Where DO you want to go? Look there.

September 4, 2014

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Eyes Ahead by Molly Davis

Recently I was talking to a younger woman on the phone.  She is at a cross-roads.  One of many she will  encounter, and that is giving her pause to consider questions most of us will recognize.  

What do I want my life to look like? 

What is my work?

How can I craft a life that allows me to work at something I love, pays me well and makes a difference in the world that is within my grasp?

As I listened to her sift through her thoughts and feelings, I was struck by the language she  used to articulate her desires and vision for her life.  Most sentences began with what she DIDN’T want.  Hearing her focus her attention on where she absolutely DID-NOT-WANT-TO-GO reminded me of a lesson my mom taught me while I was learning to drive.  Growing up in Portland Oregon, also known as Bridgetown due to the 11 bridges that span two rivers flowing through the city, driving over the bridges was good practice.  Several were old and narrow and I found myself gripping the wheel as I couldn’t take my eyes off the oncoming cars and trucks.  The harder I stared at them, the bigger they loomed, the more afraid I became, the slower I drove and the more the car seemed to veer directly where I absolutely DID-NOT-WANT-TO-GO.  The next time we were headed for another near-death experience on a bridge, Mom said “Be aware of the oncoming traffic, check your mirrors, take note of any and everything around you, and then look ahead to where you want to go.  Focus your eyes and attention there.” in the twinkling of my re-focused eyes, my confidence to steer our car safely over the bridge increased.  With more practice, while aware of them, I was no longer fixated on those big trucks and the oncoming traffic.  Bridges no longer scared me.  They were simply a way to get me from here to there.

Pulling myself off of that memory lane and back into the flow of the current conversation, I suggested the possibility of being better able to steer the course of her own life by placing her focus on what she DID want to have happen, and on where she DID want to go.  Might that one change shift her into a different gear, and help her navigate the bridge before her from here to there with more confidence and clarity?  

When we talked a week later she started the conversation by sharing how important that shift had been.  As often happens, awareness precedes change. She has been able to hear herself veer towards the middle line into the oncoming traffic of what she doesn’t want.  As her focus shifts towards what she does, traction in that direction is increasing. 

Whatever it is that we are attempting to grow, build and create in our lives, I think my mom was pretty wise.  We have a much better chance at arriving at our desired destination if we set our eyes there.  To be clear, that driving lesson all those years ago didn’t save me from staring directly at the the front of plenty of metaphorical oncoming trucks and concrete embankments, steep cliffs and deep pot-holes.  But I keep practicing and continue to learn to more ably and deftly steer my own course.  

Thanks Mom. 





4 Responses to “Where DO you want to go? Look there.”

  1. Margie Says:

    Great post, Mol!!!! My mom said the same:)

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. David Berry Says:

    “Awareness precedes change.” Amen to that!

  3. Andrea Says:

    So true Molly. You know, the same applies to riding a horse or a motorcycle – look to where you want to go and the horse/motorcycle will follow. Thanks for sharing.

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