I was driving behind a tanker truck the other day on a busy highway heading to Charlotte. As the trucker pulled into the left lane to pass the car in front of him, he accelerated but overshot by just a bit sending all of his left tires off the road and onto the dirt and gravel.
The huge truck bounced and shook violently as he made several attempts to get himself realigned with all his wheels back on a flat surface. Big chunks of earth, grass and rocks flew across the highway. Fearing the worst, I put as much distance between him and myself as I possibly could. Thankfully, and before too long, he was “back on track” most likely a bit rattled by the close call.
Oftentimes we think of being in a rut as this quiet, passive, solitary experience, but more often than not, being in a rut looks more like the truck with half its wheels off the road. It can be rough and bouncy with lots of collateral fall-out that affects those around us and requires later clean up.
So how to get out of that rut?
- Look ahead..don’t focus on the ditch you’re in, train your eyes on a goal, make a gentle course correction and confidently drive towards it.
- Make adjustments right now! Staying in a rut too long means you are more likely to sink in. Ever seen someone sunk in the muck spinning their wheels? Yeah, waste of time, makes you look silly, waste of energy, realllly messy- don’t do that.
- Don’t overreact. Yes, it sucks, but stay calm and grab the steering wheel. You have the ability to put yourself right back on to a smooth road that actually leads to the place you want to be. If you freak out you’ll swing back too hard and wind up in another ditch on the other side.
- Check for damage. Once you get back on track, spray off any residual dirt you may have collected and hammer out the dents. The past is the past. While it’s important to know how you ended up in the ditch so you don’t make the same mistake again, don’t dwell on it..”keep on truckin’.”
- Always wear your seatbelt. The road of life can be beautiful, but it can also be curvy, slick and unpredictable. Be cautious.. but remember, this is YOUR one and only car and your one and only “ride”…make sure you enjoy it!