One of the things I repeat to myself and customers regularly is, “You can’t steer a parked car.”
As a mom, homeschool teacher, and consultant I have seen this idea played out so often that the weight of its truth just grows stronger in my mind each day.
It’s very, very difficult to accurately imagine the future reality of a situation. We can have visions, goals, ideas, and expectations of what something should or could be like, but it’s almost impossible to account for every component required or changing variable.
Think back to college, labor, potty training, or starting a new job or business. Everything usually looks and feels different when you are in the middle of it!
Take for example a simple thing as planning a vacation. You can do research online, talk to people who have been there, and plan things out as best you can, but nothing can fully prepare you for the experience of actually being there. Once there, you can take into consideration how you are feeling, the grand opening of a new trendy restaurant that you hadn’t heard about, or a new friend who invited your family to their lakeside villa – all variables and opportunities that you could not have anticipated while planning out the trip. But you have the luxury of “steering in those directions” because your car is not “parked” at home – you are on the trip!
As a teacher, I am so grateful for several habits that have become cornerstones for our kids. Things like copywork, narration, and poetry memorization have reaped untold dividends. That “car” is zooming down the road. But, man oh man, we’ve had to do much “steering” along the way to figure out what techniques would work effectively to teach things like spelling, grammar, summary/synthesis, etc.
I connect with many women in business who have an idea of what they’d like to start or where they’d like to head. Sometimes it’s scary, so I assure them that the first step is the most important – it’s the one that gets the car moving. I always love opening their eyes to new technology and dialoguing with them about their brand and service offerings. I see their vision expand, and they gain more perspective about the digital space and their place in it.
But it isn’t until they actually begin writing and working with customers, that real clarity begins. Over time, their brand and services change to reflect their unique strengths and passions as well as what their market finds most valuable. They hit up against real obstacles and then find ways to address them quickly. It’s never as easy as it looked. But it’s totally worth it. They’re able to do the hard work of growing and reap the rewards from it.
Each new pursuit we begin is just so off-track and imperfect in the beginning. But we only get frustrated or discouraged when we expect something different. If we accept the “mess” and trust the process to unveil the specific areas of necessary growth or change, we’ll be much more aligned with reality and motivated to seek to steer in the right direction. We’ve given ourselves the opportunity.
2 thoughts on “You Can’t Steer a Parked Car”
I love this metaphor, Sonya! Very true, and yet so hard to keep in mind. May I think of it often!
I think you’re living it out, Amy! Love watching you steer. 🙂