You might not know this about me, but I HATE driving on the motorway.
It scares the absolute shit out of me. One time, while driving to a wedding, via country roads (because fuck driving on a motorway), my partner—who was in charge of directions—accidentally directed me onto the busiest motorway in the North West of England. I was so terrified, I nearly passed out, and I gripped the steering wheel so tightly, I could barely lift my fork during the wedding breakfast because my muscles had gone into some kind of weird, involuntary spasm. Stress does that to you, man.
I read an article once, about other people who have the same fear, and one woman described her experience of driving on a motorway as a ‘driving on an out of control conveyor belt of death’.
(Pretty much sums up how I feel about them too.)
German motorways are even scarier than UK motorways. Do you know why? BECAUSE THERE IS NO MAXIMUM SPEED LIMIT which means that there are crazy, German people, driving gas pedal to the floor and flying like shit off a shovel, right next to you (or right behind you, flashing their lights so that you get out of their way, as I’ve discovered. Assholes.)
Since moving to Germany, I’ve been avoiding driving on the motorway. Fear does that to you, doesn’t it? It rocks up, all in your face and shouty, prodding and poking and filling your mind with sweat-inducing thoughts and anxiety, and all you can muster up, to make it go away is to push the big, fat, red AVOID button.
I’ve had my finger on the AVOID button for so long now, it’s actually got quite tiring and tedious. An awesome client emailed me once, when she was first enquiring about coaching, and said, “I’ve got to the point where I’m bored of myself”.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about myself too.
Bored of making excuses and ducking and diving.
Bored of taking the long way round instead of the 30-minute journey via the motorway.
Bored of getting everyone else to drive.
As a coach, it’s really fucking important to me that I walk my talk. If I’m encouraging and guiding the people I work with to do scary, but brilliant things, then I better damn well do them too.
So this morning I did.
I spent two hours, white-knuckling the steering wheel of a driving school car, hairing up and down countless German motorways, and finally taking my finger off the AVOID button once and for all.
I felt physically sick. I told Christian, my lovely (and very calm) driving instructor just that. He laughed his head off and made me feel slightly less ridiculous.
I barely slept a wink last night, I was SO worried about today’s lesson. I sat outside the driving school at 8am sharp and there was no sign of Christian. I was relieved. I could go back home, “Christian didn’t turn up, OH, WHAT A SHAME” I would say, as I climbed back into bed, all smug.
At 8.03, Christian turned up.
For fuck’s sake, Christian.
“I don’t like driving fast or on motorways” I told him, as I buckled my seat belt.
“Good, let’s go and drive fast on a motorway then”, he replied.
“I don’t want to drive in the fast lane, Christian”, I whined in a strangled-cat voice as we approached the conveyor belt of death.
“No worries, you can just stay in the slow lane then. You’re doing well.”
An hour later, I was in the fast lane, over-taking and talking to Christian about life. When he’s not soothing scared-out-of-their-mind English women with crazy hair and motorway fears, he likes to dive all over the world. “I saw a huge shark once” he told me, in his thick German accent.
“Were you scared?”
“Yes, a little bit, ha! More than a little bit, I was a whole lot scared, but it was the good kind of scared, you know?”
The good kind of scared.
I do know, Christian.
It’s the kind of scared that reminds you that you are HUMAN AND ALIVE and that you will always, always, always be scared of something and yet……..you don’t have to keep avoiding the thing that scares you. And you also don’t have to keep waiting, for the moment when you will somehow, miraculously and magically overcome your fear…
YOU CAN JUST DO IT SCARED.
ps: My coaching schedule for 1-1 sessions is now full (of very awesome clients). Spaces will open up towards the end of April. If you’re interested in working with me, you can pop your name on my waiting list and you’ll be the first to hear from me when spaces open up.
ps2: Spaces are still available on my Skype coaching course, starting on the 26th April. This will be the last time I run this course…..for a while. Want to join? Hop on over here to book yourself in. It’s £70.00 for 6 weeks of insight, purpose and tangible life skills, brought to you via the brilliance of Skype, for the cost of 6 weeks’ worth of daily Starbucks visits. It’s a no-brainer. What are you waiting for?