As you drive along windy roads, how do you approach the curves?
1) Are you focused inward, tuned into the rush you get in the moment you accelerate, clinging to the endorphins that blindly propel you forward?
2) Are you white-knuckling it, speeding through to get around the corner, fearing and fighting through each inch of progression with every fiber of your being, just wanting it to be over?
3) Are you seeing the road in front of you, the trees, rocks, and the sky around you? Are you aware of your body, your hands on the wheel, your feet on the pedals, your breath, the colors of the leaves, the smell in the air, the music playing, the person next to you, and the view just ahead?
Likely, you have metaphorically approached life’s curves in these and many other ways. When we look at these scenarios, the headspace experience and outcomes are all very different.
We might be addicted to the shot of energy and adrenaline that fuels us to keep going no matter the situation, quality of the outcome, or impact because it temporarily feels good. We find ourselves driven by seeking out opportunities to disconnect and get that next dopamine hit. Familiar results look like questionable quality, lack of trust from others, and endangerment to ourselves and those around us.
We might recognize that we are often “white knuckling it” through work projects, a relationship, and even our own thoughts. We may not see there is another way or we may not be clear on the purpose of what we are doing. We may just want to be done so we can move on to whatever is next. Results can be exhaustion, confusion, and uncertainty spilling into all aspects of our lives.
We might be focused on the present and taking in all the moment has to offer. Leveraging the here and now to bring clarity to what’s in front and ahead for us. We are present in thought, grounded in our physical body, and intentional in action. We bring lightness, encouragement, empowerment, and holistic positive results to people we interact with and ourselves.
We wouldn’t be human if we consistently approached life’s curves with a focused presence like this third reference, so be gentle with yourself. To support awareness and intentionality as we approach life’s curves, we can embody curiosity and ask ourselves some questions like, “Do we know when we are responding from fear or invincibility? When we have moments of awareness, do we have the tools and skills to shift our thinking and path forward? Can we focus on the present and intentionally generate meaningful outcomes for ourselves, our peers, and our loved ones?
Check-in with yourself as you navigate the curves in front of you and down the road. What behavior do you recognize as familiar, but isn’t generating the outcomes you desire? What are you willing to do to adjust your behavior to create meaningful outcomes?