With the beginning of any new year we all have new
hopes, dreams and objectives.
The question isn't whether we have them
(we all do), but instead how we fulfill on them.
If your hopes,
dreams and objectives that you have for your work and
home life were a bus, who may I ask is driving
You see, many of us
relegate the driving to someone else. When we have
someone else driving our bus, it sounds like
- I have no choice;
I have to work 10 hour days to handle all the work
- I am stuck, I
have a job I hate, but my family depends on me
- I never get to do
what I want to do; I am just too busy with taking care
of everyone else
- I can't keep up;
nobody seems to pick up the slack around here but
We are trained to
believe that putting our nose to the grind stone and
just getting it done is the only way to free up time to
accomplish our goals.
Quite the contrary,
the more you do that, the further you are from
fulfilling on your hopes, dreams and objectives.
In fact, they move further and further away from you
until one day you even forget what they
We believe that we must be self-less and
jump at the every whim or need of those around
us. You jump for bosses, for spouses, for
children, for parents and for communities.
Instead, you need to be self-interested and serve
yourself first to be able to serve those
around you in a way
that doesn't destroy you.
While life often teaches us that it is
critical to occasionally let go of the wheel of our bus
and make way of uncontrollable external factors, it
never requires us to fully relegate the driver's seat to
those external factors or circumstances.
This became very
clear to me last month.
Over this past holiday season my dear
friend Jon died of a heart attack. He was
56. He was a loving friend, husband, and brother
who did so much for others; all at the expense of
week before he died I had the opportunity to speak with
him and he was stressed out to the max. He had
just buried his mother and was the responsible one
handling all the details left behind. He was
burning the midnight oil at his job because he felt he
had to in order to wrap up the year. I told him
that he needed time and space to grieve and to
rest. He knew he did too but he didn't stop.
He felt he had to serve others and not let them
Jon was indisputably an amazing giver.
He put others' needs often above his own. But, his
giving was not sustainable. His heart gave
out. Literally and figuratively, it gave out
because he didn't take the time to fill it up.
Unfortunately, he allowed others to drive his
bus at the expense
At his funeral I
learned that one of Jon's goals was to write a book so
he would be remembered. He wanted to leave his
mark and make an impact so that he was "not just a
picture in the hall that hangs like an antiquity which
third generation relatives point at and say: Who is
that?" He believed that he had a life worth
And he did.
But he never was able to do that.
Many of us are no
different than Jon. We have purposeful hopes,
dreams and goals. However, we let jobs or
obligations drive us instead of us driving them.
I was no
different. For more than 20 years I had no idea
where my bus was going. I had lost sight
of what mattered to me most and I jumped whenever anyone
It took lots of courage for me to move
towards self-interest and move away from self-less
behavior. It required me to say no more
often or to propose a different way to get the job done
so it also worked for my family and me.
It meant disappointing people at times or
simply dealing with my own internal judgments which
often confuse self-interest with
Driving your bus
doesn't mean you don't want to help, support or do
things for others. Quite the contrary;
it means you want to be able to do this for the
long-haul while preserving and nurturing yourself.
This is the place where you have the ability to
make your greatest impact.
The goal is to give your heart at work
and at home, without having your heart give-out like
So, I ask you again: who is
driving your bus?
are having a great New Year!
is an award-winning author of The
Connected and Committed Leader. She is
also a consultant, and a Birkman Method certified
business and life coach who has been featured on the
Today Show and Fox News. In addition, her
accomplishments have been highlighted in several
business periodicals including Personal
Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston
Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business
Times. Her articles on management and leadership are
regularly seen in Leadership Excellence.