You Control the Car

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Doing business at your own pace


My daughter is going off to college in the Fall and while I’m so proud of her for taking the opportunity to leave home and grow, I’m also sad to say that she’s going all the way to Ohio. It’s a small Christian school that she loves and it’s within driving distance, but it does require driving through Chicago. On a recent trip there, she asked me if there was any way that she could get there without driving through Chicago. We looked at a map and realized there wasn’t.


My wife suggested that I help my daughter with her fear by taking her on a drive through the city while coaching her along the way. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea. This wasn’t baking cookies with my daughter. It was coaching her through the chaos of driving while other drivers went past us at 70 or 80 miles an hour. 


I knew that it was going to be hard and scary for the both of us.


We decided to take the drive on a Sunday afternoon. Before we started, I told her, “You control your actions, you control the car, but you have to be aware of your surroundings.”


We saw it all—accidents, highway patrol chases, traffic, and cars swerving to the off-ramps. We also saw drivers who were going 100 miles per hour or even faster.


That’s when I realized this is a lot like business. In business or in life, if the car is going too fast, then slow it down.

We are responsible for ourselves, for our car.

If you need to pull over and take a break, then do it.

Other people around you may go 90 or 100 miles per hour and they will cause panic, but you need to stay calm.

Stay in your lane and don’t react out of emotion because that will cause accidents in life.


The thing is that you have to actually be IN the car and driving in order to learn how to drive. You can’t stand on the side of the highway and expect to be a good driver. No. You have to take risks, get in the car and drive through one of the busiest cities in the U.S. Yes, you will make mistakes and yes, sometimes you will feel stressed out, but on the other side of the trip, you will be so proud of the things that you have accomplished.


I’m happy to say that my daughter made it to Indiana without an accident and we stopped for coffee and a breather. After that, we got right back into the car and drove back home because we keep going and we don’t give up.


At IOL, we are leaders who are not always perfect at driving the car, but we do always show up. We get in that seat and give it a go, sometimes we have to turn around or pull over or we decide that our destination is something different than we thought it would be, but we do it with integrity, which is one of our core values.


As leaders, we want to leave a legacy and ask ourselves what kind of impact we are making. By taking my daughter on that Sunday drive, I was showing up for her and being the one to teach her something hard, even though it was a little scary for the both of us. She thanked me after, and I knew that what I had done made an impact on her.


Yes, we are working to make an impact in our businesses but also in our homes. I’m a firm believer in making sure that we are leaving a legacy in both places.


So, what kind of legacy are you leaving? Reach out to me and we can talk about it.


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