Mr. Taylor was my Driver’s Ed teacher. His lessons addressed not only how to be a good driver, but also how to live life. I only recognized his life wisdom long after I graduated and had been driving successfully for decades.
He taught us to be forward-looking — not go rushing from one light to another and to not watch the front edge of the hood. A common guidance he gave us as we drove was to lift our gaze and not drive at the tip of our nose. That was his way of saying look further down the road than where the front of the car is.
I thought of him the other morning as I was cautiously driving on a snow-packed and icy road. I found I’d not had my vision broad enough. So that I could drive defensively — be forward-looking — I needed to pay more attention to what was going on at the side of the road and further ahead of me. If a deer jumped in front of me, which they are prone to do, I’d have a much better chance of stopping in time if I saw it early. Smart.
That recognition made me think of Mr. Taylor, which again reminded me that living life by being forward-looking, or not living at the tip of my nose, was a good way to go through life.
Too many people in my coaching and personal life tend to live that way. They don’t anticipate problems or options. They don’t anticipate life happening to change their plans or priorities.
One solution for that is to identify your big goal and steadily work toward that. When you do that, you will choose to only do tasks that support your goal. The trick though, is that there tend to be many tasks along the way and some have a higher priority than others. That’s where lifting your gaze comes to the rescue.
Lifting your gaze means you need to be aware of what’s happening not only right now, but what will be happening later. Having that awareness gives weight to the idea of prioritizing your tasks. Keep your goal at the forefront of your mind and action. You’ll be ready to react to the events and activities that you have scheduled without losing ground on your goal.
- That deadline won’t sneak up on you when your gaze is lifted.
- The meeting you have, the one you need clean clothes for? By lifting your gaze, you will have clean clothes for your trip because you can work laundry into your day.
- You’ll remember to buy that gift for the special someone on their special day when your gaze is lifted.
A technique to help you go through life with your gaze lifted is to have a monthly, weekly, and daily planning session.
- At the beginning of each month plan what you want to accomplish and make that list.
- At the beginning of each week, working from your monthly planning list, determine what you need to accomplish that week and make that list.
- At the end of each day, working from your weekly planning list, determine what you need to accomplish the next day, and make that list. Some prefer starting their day with such a planning session, and that’s great too. It’s the doing that makes this work so well.
- On the daily list, prioritize the activities you will do and start with those items first thing in the morning — or when you tend to be your freshest and sharpest. Be sure to honor your commitment to do first things first and not get pulled off point by distractions.
It’s interesting how doing these planning sessions helps you keep your gaze lifted and your eyes on the prize — or on your goal.
You’ll experience fewer bumps and bruises, and more successes and wins when you keep your gaze lifted.
What a great way to go through life!