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Who’s Driving Your Life?

I am driven by the expectations, I “perceive” others have of me. I feel myself energized when I am needed. Yet, I find I lack the same energy when it comes to my own needs. Where is my drive to meet my own expectations?

Like racing down a street to get someplace and arriving not feeling like you are satisfied with the destination. All the adrenaline, the draining of your energy, is freely given away. When you get there, your exhausted and strangely unsatisfied.

Can you relate? Try noticing what happens at work or at home when you are attempting to plan, set goals, prioritize, or any type of self-reflection that generates your own expectation for yourself. Do you put others needs first? Are you so busy taking care of “things” that are expected of you, you find your day flies by without any thought of what you wanted to accomplish?

I am not suggesting that we do not have obligations in our lives. We earn money to care for our families and ourselves. We strive to do better, in order to get to a better place in our life. These are important aspects of living and are part of our drive. For the purpose of this blog, let’s consider these to be the car that takes us down the road. The road being the boundaries of our lives.

Let’s focus on the driver. The person in control. Do you drive fast? Do you follow all the rules of the road? What type of driver are you? What route do you take, the one that gets you there fastest or the one that you enjoy taking?

In studying character for the last year, it has become clear that we can easily live in our comfort zone. Like driving to work and not even realizing how you got there.  When I became certified in a set of assessment tools from Tilt365, my application of how character effects our lives expanded. With increasing knowledge of how our character impacts our behavior, I am aware it is only a small part of how I change the way I am driving my life. Knowledge alone is not enough.

Learning to drive took time and energy. At first, I had to be aware of all I knew about how to drive while I drove. I eventual improved with practice. This applies to how I drive my life. If I want to have more energy for my own goals, plans, priorities, etc. I must take the time and energy to change my behavior.

How do I practice changing my behavior, when my natural inclination is to do what I believe others expect of me? Where is the energy to be a better version of me? Where is the motivation to make an investment in myself, when I seek the validation of others that I am performing up to their standards? Does this resonate with you?

When I can remember my “why” or what I prefer to call my purpose, I am able to shift enough to make the investment in myself. My purpose is to live a life enriched with continuous learning and to empower others to be all they can be. If this is true, how can I allow other to tell me how to drive!

When I make that shift, I begin the process of actually moving from knowledge to action. Here are the steps I recommend to shift the way you are driving:

1.Schedule - Start with scheduling time to figure out what your purpose is, your why. It doesn’t have to be the purpose of your whole life; it could be the purpose of a single goal. This is so important to what will become your home base to return to when you fall back into old behaviors which no longer drive you in the right direction. This becomes your GPS back to your desired outcome.

2.Identify – Reflect on what triggers you to keep taking the same route, even though it doesn’t get you to where you want to go. What keeps you from taking the route you prefer?

3.Notice - Become aware of how it, the trigger, is showing up in your life. Can you catch it before you start driving down that old route?

4.Replace – Pick an alternative route. For example, when I stop taking time for the things that are important to me, I will ask myself, what route is best for me at this time. Ultimately, this represents a choice. I may choose the passenger’s request if it is more important than my own. As long as I am at choice, I am driving!

5.Practice, practice, practice… until it is as natural as driving a car.

Personally, I believe you need to do this with one area in which you wish to choose your route and practice until it has become part of you. Your first step is to CLAIM that you are worth setting time for what’s important to you. Schedule time to figure out what route you are tired of driving. What ever that means to you.

Once you learn how to shift into choosing your route. Then it is time to take on another change. Until, one day you awake to living a life where you are driving in complete control.

I started this blog revealing my own desire to change the route I drive. I am working the above steps by letting go of what I “think” (or perceive) people expect and doing what is important regardless of if it comes from others or myself. This is my choice, now I need to practice.

I am excited to keep exploring who is driving my life. For me it is a lifelong journey. I know I will always have an opportunity to positively impact the way I show up in this world. This impacts everyone I interact with, hence bringing me back to my purpose and never getting lost.

How will you choose to drive your life?

Laura Di Tomasso, ACC