License to LEAD
What are your thoughts about the following statement?
The day I finally get my driver’s license will be the day I achieve true freedom.
Do you agree or disagree?
Whether you currently possess a driver’s license or not, I’m fairly certain that you at one time or another have perceived this small plastic card to be a symbol of complete freedom. Freedom from the restricted confines of your home . . . freedom from the daily ride requests of mom and dad . . . or freedom from the embarrassment of being dropped off at school.
For many of you, a driver’s license not only serves as a one way ticket to freedom, but also a chance to leave the dreaded passenger seat behind. In fact, the mere thought of holding the steering wheel may invoke a tremendous sense of power. After all, as a driver you can literally steer your vehicle wherever you’d like to go. Whether you’re driving to a friend’s house to work on a project or making a quick stop at the local convenience store for a bottle of water, as the driver you get to choose your destination.
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in my experience these imagined freedoms are only temporary. It’s highly likely that once you obtain your license, you will quickly realize that this small plastic card comes with countless, unexpected limitations. In fact, here’s what usually happens next:
Mom or dad begin to set parameters on when and where you can drive the car.
You are now the official “gopher” in your family. Please go to the store for me . . . please go pick up your brother at practice . . . please go to Aunt Patty’s and drop off this dish I borrowed from her.
The family rules remain intact (e.g. curfew), and you can’t take your car on that weekend trip you had planned.
You get your first traffic ticket for parking illegally and the fine is twice the amount of money you have in your bank account.
Your gas tank is low, and your parents ask you to use your own money to fill it.
Does this sound like freedom? Before obtaining your license, the last thing on your mind was contemplating the thought of dropping your brother off at his friend’s house. Now, you find yourself asking questions that typically begin with “You mean I still have to . . . ?”
So if freedom isn’t located behind the steering wheel of a car, then where is it? In order to answer this question, you must be willing to embrace a new perspective of freedom–one that extends far beyond the limited freedom that comes from driving an automobile. The freedom I’m referring to derives from a single choice. In my opinion it’s the most important choice you will ever make in your life. Furthermore, it’s a choice that you have the ability to make each and every second of the day. I’m talking about the choice to LEAD (Live Every day As a Driver). Choosing to LEAD means that you are assuming the role of driver–not only in a car but, more importantly, in your life.
Here’s the great news. Regardless of your age, gender, race, or ethnicity, each of you already possesses a license to drive the most unique and powerful vehicle in the world: YOU. Unfortunately, a large majority of you aren’t even aware of this license and therefore have been operating as a passenger, allowing other people or things to drive your life.
All great leaders, regardless of age, recognize the fact that true change occurs from the inside-out. If you want to change others, you must first learn to change yourself. This process begins with your choice to LEAD.
Boys and girls, start your engines. You now have permission to drive your lives. I believe in you.
Mike Sissel – Former Teen