I got my driver’s license when I was 26. I went from living downtown where I worked, to working from home. Living in the city you can walk, hail a taxi or take the subway. So I never had a sense of urgency to learn how to drive.
Anyone who knows me in the smallest way knows how much I admire Oprah. I have written countless letters, attended several show tapings and experienced many “AHA” moments over the years. The Oprah Winfrey Show was looking for viewers who wanted to share their wildest dreams. I had my license in hand for maybe 2 years or so and I thought it would be funny to write a letter about how this almost 30, city girl just learned how to drive. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to receive my first car from Oprah Winfrey?” So I sat down and started typing my letter and a little voice inside of me said, “You’re crazy! Oprah’s not going to give you a car. Why even waste your time writing this letter?” The voice became so persistent that eventually I stopped typing and gave in to it.
On September 13, 2004 the “Wildest Dreams” episode aired and I’m sure many of you remember the infamous words spoken by Oprah on that day…”And you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car!!” As I watched everyone screaming and crying and holding up the keys to their new cars, I wasn’t thinking “that should have been me” I was more consumed by the answer to the question, “What stopped you?”
The most powerful lesson that I have learned thus far in my 30 plus fabulous years was learned on that faithful day. Many of us have goals and dreams that we aspire to achieve, Each of us wakes up everyday and moves full steam ahead pushed by some invisible force. But what is that force? We owe it to ourselves to figure out what drives us. What is that driving force that motivates you to come to work everyday? What is the driving force that pushes you to take those continuing education classes, or to learn something new? What is the driving force that keeps you moving toward your personal and professional goals?
What drives you?
Is it financial freedom? Your family? The pursuit of happiness? The sense of personal achievement? Once you determine what your driving force is then you must fiercely protect it at all cost. Just as we put fancy alarm systems on our vehicles we need to secure and protect our hopes and dreams. Often it’s not people who steal our destiny, it’s those little voices of doubt that play inside of us that say things such as, “You’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re too old or inexperienced, you’re not the right color or the right size, you’re not rich enough, it’s too late for you, or it will never happen.” And then right before your eyes your dreams are looking back at you through the rear view mirror because fear and doubt have taken the driver’s seat.
A “free car” would have been nice, but the lesson learned from the answer to that question “What stopped you?” proved more valuable. The only thing that stopped me from being in that audience was me. The only thing that can keep you from achieving the personal and professional goals that you have set for yourself is you. Today, I challenge each of us to get into the driver’s seat, fasten our seat belts, rev up the engine and tell doubt and fear, along with all of the naysayers to eat our dust.
What Drives You?