You Control the Car

  1. Share
Impact of Leadership
0 0

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.

 

[email protected] 

Community tags

This content has 0 tags that match your profile.

Comments

To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

0
Going Through the Storm
Practicing Resilience in the Face of Trials Due to unfortunate genetics (mine), my eight-year-old son has been required to wear a very conspicuous orthodontic device day and night. It’s officially called a headgear and consists of a metal bar over his face, connecting a pad on his forehead to a pad on his chin. It pulls his upper jaw forward, ensuring that his bite will be aligned, and his teeth will one day be beautifully straight. He will have to wear it for a couple of months.   I feel for him. He has noticed lots of quizzical stares and overheard small children asking their parents to identify what he’s wearing.   He seems to be accepting it, in moments. The other night, while on a walk around the neighborhood, he jokingly told me that he’s developed an entire story about how the bar on his face is like a villain that he battles as he pedals his bike.   Yet, my Mama heart wishes this wasn’t the case. This is hard. I know it to be true because I had to do the same thing. When I was in the third grade, I had large blue glasses and the exact same headgear apparatus. I remember during class, drool would accidentally drip from my mouth and onto my desk. I would wipe it away as quickly as possible, praying that none of my classmates had noticed.   I wouldn’t have wished that on anyone, much less my son.   When we received the recommendation from the orthodontist, I almost told him, “Absolutely not,” but my husband, ever the practical one, insisted and I relented.   Why?   Because my husband is right. At the end of the headgear wearing trial which only lasts a couple months, there is a beautiful smile, which lasts a lifetime.   In this, there is a lesson: we can’t avoid the trial and expect to receive the positive results. We must go through it.   Nature reflects this principle. When a storm is brewing in the sky, cattle take notice and begin to move away from it. Since the cattle are slow, the storm eventually catches up to them and instead of avoiding the storm, the cattle find themselves smack in the middle of it and for an extended amount of time.   Buffalo, in contrast, sense a storm brewing and begin to move toward it, meeting the storm head on and going through it. In moving against the storm, they minimize the amount of time spent in it and decrease its damaging effects.   As leaders, we are to be the buffalo, not the bull. We are to help others face the trials, endure the storm and come out on the other side, more resilient. If we simply run away or avoid the trials when they arise—if we ignore the impending budget cuts, the supply chain issues, the staffing gaps or the volatile board members—we usually end up amid the storm anyway, watching rain run down our faces while we try to scramble for protection.   If, instead, we decide to see the storm on the horizon, create a plan for its approach and head toward it, we see that the storm wasn’t as bad as we had anticipated it would be.   I once found myself caught in the middle of a disagreement between my co-worker and my boss. In an effort to care for my co-worker, I had unwittingly seemed to side with her. She then proceeded to verbally bash my boss. I did not participate in the bashing, but I did leave the interaction feeling uncomfortable. Would my boss hear about the conversation and think that I had spoken ill of him? Or, worse, thought ill of him?   I decided to call him right away.   I apologized for my participation in the incident and for any confusion that might arise. I am proud to say that I faced that storm head on. I took action, and in doing so, weathered it for a much shorter time had I not done that.   There is no such thing as a life of endlessly sunny skies. While we don’t have to chase the storms, we can equip ourselves and our teams for them when they do come. The more we weather, the better we will be at weathering them.   I’ve been a mom for seven years. I have weathered some storms so far— surprise surgeries, changes in schools, a pandemic shutting down the world—and have become much more resilient as a result.   This headgear thing will soon become a blip on the radar of life, but until then, I’ll stand by my son as he weathers this storm, encouraging him forward through it, instead of backward away from it.   May we all be the buffalo.* ###   *This post was loosely based on IOL Podcast Episode #142 with Sharon Hulce, who mentions that when she was young, her father told her to, “be the buffalo.” Check it out!   Author: Ashley Buenger         
0
You Can Bring Up the Room
Choosing positivity and encouragement I recently sat in a meeting where those in leadership roles spoke very poorly to one another. Their tones were snippy, their responses were short, and their questions sounded loaded like large rifles ready to discharge should the answer cause even the slightest bit of frustration. I felt all the positive air in the room slowly leak out like a balloon pricked by a pin. Along with that positivity went any sort desire to participate in the meeting, and energy to volunteer for roles or tasks. I left feeling deflated and discouraged.    The same thing translates to home. I notice when my children and I get in the habit of speaking poorly to one another, (though we try not to, and this is a thing we talk about a lot) we all feel a little dejected, we don’t get nearly as much done and the tasks we do together become a drag.   I’ve noticed how we speak to each other matters and it matters a lot. We can either speak life into one another or we can lob words and phrases like monkeys throwing dung at the zoo.   Just as quickly as we can bring down a room with our short fuses, we can also bring it back up. All it takes is a kind word, small smile, or bit of patience. This can change someone else’s countenance from angry and frustrated, to gentle and understanding.   And that’s our job as leaders.   We see our disgruntled employee, experience their negativity and frustration, and we diffuse the situation with understanding and hope. We walk into a meeting that’s riddled with complaints and still we lead with positivity, kindness, and assurance.   We spend our time intentionally encouraging others and creating culture that does the same. We shine our light and we can make a difference, not only within the walls of the businesses we serve, but also in the hallways of the schools where our children attend, or the aisles of the grocery stores we frequent.   But it’s not easy and day in and day out we can find ourselves discouraged or tired or even just a little bit angry that others around us aren’t always doing the same. So how do we stay strong? How do we keep bringing light and encouraging others with positive words when the negativity can feel so big?   Allow me to encourage you with these few things:   You’re never alone God is with you and he will help you. I’ve had many a moment I’ve wanted to throw in the towel, either at work or at home. It felt too big, or too tiring, or I just didn’t want to be the one responsible anymore. When I stop and ask for God’s help, he always answers me. He inspires a friend to randomly drop flowers on my porch (true story), or a song plays on my Spotify shuffle with lyrics that hit home. Sometimes a bird flutters close, reminding me of his presence, or I find a small moment of peace soon after I’ve asked for his help. He reminds us in the book of Exodus as he’s talking with the Israelites, he says, “I will fight for you, you need only to be still.” We have a big God who fights for us, especially in the toughest of moments.   What you are doing matters Whether you are sitting in the VIP suite at Bucks games, wiping runny noses of children at home, mopping floors in office buildings or all three, or two of those, or something else entirely, you are where you are supposed to be and the work you are doing makes a difference. The more you understand and believe that, the more you will be able to persevere through the tough days, empathize with those around you, and even inspire others through difficult trials.   You are good at what you do You are equipped for what you have been called to do. Much like God equipped Moses, David and Mary, God does not place people in roles and then leave them to flounder. Each day, you have what you need to do your job well. With that confidence, you can go forth with joy and positivity, learning and growing and bringing positive light to even the most aggravating of circumstances.   When the days feel long, and the conversations feel frustrating, when you’ve endured yet another problem at work, or whiny child at home, remember these things and let them lead you to persevere through the hardship and continue to choose words that encourage others. Remember, you can bring up the room.   Author: Ashley Buenger