Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Look Ahead Where You Want to Go

I hate to drive. During the last 14 years that I have lived in the Bay Area, I can count on one hand the number of times I have driven a car, even though I have a license. Consequently, my driving skills are pretty rusty and I am a nervous driver. I have decided that this is the year to get my driving skills up to par so I bought this very helpful and somewhat hilarious book by Norman Klein, Drive Without Fear.

For 36 years, Mr. Klein taught mainly older women, whose husbands had died or become ill, how to drive. He devotes a whole chapter to steering. According to Norman, if you can steer, you can drive (and if you can't, forget it). He talks about students who watch the nose of the car or the emblem on their steering wheel to keep the car straight, and he tells them that the most important thing is to look straight ahead and to, "Look where you want to go."

This seems like such obvious advice, and yet many of his students look everywhere except in front of them. Some stare at stop signs as they approach and veer off towards the side of the road. One woman watches the scenery pass by her side windows. When he asked her why she does this she said, "I thought this car was automatic."

In my individual coaching practice with people going through a career transition, I would say that looking ahead where you want to go is also one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give. When changing careers, it is important to focus your energy on as specific a goal as possible without spending a lot of time getting stuck in the obstacles (stop signs), perpetual introspection (nose of the car) or everything else on your "to do" list (scenery). But like driving, not only do you need to keep your focus on where you want to go, but you also need to move forward by taking action.

A long time ago I thought I wanted to be a massage therapist, until I took a class and realized that I had to massage naked people I didn't know. Yuck! If I hadn't taken action towards that goal, I never would have known that it wasn't right for me.

If you look ahead where you want to go and take action, eventually, you will get there.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:51 AM

    You had me laughing out loud about the part about you having to massage naked people! As I am looking for a new career path I appreciate the advice: look where you are going! The scenery is nice too though :-)I know you appreciate that. I love you B. and your thoughtful advice/ideas. Can't wait to see you again.
    Stace

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  2. The book has gotten really good reviews on Amazon.com - something rare to see in a book on this subject.

    I am an international student who lived in a large city in Asia and never felt the need to drive there. Now that I live in a college town in the US, I feel the lack of driving skills sorely.

    I am also one of those chosen few who is unafraid to stand up and speak before one hundred people but am mortally afraid of taking the wheel. I'm looking forward to Mr. Klein's book to help me move past what I believe is a largely phobic reaction I have to an everyday task.

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  3. Good luck, Conal. I know you can do it!

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  4. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Hi Ms Bravo
    Nice blog! May I ask: two years on from buying Klein's book on driving, are you still happy with it? Do you have any further comments on it?
    Best wishes
    Alastair

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  5. Hi Alastair,

    I haven't looked at the book in a while so I don't have any new thoughts about it (:

    Britt

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  6. Frank8:40 PM

    I know it's been a while since you wrote this review, but do you remember if the book has good info on parking and parking situations? Besides staying in my lane, that's the one area I need to work on.

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  7. Hi Frank,

    I read this a long time ago, so I don't remember the details of what was in it. I just skimmed through the table of contents and it doesn't look like it has a chapter on parking, but I am certain he talks about it. It is probably worth your reading either way.

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  8. vatsla K6:39 PM

    Hi there! I read your review on amazon and thats how I got to your blog. I am in desperate need for a book that will help me overcome my recently developed driving phobia. Surprisingly enough, I have been driving for 8 years and all of a sudden I developed a phobia. Most of the reviews on amazon were by folks that were new drivers.. I am wondering if the book will help me. I would like to email with you about how the book helped you if you dont mind. my email is vatslak@yahoo.com

    Thanks!!

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