I was recently on a long car journey – the first part of the journey I was a passenger, the sun was shining and I was able to look around, relax, daydream, let my mind wander. I was not concentrating on the journey itself at all, not knowing where I was but just enjoying the ride.
When I was asked to take over the driving I could no longer just gaze out of the window but needed to concentrate on where I was going – which route to take, reading signs posts, looking out for pedestrians, other traffic, dogs, obstacles in the road.
Then the satnav got confused with where I was supposed to be going – if ‘she’ didn’t know then who did!!!
I was very happy to be driven but hadn’t really prepared for my part in the journey at all.
This made me think about the similarity with my life – am I driving my life forward or am I happy to be a passenger and just let life happen.
It’s often said that ‘life is a journey’ but this journey really brought it home to me how true that actually is. Being aware of our own life journey, noticing the obstacles that get in our way and having the skills to proceed through to get to our chosen destination is so important.
Just like any journey, life can be full of accidents, closed roads, traffic jams and setbacks but here’s the thing, we have a choice to either be a passenger and let our journey happen or we can be the driver and take some control of where we are headed.
Are you prepared to be the driver or a passenger in your life journey? If you think you are a passenger then you will need to consider a few things to help you take over the controls and direct your life in the way you want to go.
- Planning your route – where are you starting from and where do you want to end up? Having a clear plan, at least for the first stage of your journey is key, otherwise you may find yourself heading down many a cul-de-sac and having to do u-turns galore
- Recalculating your route – if the road ahead is unexpectedly closed, you might have to make a diversion. Be flexible with the route, if one way doesn’t work out, what is the next best route – there is always more than one way to get where you want to be.
- Did I really go through that red light? – how many times have you gone though traffic lights and afterwards hoped they had been green? It happens because we’re not aware of where we are. Thoughts prevent us from being in the moment and appreciating what’s going on around and when in charge of a big piece of metal, this can be a dangerous practice! Be aware of your surroundings and notice the obstacles that might pop up
- Picking up hitch hikers – in reality I don’t see many hitch hikers these days but the principle remains true – if the hitch hiker is going in the same direction as you it might be a pleasant and rewarding distraction, a bit of company. But if you end up going off your planned route to take them to a place they want to go, where does that leave you? Being kind and helpful is one thing but being focused on where you want to be on your journey is important to reach your destination.
- Planning comfort breaks – on a long journey we all need to stop for the inevitable pit stop at a dodgy motorway service station for a loo break, some tasteless coffee and food. Your life journey is no different – plan for chill out times, be with friends and family, take a moment to ‘smell the flowers’, appreciate where you’ve come from and take another look at where you want to be.
- Notice your destination – if you don’t take note of your destination how do you know when you’ve reached it? Keep your destination in mind at all times.
- Celebrate reaching your destination – when you notice you reach your destination celebrate, mark it is some way, pat yourself on the back, have a party, tell your friends, be joyous because you have succeeded!!
- Time to make another plan – reaching your destination doesn’t mean the end, it just means that it’s time to make another plan. Use the skills and experienced gained on your previous journeys and start to make another plan.
‘Nobody’s life is seamless or smooth. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. It’s just life’s way of saying time to change course’ – Oprah Winfrey
So, maybe it’s time to move out of the passenger seat and into the driver’s seat to take control and be aware of where you are going and, maybe more importantly why you’re going there.
Enjoy and have a safe journey!!
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