Last night my daughter and I were driving the car to an event and we were talking about the worries in life, how she could get past those things that seem to hold onto her from the past, how to deal with anxiety about the future. So we looked at the very road we were on and decided to use that as the metaphor for life and what she was dealing with.
Did you ever notice that when we get to thinking about the future we can become so worried about what is coming ahead that we forget the very gift we have right in front of us? The Present. Here in Dallas, many of the highways have six lanes of traffic, three in each direction. Then we have a feeder or access road that runs along side of it, usually another four to six lanes – two to four in each direction. We discussed how if you have three lanes headed in the same direction you usually have three different types of people that are riding. In the right lane there are people who are slower, for whatever reason, maybe just going from one short exit to another. The middle lane has people who are just cruising along about average speed. Then you have the far left lane of people who are more in a hurry and seem to be passing everyone.
In life, we can relate to our success the same way traffic is moving. If you are headed towards a goal or destination in life you can choose the speed you can travel. You can choose if you want to take the fast lane or the slow lane. You determine if you are headed towards the goal, if you are on the highway in the right direction towards success. You determine what the keys are for the road to success.
While we were traveling last night, we talked about the signs telling us what roads or exits were coming up and how, if you looked up to read a sign, the further away it is the harder to see, you find that when you take your eyes off the road and try to focus on the sign you may lose focus on your driving and not see a car you’re coming up on or other obstacle.
If you keep turning around to see what signs or roads you miss, you are not focused on the direction you are headed. If you are looking around, enjoying the ride (as we were in the middle lane) with space between you and the car in front of you, then you can be more relaxed as you drive. If you take the fast lane and just race to get where you are going you may miss your exit, or miss something important in life.
If you take the slow lane when you prefer driving faster, you could end up becoming frustrated if someone slows your progress (after all, we all want to control our own progress). If you took the feeder road to get there you would have to deal with a few stoplights, some slower traffic, maybe even a back up or two at a busy intersection. But if your goal was to enjoy the journey, as Gwynne and I do on our bike trips (every now and then she sees something interesting and wants to stop and check it out) on the feeder road you can do that.
In our case I knew what exit I had to get off at; I knew how far ahead it was, and could enjoy the drive. If we plan things out, get to know what the area is on our journey to success, then we will be able to go at what pace we want, and enjoy the here and now. Last night was the biggest “ah ha” moment on the trip. I don’t have to be anxious about the road ahead; I know where I’m going and if I didn’t know for certain, they usually give you signs two miles before your exit, giving you time to get yourself in position, or in the right lane to exit in time.
How does this story apply to tools of success? You cannot control the past because it is behind you. In your life if you are still focused on the road you already traveled you are wasting a great gift of the present. In life you can get a clue to what might be coming up, but we all know things change so there will always be some things that are unexpected. But we can watch for the signs. In the road of life there are signs that point you in the direction you need to go. If you look at your past you can see where you came from and then compare it to your future, if the road looks bumpy, change your course. Watch for the signs to get you to the right exit.
We all want success in our lives; we are all on a road to success. Some are still sitting on the ramp with a car in park wondering why it’s so hard to steer. Some keep putting the car in reverse trying to fix the past, and some are too anxious about where the future will take them. Set goals for your future; watch for the signs; take the middle lane and enjoy the ride. Every now and then, take a side journey and see what life has to offer. You will be surprised at the gems you find on the side of your road of life.
I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to live your dream, to love what you do and those you share life with. Enjoy the journey to the destination. That is what being the RockStar in your world is all about.