Is It Time for You to Shift Gears and Stop Living your Life on Cruise Control?

Do you drive a standard? Chances are you’ll answer in the negative. Even though you may have learned years ago, the stick-shift is being phased out of production and in driver trainer schools, too. It is a fact that, in North America, the majority of car owners opt for an automatic and, if you are a woman, the likelihood is even higher. Conversations with people who work in the automotive industry confirm these generalizations while most are capable of and prefer to “have more input” into the driving experience. In fact, many of these car enthusiasts wonder why anyone would ever want automatic transmission. “Isn’t the whole point of driving to feel the road?”

Admittedly, I, myself, haven’t yet managed the eye-hand coordination for the standard transmission, and have Cruise Control as one of my ‘must-haves’ when purchasing or renting a vehicle. It is one of the few areas of my life where I am prepared to coast. It did make me wonder, however…

Are you living your LIFE on Cruise Control? It’s easy to do – keeping the same pace, staying in your designated lane, within the speed limit. It is comfortable to know the route ahead of you is predictable and familiar. There’s no risk to maintain the status quo and accept the ‘same old, same old’ as being good enough. For many people, this sense of security gives them peace of mind. So, it’s easy to understand why people choose to repeat the same patterns, even when they land them in the same place every time; it’s easy to understand why people choose not to challenge themselves and take the road less travelled. It is easy, after all, even if it isn’t that comfortable – ending up with the same results all of the time.

The “danger” of Cruise Control, that may go undetected for years, is that you are never fully aware of what is passing you by. You give over control of your journey. You don’t really “feel” the road. I, myself, drove this way for many years. On a cross-province trip years ago, I realized that my mind was so fixed on the destination (the time I would arrive, the route I would take, the cost of gas) that I failed to enjoy the beauty of the trip. Newfoundland and Labrador is a beautiful province and I had never taken the time to simply appreciate it. With this wisdom, I acknowledged that I was living my life this way, too. Goal-oriented to a fault, I was focused on the outcome at all times, on achievement and reward. I was successful in the eyes of many but what I lacked was happiness. I covered up that lack for a while, pretending to be someone that I was not, deflecting focus from myself to others whose needs I put ahead of my own. When I was clearly exhausted and my spirit significantly beaten down, I got real with myself and stopped living life on Cruise Control.

I knew that in order for me to experience true fulfillment, I had to make some deliberate choices that would bring my life in alignment with my personal values. I have been on this journey for 10 years now and the results have been remarkable. No more life on Cruise Control for me. Sometimes, I veer off course, arrive later than expected, and even break down. But, more often, my journey takes me to places that are more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I am grateful to have chosen to live in possibility, enjoy the ride, and create a life that excites. This does come with risk and requires lots of courage. Know that you have all you need to navigate your journey. Isn’t it time for you to shift gears and truly feel the road?

When I decided to take back control, it changed my life. I am happy to share the lessons I’ve learned and help others create and enjoy the ride of their lives!

outdoor-headshot_July2012Lisa L. Payne, BBA, MER, CPC is President of Connections for Success Inc. To her corporate clients, she offers executive coaching, motivational addresses, and a new interactive workshop called “Engage and Excite Your Team through Change: 7 Steps to Create a Culture of Empowerment.” She is also the author of “What If They Knew? Secrets of an Impressive Woman.” Check out her website http://LisaLPayne.com for coaching programs and corporate workshops, or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or YouTube.

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