I named my business The First Step because I believe that life is a series of steps and we get to choose what steps to take, when, how many, and for how long we keep walking on whichever path we choose.  

I’ve learned over the years that there is a learning curve to almost everything I do.  It was a big aha! moment when I realized that I wasn’t “born” knowing how to make decisions that are in my true best interest and that life actually has a learning curve to it as I find more and more ways to create greater ease and well being in my life.

This week I’m exploring this idea of a learning curve with respect to ways to take care of ourselves.

Recently, Oprah explored the dangers of talking on cellphones and text messaging while driving. 

It is actually the equivalent of being legally drunk and dramatically increases the dangers of having an accident.  She invited everyone to join her No Phone Pledge .

When I heard about this, I realized that I’ve literally been sitting on my cellphone while driving for 20 years, beginning with having a car phone installed when my husband was first diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I drive a lot and have rarely driven without being on the phone or listening to a voicemail and it’s become such a habit that it never “clicked” (pardon the pun) that there was anything wrong with it. . . . until I actually stopped to think about what I was really doing.

I realized when I heard about this how lucky I’ve been to have not hurt myself or someone else all these years.   I just didn’t get that I was engaging in risky behavior til I saw a portion of this show.   

As the expression goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”  I was ready to get this apparently.

My first step was to email my close friends and relatives letting them know that I was making a public commitment to not talk or text while driving.  I’ve tried to quit talking on the phone while driving before because it wasn’t “convenient for me”  but never stuck to it because I just didn’t get the danger involved. 

What I didn’t realize was that I frequently have the phone in my coat pocket which means it is handy for me as I drive.  So, my next step was to notice that and put the phone somewhere else.  I moved the phone to the passenger’s seat.  That didn’t work because it was still tempting me.

I could see my learning curve at work here and realized that this was going to be a process for me but that I was absolutely committed to not talking on the phone while driving. 

It was only a quesiton of making this more do-able  rather than ever re-engaging in using the cellphone while driving again.

Finally, I moved the phone to my purse with my purse in the front seat.  Again, it was still available to me so I then moved my purse to the back seat. 

I know it may sound odd to say this but it was a loss to not have the phone available for me while I was driving.  I kinda missed being connected in that way.

It’s taken a couple days to get comfortable with my purse being in the back seat and the phone being unavailable.  It was especially irritating, nerve wracking tough when I was running late and couldn’t call while in route.

I’m glad I was willing to go through the growing pains of releasing my cellphone addiction.

I’m adjusting  to  being more focused on my driving and you know what?  I find that I’m on time more often because I can’t call to say I’m running late.  I can find my phone in my purse more easily because I put it in the same place each time.  I feel more relaxed when I’m driving. 

I love driving anyway but I’m really loving it these days as I just settle into my breath, the radio, a cd or some other way of enjoying my own company.

I find that doing things in a supportive community really helps. 

If you’d like to commit to driving phone free, feel free to post a comment here.  If there is something else that you’re going through the learning curve on and want to share it, I welcome your comments  or questions too.  Let’s support each other as we find ways  to really improve our well being!

3 Responses to “The Learning Curve At Work: Driving Safely!”

  1. Linda Resca Says:

    Thank you Char – for something that feels very right to me – don’t talk on the cell phone while driving!

    I’ve had the experience of doing this and when I arrived @ my destination, I had no recollection of how I got there because I was more present w/my phone conversation then my driving – YIKES !

    You are inspiring me to re-think this habit of cell phone use while driving – thank you again.

    Linda

  2. Char Says:

    Someone called me today who normally calls me on their cellphone while driving. She mentioned she got this “amazing new bluetooth” that lets her talk while driving and I was surprised to hear myself say that though that may work for her, I can’t in good conscience knowingly talk to someone who is driving a car anymore.

    It was as if she didn’t hear me as she kept on talking and I found myself interrupting her and saying “I know this works for you but it doesn’t work for me so I’m hanging up now. Call me when you’re not driving.”

    She called me a few minutes later, said she’d pulled over and wondered if I could meet her for coffee. I met her a few minutes later and we had a wonderful visit.

    What I’m learning is that it is NOT necessary to talk on the phone to anyone who is driving and that I can decide that that doesn’t work for me and say so clearly in a neutral way. And that allows for important changes to take place – not just in terms of cell phone usage but in terms of appropriate boundary setting.

    Thanks for your comment Linda.

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