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Turn off Your Autopilot and Tune into Your Wake-Up Moment


Turn off Your Autopilot and Tune into Your Wake-Up Moment

When I moved to Australia, not only did I need to learn to drive on the opposite side of the road, but with the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car. Yes, I drove over more than my share of curbs initially, and parking took me an eternity, but those were not my biggest adjustments. 

The hardest thing to remember when driving here was that my windshield wipers and turn signal were flipped around. Inevitably, whenever I wanted to make a turn in those early days of driving in Australia, I would turn on my wipers. I’d silently moan to myself, turn them off, and flick on the turn signal. Over the course of the first year, I mixed up the two less and less. Eventually, I got it right 100% of the time.  

Of course, early on, I was driving mindfully – alert and focused on my task at hand AND the world around me. Once I mastered the car and the side of the road, slowly but surely autopilot began to creep into my driving experience.   

I’m willing to bet that for most drivers (hello, I’m talking to you) there are times when you’re driving around your neighborhood or the path you drive to work daily, and you’re completely on autopilot. You leave your starting point, get to your destination, and everything in between is lost – a blur at best. It also applies to walking familiar paths too. You don’t need to be behind the wheel to be in the autopilot zone. 

Last week, lost in my thoughts, I unconsciously went on autopilot and did something I had not done in years. I turned on the windshield wipers. No harm done, but it was an important wake-up call. It was time to wake-up to the world around me.  

Things that show up in one part of your life often show up in another. 

  • Constant nitpicking.  
  • Yelling. 
  • Frustration. 
  • Disorganization. 
  • Perfectionism.  
  • Autopilot. 

If I was driving on autopilot, where else was I leading my life on autopilot? 

It was more than a safety issue (good news, driving on autopilot isn’t as bad as you think). I want to create, lead and live a full life, not one I can hardly remember. Autopilot serves a purpose but also keeps you and I stuck. Enough of that. 

Now Is the Time to Turn Off the Autopilot and Tune Into Your Wake-Up Moment

Living on autopilot means you’re blind to the opportunities in front of you and the obstacles too (even though you may successfully get around them)

Autopilot keeps you in your head instead of consciously making connections with other people or possibilities.  

Leading on autopilot accepts a repeatable good outcome instead of going for great.  

Yes, autopilot may keep you safe and comfortable but it’s missing a sense of aliveness. That positive tension that you can feel in your gut. Creating the life you want only works if you’re willing to wake-up and risk being vulnerable, present, and exposed.

My turn signal/wiper mix up was a reminder – my wake-up moment. What reminder do you need to open your heart, mind, and spirit to create a life of meaning instead of one that’s simply full to the brim? What’s your wake-up moment?

In one of my favorite studies, Amy Krouse Rosenthal hung 100 one dollar bills from a tree and hypothesized what would happen. She envisioned people swarming around the tree with smiles, wonder, and laughter. Each one taking a dollar and having a remarkable moment in their day. The results of her experiment may surprise you.

How is autopilot stopping you from seeing, experiencing, leading and loving the wonder in your life?

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