Friday, June 30, 2017

Knowing When to Shift

By Wolfgang Staudt from Saarbruecken, Germany (steep grades - sharp curves)
[CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I was about 20 years old when I learned how to drive a stick shift. Or at least I thought I knew how to drive a stick shift. Growing up in the Valley of the Sun didn't afford me the opportunities to drive on many inclines - so you can imagine my frustration the first time that I attempted to drive up the mountains to college with my newly acquired driving skill set - I couldn't get enough speed. I mean I was literally (not the figuratively, literally, but LITERALLY) pressing the pedal to the floor and not going anywhere. Semi trucks were passing me. Giant RV's were passing me. And I couldn't figure out what was going on. 

Once I finally made it up the mountain I called my dad, because, who else do you call in times like these? I felt so uninformed when he explained to me that I should have down-shifted in order to get more power when driving up a steep grade. 

Part of being able to survive in life is knowing when to shift; shift patterns of behavior, shift expectations, mindsets, and attitudes, shift positions. 

But truly successful people anticipate a necessary shift and do what it takes to be ready beforehand. 

I'm picturing a crowd of people on an airport transit train. It never fails, someone forgets to hold on to something or at least plant their feet - and before they know it, they are thrown off balance once the train begins moving. And then again, when the train comes to a stop, the same person is caught off guard and trying to grasp onto something in order to keep from tumbling over. 

I always wonder...How can do they not prepare themselves for what's coming? They know the train is going to start/stop moving. Did they not pay attention to their 8th grade science teacher during the lessons on Newton's Law of Inertia???

But life isn't much different. If we stop paying attention to all the signs around us, we wouldn't be caught off guard so often, we would be able to begin to shift behaviors and mindsets long before circumstances demanded that we do so. 

And in case I discourage myself while I'm writing this and you while you're reading it, a shift doesn't imply turning something comfortable upside-down and inside-out. A shift is simply a tweak. A nudge. A scooch. A bump up or down, left or right. 

It's just doing something different in such a way that the next hill in life doesn't find us with the pedal to the floor going nowhere. 

Offering my BEST to you!

This post is part of my reflections for my OneWord2017: SHIFT. To read what I've written previously, click HERE

What about you? Where might you need to shift something - either professionally or personally? When was a time you made a minor adjustment and it made all the different in a particular situation? When was a time that you didn't make a shift when you should have? What advice you do have regarding making shifts?

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