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Who are you in your life: the passenger or the driver?


I got my driving license 19 years ago. I drove for about 10 years. Gradually I stopped driving. The reasons for it at that time were related to not needing a car to commute, having someone else to drive for me, letting my lack of confidence, my skills and my fear to be on the road in the traffic take away my ability to drive.

This situation always bothered me to the point that the emotional connection and overthinking process became a barrier to overcome this issue.

Then, I bought a car here in London. For three years I didn’t drive it.


Last year, while being coached I decided to explore this situation, which helped me to gain the courage to drive again. At that time, I assumed ‘this is just like riding on a bike!’ Unfortunately, believe it or not... when I attempted to do it I didn’t even remember which one was the brake or the clutch. I didn’t know how to physically drive anymore. Emotionally I felt really incapable of changing the circumstances. But I maintained my hope that I would be able to do it one day, sooner or later.


This year, during the first lockdown, while going for a run I saw many driving schools’ cars, and those coaching sessions that I have done were still in my mind and my big goal was still dormant but ready to blossom, so I thought ‘If I don’t do it now, then I’ll never do it!’.

So, by weighing up the mental discomfort and sense of failure with the vision of a successful outcome, I made the decision of booking some driving lessons!

In the beginning it wasn’t easy as it felt like a huge step. However, I’ve been so surprised with the results I’m getting, with the incredible support of my driving instructor and also sustained by my determination to overcome this; that, now, I feel more confident, capable, happy, independent and free.


You are probably wondering: what has this to do with taking responsibility?


By taking my practical example and using it as a metaphor, I invite you to reflect on your answer to this question: If you are about to go on a trip (this being your life), which seat are you going to choose?


Sometimes it’s okay to be the passenger as you allow yourself to enjoy the ride. But the decision to be a passenger should be a conscious decision. It’s okay to be led by others.

It’s also okay to get on a taxi and let yourself be driven around by someone that knows exactly where to take you in some occasions in your life, such as a leader, a mentor, an advisor, parents or friends. Someone you trust that is an expert in what you really know you need guidance for.

But if, unconsciously, you have been letting someone else drive you around in your life, which destination will you be heading to?

Is, there, where you want to go?

How are you feeling, as life is passing by in front of your eyes?


But, instead, if you are the driver of your own life... What will you expect to experience?


Even if you find challenges, many directions and even if you have to keep focused on many things in one go, it may feel stiff in the beginning, but with practise it will become easier and, progressively you’ll enjoy your ride.

When you are the driver you can choose where you want to go, you can see more clearly what is coming your way and it’s on your hands to take responsibility for all the decisions! On the driver’s seat you’ll find more confidence, independence, resilience, freedom and, ultimately, you’ll feel a sense of achievement because you are in control!


A Coach’s role could be like the car’s satellite navigation. You can use it if you want to as it’s there to support you. The coach can open up possibilities, choices and will guide you from the point where you are. But, after all, it is your decision to type your destination and navigate yourself in that direction.


Therefore, as a driver of your own life:

- you are aware of what is happening in your life,

- you can acknowledge what certain events and consequences are a result of,

- what the roots of the issues are and

- what can you do in the present moment to shift your thinking and emotions to be aligned with your goals and course of direction.


These are some key aspects that will empower your level of consciousness for your own values and mindset, and, consequently, these will lead you to take responsibility and ownership for your thoughts, feelings, choices, actions, results and success!


Mafalda Novo 1.12.2020

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