business, perspective

The Driver’s Seat

What does the driver’s seat look like from the helm/cockpit of a vehicle? What does it look like from the passenger side, also known as the co-pilot seat? What about the view from the back seat or third-row seat?

Do those viewpoints change if you are driving in your best friend’s ride or your spouse’s car, riding with Grandma or maybe you are on a motorcycle? I suppose all passenger seats should look different than the driver’s seat! Maybe the music is different. Maybe the conversation is different. Maybe the aroma in the vehicle is different. Maybe the volume level is different. Maybe the stress level is different. The driver may alter their norm to adjust to the passengers and/or environment. Similarly the view from the passenger vantage point could vary based on occupants or length of time in said seat.

The driver is the captain. The boss. The big cheese. The controlling party. The leader. The responsibility starts and ends with that one person. Making sure one gets from point A to point B responsibly. The critical decisions, the pinpoint turns, the accurate lane changes, and the head-on-a-swivel-at-all-times mentality. I mean if you slack in any of those areas an accident could happen on the roadway. In the blink of an eye.

Could life mirror the driver’s seat if you are the CEO of a company, the branch manager of a bank, the operations manager of a warehouse, and so on? Why yes, it could. Sitting in the passenger side is fun. It comes with no pressure: no gas money needed, no insurance required, and no car payment.  

In business the boss is less likely to call out sick in comparison to a team member or passenger. Anyone can fill the passenger role but in most cases the business driver has a specific skill set. One which is harder to replace in an instant. For instance, the business owner has to make critical decisions that may impact others while a passenger can just provide commentary in most instances. The driver’s decisions must be strategic and sensible.

I know first hand many young adults don’t have their own car because they don’t want the responsibility of a car note, insurance or gas money. It’s far easier in this day and age to ride share with say Uber or bum a ride from a friend who has reliable transportation. Why lead and take responsibility when you can coast as a passenger in life?

In the business world life can be tough for a decision maker. A leader. A driver of any business. The one who has to set the tone. Find the path. Chart the course or route. Engage the resources/passengers. Make decisions on staying open or closed in tough times. This can be hard and a delicate balance at times. Those who never walk in these shoes would find it hard to understand the challenge but be quick to pass a judgement.

A passenger in business could be a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.  An unassuming threat. A slacker of sorts. A clock watcher for both the beginning and ending of their shift. Waiting to prey on the driver/leader etc. to solve their issues. I know other intertwined scenarios where a passenger could struggle with the driver or vice versa. Or maybe a driver is erroneously in a passenger seat; would they attempt to distract or sabotage the driver? Is that a possible outcome?

Is life about compromise? Do we really want natural leaders to compromise or do we want them to do what they do best, lead? Can a passenger grow to lead? Who do you want to be your driver in the car or in life? Are there risks and rewards to each scenario? So many questions.

Just another food for thought post.

inspire

Daydreaming

I love it when I find somebody or something that inspires me. Today it was Spanx. Not the pants, although they are amazing it was their founder.

The one, the only Sara Blakely. A bad ass boss woman who supports others with her posts, her generosity, her wisdom, her experience and so much more.

I saw this first hand this year when she hired an up-and-coming local college graduate at her firm. Next time was when COVID hit and she directed funds to her Red Backpack grant program. I saw it again today with the post above on LinkedIn. What an influencer. What a shining example for women in business.

In today’s world when so much is crazy and uncertain she points to herself. She uses herself as an example. She talks about the non-traditional path she traveled to get where she is today.

She talks about hard work, challenging times and starting with her own daydream. She chipped away at her daydream until she could sustain herself and others.

What a beautiful thing. Success is a great but those who share their successes, experience and know-how with others is equally beautiful.

Keeping with the name of the post, what is your daydream? What are you doing to make that dream a reality?

Don’t have a daydream? Starting dreaming know. You will at least enjoy the dreaming process even if you are not ready to take flight yourself.

Dream big.

perspective

Cranky Pants

This chick is cranky and opinionated! At least I admit it and at least I am comfortable publishing my cranky, emotional and somewhat opinionated stories and rants. Knowing full well said stories are read worldwide….a fun fact I am super proud of.

Fun fact: this past month our readership skyrocketed. Not sure why but it did. Cheers to all you newbies out there reading along. We adore you from afar.

This post is also not about something current in my life that should make you wonder if you know me and are reading this. I wrote this a while ago and just opted to publish it now. A blast from the past so to speak, However it rings true when I hear or experience life through my lens and thus I figure it was time to share my thoughts.

I am at a loss at society today. One can look at the craziness on the news and see all the horror the world has to offer. But I am in control of what I watch and what I am exposed to as an adult. And for that reason alone I rarely watch the news it’s just too depressing.

As a parent sometimes you just open an email from school only to see how vile people are. Offering your kids drugs at school, writing death threats on the bathroom wall or even worse. Times are changing and bad news travels faster than the speed of light thanks to the internet.

The yellow school bus kids ride isn’t even a sanctuary anymore. Bullying and isolating happens on the daily to those who are different. I often shake my head and think who raises their kid to be ugly to others? It’s unfortunate as our kids still have developing brains and don’t have the foresight needed to tune out the negative vibes like we can as adults. It’s just awful to watch in some instances.

I choose to focus on the positives in life. A few positives: I have my good health, my good friends and an amazing family. I have a nice roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and I am fortunate to be active in the community. I volunteer when I can and I make a concerted effort to impact others each week in a positive manner.

So what could possibly make me cranky? Life makes me cranky. All the takers in life weigh on me daily. Takers are near and far. Takers are people or entities who want to take things away from you that you work so hard for.

Takers sometimes come disguised as friends but I say frienemies. The friends you tolerate that you don’t trust as far as you can throw them. The ones who are nice to your face but then throw you under a bus the first chance they can to elevate their personal image. I’m sure everyone has at least one in their life.

Or maybe it is your boss at the office who tells you to your face that you are the best thing since sliced bread then turns and tells your coworkers how incompetent you are. Maybe it’s a friend of the family or neighbor who pretends they are supporting you but then sweep in and snag your valuables. Valuables can be defined differently for each situation. And then there is the big taker, The corporate greed monster. The big fish in the little sea. That entity who likes to sue people with limited resources to take out the competition. Or maybe it’s a strategy the big company has thinking your firm doesn’t have the capital to defend a frivolous lawsuit. Or maybe that big company thinks they can bully you with the threat of a lawsuit. The last scenario is just like the school bus bully but the kid grew up. He is still just a bully. Different disguise but still a bully.

The list goes on and on but the moral of the story is life is tough. Whatever your battle you must find your sunshine and let it light the way to new beginnings. Learning this simple life lesson in your early and formative years with help you navigate the adult world that is harsh and full of takers waiting to prey on you whenever one sees a moment of vulnerability.

Ignore those in today’s society who judge you for having a mask on or off. For those who roll their eyes when you say you want to enjoy the fresh air outside. For those who are so wrapped up in corona that they want to bully others online or in person. Just mute them!

This is yet another post from the vault. An oldie but goodie. A fresh corona spin added and here we are at the end of the story, for now.

Remember to watch your back somebody is always on your tail no matter what stage of life you are in. Don’t stay a cranky pants. Keep evolving. Never stand still. As long as you are looking forward whatever is in the rear view is the past. And nobody can change your future but you.

fitness and nutrition

Follow My Lead

I’d been on this mountain many times. I grew up in its shadow. One summer I worked at a restaurant near the foot of it and climbed it every afternoon when I got out off my shift. In peak shape I would scramble up then jog down. My fastest round trip was 28 minutes back then.

I don’t do it nearly as often or as quickly these days. I live 30 minutes away and my life practically never sends me in that direction. But I try to do a long bike ride every Sunday, so I pegged Stone Mountain for today’s ride.

There’s a hilly 5-mile loop popular with bikers that circles the bottom of the mountain. I pushed through that loop more than once before my legs begged me to stop, or at least to make a change.

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I still had time, so then, in a crazy last-second heat-addled decision, I decided to climb just like old times. I had my AirPods in, I was in the zone. A bit slower than I wanted, but I already had some miles on those legs so I wasn’t too mad. Just one foot in front of the other.

It’s not too bad a climb until you hit StairMaster hill. Suddenly the granite just kicks up from manageably rocky to sheer and steep. Like lean-forward-at-a-45-degree-angle-while-you-shuffle-up steep. I passed several people on the hill, taking breaks. My steps were small but I just kept going.

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Maybe 20 yards after the hill I needed a minute to catch my breath. I don’t usually need breaks on the mountain, but I listened to my body and stepped aside well off the trail under some trees for a quick breather.

I turned to look back at the view and was stunned when, instead of hazy skyline, I see 4 people walking directly behind me. They all stopped suddenly and looked up at me. I had never seen any of these people in my life. Two men, two women, staring. But from their pull off the trail and stunned looks, it was clear they had been following my lead. After about 10 seconds of awkwardness, they moved back into the path and continued toward the top of the mountain in two separate pairs.

It’s not surprising that I was oblivious to the people hot on my heels. Music on, mind adrift, solo exercise is my zone-out time. What I couldn’t understand is why? Why follow me? It’s a clear path with dozens of people on it. I do have that nerdy, friendly librarian look where people ask me questions all the time in all kinds of contexts. But this was a no brainer. Just keep going up.

Maybe it was my pace, I thought. Maybe I looked like I knew what I was doing. I will never know.

What stayed with me is that there are times when we are leading but we may not know it.  We may not ask for it.  We may not see ourselves as leaders.  But, at times we are leading nonetheless.  

Maybe it’s not a literal mountain.  Instead, it might be going public with struggles, with triumphs, with progress, with challenges. Just living your life on purpose is leadership. No title needed. A neighbor stopped me the other day to tell me I inspired her to get moving because she sees me out walking the neighborhood. My daughter’s childhood youth group leader recently messaged me from out if the blue to ask about CrossFit, after watching my changes.

The people following you may not know your whole story.  They probably have their own goals, even agendas.  It could be they just like your pace.  Or you look like you know what you’re doing.  

You’re leading even if people don’t tell you. Near and far, people are watching. Think for a moment. What are you leading them to?