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|Thanks to TobyOtter for the great pic!|
A few months ago my nearest and dearest and I were driving to North Carolina. Part of that journey includes driving on the West Virginia turnpike a hilly, curvy freeway that is full of semi’s all trying to make good time. It can be an exhilarating, scary and sometimes fun part of the drive. We had planned to stay overnight in WV and then continue on the following morning. As we approached the hotel, it was dark, the road was hilly, curvy and covered with light fog. We couldn’t see very well in front of us but I kept driving on, making good time, getting us to our destination. The next morning when we started out again, it was day light, no fog and we could see for miles. Surprisingly, I noticed I was much more timid in my driving, now I could see far ahead of me and see the cliffs I was driving close to and the upcoming hills and twists and turns that were approaching.
My nearest and dearest (ever the observant one) noticed right away that I was more timid and asked what was wrong..naturally we both assumed since visibility was so much greater I should be feeling more secure in my driving. But honestly since I could see what was coming I not only had to deal with the curves I knew about but I was stressing about the curves ‘yet to come’
It struck me that the more I paid attention to what was coming up the more afraid I became. I think that happens frequently in our lives that sometimes we get so caught up in looking ahead at ‘what might happen’ we get too scared to make decisions based on what’s actually happening. We become frozen in the what if’s or the terrible things that appear to be approaching. When I was able to relax and remembered that I had been fine on this road, 12 hours earlier, in the dark and fog I started to only pay attention to the current road. I knew there were curves ahead but I quit dwelling on them.
So frequently when clients come into my office feeling paralyzed and timid they have been looking too far down the road. The best way I have found to help clients is to help them implement a plan, a step by step action plan that they can come back to when they get overwhelmed. They may start looking too far down the road but when you know the plan, you know today I need to do a. and then you can start on a. rather then getting overwhelmed by h, m, and x. When my clients start putting one foot in front of the other, making decisions and moving forward they start living and working happier.
Here’s to keeping your eyes on the road.