Sometimes I get a little intense. Like mafia intense. You cross me once, and you are dead to me.

This was my situation with GPS programs until very recently. A GPS had screwed me once on my way somewhere important. In my stressed condition, I made a decision that those things just didn’t work, and the chip settled happily onto my shoulder. The more I believed it, the more I found evidence of it. I tried a few other times, and again, I found the GPS instructions, pictures, or programming confusing. Other people lamented to me about their frustrating experiences. I found that my distaste for GPS systems was even entertaining; it took on a certain mystique. I could do an amusing little stand-up routine about it at parties. This made my impediment seem a little sexier to me, instead of the truly disabling factor that it is.

Come to think of it, if I’m honest, this phenomenon is not isolated only to GPS systems. I can give up on people, too, after hardly giving them a chance. In fact, more than once, I have really regretted writing someone off with whom I had a rocky start, only to watch them become close to someone else close to me. Like a jilted lover, I regretted making my assessment too fast and not taking the time to learn or circle back after a short hiatus.

But now back to the GPS example.

This overblown sense of betrayal actually really impacted my life.

My lack of trust in GPS exacerbated my fear of driving to the point that when I was offered the chance to go lead a workshop in LA, I declined because I was afraid to drive in a new place. Whoa.

My disempowered cycle would never have been found out if it hadn’t been for the small tantrum I threw about driving in LA. It caught my coach’s attention and made her question the background. She recognized the pattern as having been built on very faulty assumptions (that GPS systems still suck) and a heavy dose of both “chicken” (afraid that I would get lost, be late, cause an accident, etc.) and “brat” (just stubborn about learning something new). She gave me straight up coaching. Not only was I going to drive in LA, but I was going to make it a great and fun experience. I trust my coach, so I just reset my mind and was going to print out and memorize directions before trying to use a GPS.

Even that was still a cop-out. I had to tackle my old stormy relationship with GPS before I could truly be free. You probably know that the rest of the world has caught on that GPS systems are extremely helpful, highly effective, and very easy to program. So it won’t surprise you to know that when I got to the destination with the car I was to drive, my host handed over the GPS assuming I’d be grateful!

The final test of my ability to move on from the past had arrived. I could hear the voice of my coach in my head asking me: was I going to choose to listen to the brat voice in my head, the chicken voice, or was I going to have fun?

I went with the GPS idea and guess what? It was easy. Not only easy, but it was fun. GPS systems have either come a long way or I have. Or both? It was so freeing not to have to worry about directions. I could just listen to music, check out my surroundings, and bee-bop along. Perhaps one of the least stressful trips I’ve had. Plus, I found myself rather giddy with pride at having conquered my fear and also learned a new skill.

Yes, this was a seemingly silly example of how we sabotage our own abilities and possibilities in the world, but it makes the point. For me, it’s an indelible reminder that things are not as they seem.

Just when I think something is a certain way for sure, I can question it.
@HGLifeCoaching (Click to Tweet!)

Not just electronics, people too. So often, we think we know what “type of person” a new acquaintance is before actually being open with them and asking the questions that would help us really find out. So often, we think we already know what our spouse or partner is going to be like when we get home, because we think the past continues to repeat itself. Or we think we know what our boss thinks of us, or thinks is possible, or thinks in general. And we shape our behavior around these assumptions, limiting what’s possible incredibly.

Where in your life could someone or something use a new benefit of the doubt from you? When you get over your supposed betrayal from the past and you find your own chicken and brat motivations, you can start fresh. You can decide to experience something new in the most mundane or intimate contexts. It’s all up to you, isn’t that great news?

Where will you apply this today?

Love, Laurie

As an executive at Handel Group® Life Coaching and a Senior Coach, Laurie Gerber spreads her message of empowerment through live international events, one-on-one coaching, virtual coaching courses, blogs, and in TV and radio appearances.

The Handel Method teaches how to live from and honor your highest ideals and values. It is taught at universities such as MIT, NYU, and Stanford, companies such as Vogue, The New York Times, Sony, AOL, and Conde Nast, and development centers such as Kripalu, Esalen, Menla, and Equinox. Handel Group® Life Coaching was featured on MTV’s True Life, A&E’s The Marriage Test, The Dr. Phil Show, and Today Show.

*Image by iStockPhoto.