Take charge of your driver's seat

In my last podcast and blog post, I used the driver’s seat analogy for you to picture a mindset and attitude you should build to confidently "own" your life.

I received a lot of feedbacks of resonance and quite a few of you came with wishes for a deep dive into the story about the "driver’s seat".

What does the driver’s seat mean?
What does it look like being in the driver’s seat?

Imagine you are a car driver. You know your destination and you have total ownership of how to get there. Sometimes you change the lanes, slow down, speed up, etc. Whatever happens on the way, you make your decisions on your own. You don’t ask for permission or for solutions from other drivers, you just act on your own knowledge, experiences and your goal’s objective.

The driver’s seat is a position where you must have total control of yourself. No one sits in the driver’s seat without a purpose; everyone gets in with a clear goal in mind. Whether that is your own wish to change something or is a role, project, or task that is brought to you by your job, it is important that you are in your own driver’s seat, making your own decisions.

We can apply this attitude to both our professional and private lives. Unfortunately I often hear employees asking their companies or managers what plans they have for them as a next career step. Many times I see people who are working to fulfil their family’s expectations or are expecting their spouse to bring them happiness and fulfilment.

You can definitely ask others’ opinions, but the final decision should be with you. 

To master being in the driver’s seat of your professional life is crucial for true success, but this matter gets slightly more complicated in the corporate world, though it shares many similarities.

If you are leading a team, department or company and want to achieve a common goal with your employees, it is important to realize that you are not only driving your own car. You are also responsible for leading others into their own driver’s seats and helping them drive their way with great motivation.

A leader, if you want to be called a leader, should be able to envision the future and describe what it looks like. You need to engage with your follower (not only upper management) and they should clearly be able to picture themselves in the joint vision. If they are captivated by it, they will be excited to achieve the goal with you.

Plus, it is equally important that you should give your follower the freedom of "how" to drive there. This is how anyone can be fully creative and take charge of their own driver’s seat. No one wants to be told how to drive each kilometer.

I invite you all to reflect on this aspect of your current position. This is one of the most valuable lesson I learned from my own experiences working with people from multiple cultures in leading positions in global organisations where people think, act, speak, and collaborate differently. If some of you are working in a company that has an international presence or a multi cultural environment, I believe you are nodding your heads while reading this. 

Closing the story with a few easy take aways to start your own ride with confidence and happiness.

Buckle up:

Safety first. Do you have all the information needed? Be prepared for situations which can come on your way. Be prepared for the things that could happen in the way. It will help you to feel strong and stable. 

Be clear about your destination:

Are you clear where you are going to and why? Double-check if you totally understand what this trip is about. If this is clear in your life, you will never feel lost.

Keep your eyes on a traffic:

Broaden your horizons to understand overall situations. If you are the leader, periodically look around if everyone is on track. 

Take control of your speed:

Make sure to choose the right speed. Don’t go too fast and also don’t creep along. Different from road traffic, there are no signs telling you how fast to go. However there are surroundings and teams from which you can reflect your speed.

Get gas:

Give yourself energy, invest in yourself and take a proper break if it is a long journey. Otherwise, you run the risk of stopping in the middle of the highway which is not what you want.

Use blinkers:

Give clear signs. Don’t expect others to understand what you are thinking automatically without a clear expression from your side. Be clear where you want to go first so that others can cooperate with you.  

Honk when necessary:

Don’t hesitate to give early warning signs to prevent a bump.

Turn on the music:

Have fun! Enjoy the process as much as the destination. 

Cheers to you everyone! I hope you all will be in your own driver’s seat with a big smile of confidence! If this blog resonated with you and you want to work on your own driver’s seat, I would love to connect and help you. Feel free to reach out and ask me your questions.