This past Friday, I made use of the Lyft ride-share service and my driver was a man who was feeling quite powerless.
He picked me up in a black Toyota Elantra and from the moment I stepped into the vehicle, I could sense that he was drained and stressed. As I relaxed into my back row seat and made myself comfortable for my ride, I looked out the open window and took a deep fresh breath of air. The sun had finally come out after a week-long barrage of much needed rain here in the Bay Area.
The man was in his early 30’s and it appeared to me he was Hispanic by his accent, but his features indicated that he was from the Middle East with a dusty complexion and five-o’clock shadow. I caught myself profiling as I was wrong on both accounts, it turned out that he was from Italy!
As he initiated the drive, I asked him a simple question, “Are you enjoying your day thus far?” He mumbled back a not-so-positive response which I barely heard. I rolled up my window to block out the traffic white noise and asked him a follow up question, “What’s going on bro? Why so ‘Eh’?” This started a rapid back-and-forth exchange where I got to find out the following about him:
Now this alone sounded like a therapy session for a man who felt alone, didn’t have any close friends, and nothing going for him on the professional front. I’m glad that the Universe paired me up with this guy for this short car ride, because I also had something to share with him in order to help him find his own power again.
After getting the download from him, I asked him another question, “What do you love and appreciate the most about your wife?” Immediately, he perked up and proclaimed, “Her simplicity!” “What do you mean by that?”, I asked inquisitively. “She doesn’t have too many hang-ups and lives her life in a beautiful way”.
He continued on for a bit about his wife, and I could see that he genuinely loved her. I had a hunch that this was the case, but my goal was to have him see the good in her, rather than focus on the complaints and resentment he had for this woman. When he did this, his energy shifted, his posture became better and his eyes became more radiant as well.
However, he had built up so much negative momentum in his life, that he went down another pity-drenched rabbit hole about how expensive it was to live in the Bay Area and that he couldn’t afford even an AirBNB that he was paying $1300/month for. In order to turn the tide again, I cut him off and asked him another question, “What’s your ideal place to live an work in?” He immediately replied, “Miami!”
I continued by asking him, “What do you enjoy most about Miami?” The Italian man looked at me and talked about how he loves the vibe there and how the cost of living is much more affordable for him.
At this point I could have continued further, but our ride came to a conclusion and I left him with a few words of encouragement, and ultimately told him, “I believe in you bro, you got this!” He simply looked back with an appreciative smile and said, “Thank You!”
Keys to Empowerment
For this Lyft driver, as well as for all of us when we get into difficult situations in life, there is tremendous gain in seeing the world in a positive and empowered way. At any given point in these situations, we all have a choice to go down the path of feeling like a victim, or march the path that we create our own reality.
You create your own reality
Specifically for this gentleman, when I first met him, we was really playing the victim card, and not taking responsibility of his life at all. It was a lot of “poor me” attitude and blame towards his wife and the circumstances he’s dealing with.
When you’re able to look through the lens of empowerment, there is no place for giving your power away to things that are outside of you. For this man, he can’t control what his wife chooses to do, or how she chooses to feel. Of course, it’s painful to be on the receiving end of such news, but it doesn’t serve the man well to linger with resentful emotions.
By taking control of his emotions, and realizing that’s all he really has control over, the focus then shifts from “Why me?” to “How do I get back to being the master of my own life?”
Be easy on yourself
When things don’t go our way, after we have our fair share of blaming others, usually the next step is to blame ourselves. There is absolutely no feeling of empowerment when you blame yourself.
It’s best to be compassionate with the person you find it hardest to be compassionate with: YOURSELF. When you can see the place you find yourself in not as an end destination, but rather a speed bump along your journey, it’s much easier to continue moving forward and brush it off rather than put yourself in a place of feeling stuck.
For this gentleman, he was not happy with himself, and this caused him to lose faith in his abilities. When you’re in such a state, it’s crucial to find anything that can turn the negative momentum into a positive one.
This is what my goal was for this man. To offer him questions, that allowed his mind to see the possibilities and the goodness that is in his life. Even a short conversation can help shift the energies of a person towards positive well-being.
Whether you’re in the best place in your life, or you’re feeling like you’re at rock-bottom, there is always the empowered choice that opens up doors for a better journey.
If you’re too busy focusing on the crap in your life, it’ll continue to just smell horrible, but the minute you look up and focus on the possibilities, it’ll move you to a vibrant path with the sweet fragrance of your empowered self!