As a Community Engagement Specialist, it is my job to absorb information from one audience and translate it into relatable terminology for a different audience to build a connection and/or call to actions. The lines between personal and professional blur for me a lot because I can’t stop thinking about how to connect people with ideas to make the world a better place. On a recent road trip back to Washington, DC, I found myself driving through pockets of ice storms, extreme rainfall, sprinkles, fog and at times, all the above. While going in and out of the weather tantrums, I kept returning to the idea of how much of a life lesson it is to weather the storm(s) – pun intended. The life lessons I experienced held true for the road and in person. I learned to listen and read the signs ahead, to value operating at my own pace and to get to my destination I had to make a choice.
About two hours into the drive, the weather tantrums increased and the need for me to pay more attention and rely on the highway signs became more apparent. I quickly noticed that street lights didn’t exist on all parts of the roads. When parts of the mountains were foggy, the only thing I could see in front of me were the reflection on the road guidelines, arrows on the guard rails and highway signs to guide me in the right direction. I used the mile markers to identify how many miles I had left until my exit when my GPS went out. I heavily relied on the signs for at least 60% of my drive. After I was safe, I thought about the signs that I didn’t use such as the emergency pull off, gas, and food signs. Whatever scenario that could have happened on the road, there was a sign for it. I would like to share with you 3 lessons that I learned while using the highways signs to get to from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC
1. There’s always a sign, it’s your choice to accept it:
Whether you’re going through a good or bad phase in life, there are signs to guide you. It’s your choice to accept the meaning of it. During my drive, the reflectors from the road and guard rails guided me through the bad weather. I had a choice to follow the signs or pull over and wait for the fog to pass. I don’t know about you but driving through the heavy rain and fog isn’t my favorite thing to do. I chose to rely on the reflectors to bring me through. A real-life reflector could be constructive criticism from a trusted advisor. I emphasize trusted because you must value their opinion to accept it, rely on it, and use it to get to the destination or reach the goal that you want to meet.
2. Remember to travel at your own pace:
On every road, there is a speed limit. On the highway specifically, there’s a fast-lane and a slow-lane. To keep your pace, you choose if you want to abide by the speed limit, go above or stay below. Sometimes your pace can be interrupted by others. On the road, it can be in the form of people beeping, flashing their headlights or riding your bumper. In life, it’s feedback and projection of their experiences. Just remember that it’s your journey and choice to travel at your pace
3. There are multiple ways to get to your destination:
For the signs to be most effective, you need to know your destination. The options of destinations on both the highway and in life are endless. The responsibility of the destination is your choice. There are pros and cons on both sides a choice. Before I got on the road from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC, my GPS gave me two options: 1) Take the Turnpike for 3 hours and 27 minutes and pay a $15 toll or 2) No tolls and 6 hours and 2-minute trip. I chose to pay the $15. I valued my time over the money in this case. Sometimes in life, there are more than two choices, it’s okay don’t get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and make the best choice for you.
Whenever you’re in need of guidance, listen to the signs up ahead and receive the message. I’d love to hear what signs you’ve received lately! Comment below.
Christina Glancy is a Pittsburgh Native who serves as our Community Outreach Specialist. She has built a unique perspective which blends project management, marketing, community involvement and data analysis. She has a successful track record of engaging diverse groups of stakeholders throughout the Transportation, Health Care and Cybersecurity Industries. She believes in changing the world one conversation at a time.