our lives is where we tend to go: If you're looking at the ditch as you motor down the road, you're liable to wind up in it, wondering what the heck happened and how you landed there. If you're busy looking behind you, you're likely living (reliving?) in the past while stalled in the present, not moving forward.
  3. There aren't really any rules about where you go. You're the king of your own road. No one else travels your road but you, after all. You can choose the scenic route or the most direct one to get where you want to go. You can change your mind and take a turn off anywhere along your route. You can stop for a picnic.
  4. It doesn't matter so much, that you pick the right vision (more to come on this front soon). It matters more that you choose a vision. Any vision. Getting it right is a judgment call that only you can make. And while you're sitting there, worrying about whether you've made the right call, you not really choosing anything. You're sitting in the middle of a hill, waiting to start. The longer you wait, well, the more time you lose. Not to add pressure or anything, but FYI: You only have so much of that stuff we call time...
  5. Avoiding creating a vision for your life doesn't save you from making mistakes. If you don't pick a destination, then it doesn't matter so much which road you take to get there. If you don't know where you want to go, any road will get you there. In the latter, of course, you're more a passenger in in your own life, at effect to circumstances, happenstances, staring out the window as your life races by you.

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What's your vision? For your life; the one and only life you've got? The one you're living right now. I work with people to create their vision and to turn their vision into their reality.

If you're interested in taking a look at what your life holds, because you say so, then get in touch and do a sample session with me. I promise it will be fun and valuable (and free!). 

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