“You should always know when you’re shifting gears in life. You should leave your era; it should never leave you.” The legendary African American opera singer, Leontyne Price, is quoted making this statement. It’s funny how reading a quote can trigger a thought. This made me think of when my husband attempted to teach me how to drive a stick shift. Before he actually took me for my first driving lesson, he taught me about the difference between an automatic and stick shift. An automatic transmission does all the work for you; whereas, driving a stick shift makes you do the work. Similarly, if you are just cruising through life, then you’re just driving an automatic. Moving toward your goals is like the experience I had in learning how to drive my husband’s old car.
Much like a race car driver pursuing the checkered flag at the finish line, we must learn to shift gears in life to reach our goals. So, what did I learn from my driving experience?
The clutch pedal is used when moving up or down from one gear to another. Knowing when to shift comes from understanding your landscape. Did you move too slow in 2016? Then, it’s time for you to shift to a high gear to gain some momentum this year. Perhaps, you ended the year going 90 mph. It’s time for you down shift to a lower gear, so you don’t miss your turn.
Neutral is not a gear; actually, it is the absence of gear. When the engine is running in neutral, you can rev up the engine, but you won’t go anywhere. Maybe you’re stuck. Are you starting the year with the same goal, in the same place as last year? It’s time for you to shift from neutral to first gear to get moving in the right direction.
The 1st thru 5th gear help you up move the car forward. Each gear has a minimum and maximum speed range. A skilled driver knows when he/she needs to be in 2nd gear versus 4th gear. If you try to shift to a higher gear at the wrong speed, the car will stall. Likewise, moving into a position that you are not prepared for will leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Just as my husband prepared before driving a stick shift, make sure you are prepared by understanding the landscape of what lies ahead. Apply these powerful lessons and learn to shift gears to win.