My first real job was working for Louie. Louie owned the vast majority of vending machines in town. My job was to drive a cargo van full of candy bars, gum, and pop, restock the machines and bring the cash back to the office. The only catch in securing the job was I needed to know how to drive “3 on the tree.” (3 speed manual transmission on the column) Being 16 and living in a household where automatics were king I had to learn to shift! The solution: grandpa and his 1965 green Chevy pick ‘em up truck. So, one afternoon I went to grandpa’s for my lesson in shifting. He quickly gave me the basics of clutch, accelerator, stick and the H pattern sequence. Then, he pointed to a nearby field and said, “go out there and practice.”
I started the truck and made my way to the field sustaining mild blows of wipe lash as the truck lurched ahead. I practiced the sensory method of shifting that day: the sound of grinding gears, the smell of burning metal, the vibrations of the gear shift lever, the sudden glances from field to ceiling of the truck as my head snapped up on every attempt to shift, and the taste of humiliation when the truck stalled. Eventually I emerged from the field successfully able to shift, keeping the truck running and moving without the need of a neck brace or a new starter.
Shifting…is another word for change. Most people don’t like change. I love it…especially when it has nothing to do with me! Because of that, I’ve realized my resistance to change and the need for it. Shifting or change is really an opportunity. It can either be an opportunity filled with apprehension, fear of failure, anxiety, or doubt which will keep me from learning and moving ahead. Or, it can be full of anticipation, confidence, new perspective, and success as I progress from point A to point B.
One of the things I need to keep in mind is that change is a journey not an event. Before I learned how to “shift” I was really wondering if I would get the job. Looking back, the process of change holds great memories of grandpa and me learning and accomplishing something new. That’s what I have to keep in mind when more “shifting” is required of me: enjoy the process and be willing to learn even if there is pain. So the next time “shifting” is required, I need lean into the sounds of grinding gears, the vibrations of new feelings, the new sights of movement, the smell of progress, and the taste of success. What shifting are you experiencing?