2 min read

Which Seat Are You In?

Your answer to this question determines how much control you have in getting to your desired destination.
Which Seat Are You In?
Photo by Tim Foster / Unsplash

I was on a call last week with my coach, and expressed frustration around how easy it is for me to turn on "cruise control". I wanted a breakthrough that would help me go faster, take a more ambitious route, and get the results I was after. 

Her answer was profound, as always:

You're giving yourself inaccurate feedback and expecting that to help you change.

Here's the thing - cruise control can be set at any speed. I had poorly defined the problem, so that's why I was stuck. 

Instead, we reframed the conversation around which seat I was in - the passenger seat or the driver's seat.


The passenger seat has no control over the direction, route, or speed to get to your destination. You are along for the ride and have abdicated responsibility to the driver to get you to where you want to go.

Imagine how silly you'd feel if you were in the passenger's seat and asked, "Why aren't we there yet?" only to look over and realize that no one is in the driver's seat. 

Yet we do this often in our businesses. We aren't doing marketing or email or sales calls or putting our foot on the gas of our business, yet we ask "Why aren't we there yet?"


Driving is about taking control of the outcome - reaching the desired destination. You are responsible for the speed, the direction, the route, avoiding obstacles, and getting everyone there safely.

You have your hands on the wheel, your foot on the gas, and are constantly checking the mirrors. 

You decide which route to take, when to stop for breaks or to get gas, and when to start and finish your trip. 

The driver has all of the responsibility.

My frustration wasn't around cruise control - that's a minor convenience when you're the driver. It was around the fact that I had taken a seat on the wrong side of the car and then was wondering why the car wasn't moving. 

When in the passenger seat you can have a false sense of control if you spend your time researching the directions, pointing out interesting sights along the way, and recommending alternate techniques to the driver. But you aren't in control of the outcome. 

Take a look at which seat you're in. And if you're feeling frustrated with your progress, make sure you're in the driver's seat.