Whose in your front seat – and who should be in the back?

No man is an island, it takes a village to raise a child, we can’t go it alone …

All these cliches to say we need people to get through this crazy thing called life.  Not just any people though – top-quality people.

Some people call it their dream team, their empowerment team or their board of directors – I call it front seat passengers.  The special people we want to ride with us on this journey of life and we want them in the front seat – helping us navigate, advising us as necessary, encouraging us when we are not sure and cheering for us when we avoid an accident or make a great move. 

Some people are in the front seat of our lives because they are family, some are there because they have been there for a long, long time, some are there because they put themselves there. Still others are there out of habit, obligation, fear or plain laziness on our part to get them out.

If we were to consciously, deliberately and purposefully choose who we wanted in our front seat with us and who should perhaps take the back seat (or maybe take another vehicle altogether) we could add a whole new and wonderful dimension to our lives.

Let me share with you a simple, but brilliant, tool that I have adapted from Dee-Dee Henley.

List the people in your world that you will be speaking with at least 10 times in the next couple of month.  That’s the simple part.

Beside each name write a line that signifies the conversation they embody, that is – a phrase that symbolizes, exemplifies, represents or personifies them.  That’s the brilliant part.

It may be a little hard to wrap your head around the idea at first but once you figure it out, it’s an amazing  exercise.  To give you an idea of what it looks like, here are a few of my people and the conversations I think of when I think of them:

Spouse – “How can I make your life easier.”

Friend – “I care, now how can we make the world a better place.”

Friend – “Let’s do it!”

Relation – “I’m not sharing”

Relation – “Life is hard.”

Friend – “Everyone has a special gift.”

As you can see from this brief example, it is super easy to run your finger down the list and decide who should be in your front seat, who should be coaching and advising you and who you should be spending more of your time with. More importantly, it is easy to see who you may want to consider spending less time with.

Funny in my example it was all relatives that should be in the back seat. Oops!

Even if we can’t (and often don’t want to) remove these people from our lives, we can still be pro-active and place boundaries around what we will and will not tolerate from them and be more conscious about the amount of time we spend together how it effects of us. It’s not always simple but chances are good it will be well worth it.

I have found it easier now to decide which relationships I want to spend more time nurturing and which ones I need to distance myself from. I find it interesting to notice when a new friendship is formed and how it slowly (yet, sometimes quickly) evolves from the get to know you stage to the “this person is front seat quality” stage. This beautiful prose from J. Boswell really sums it up for me …

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed, as in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over. So in a series of kindness, there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” J Boswell

As you read these words, I invite you to consider keeping the “conversations they embody” question top of mind as you go through life in the next few weeks.  You may be surprised at what you discover! Feel free to reply to this email and share your insights.

The best to you, as always,


Stephanie  Staples

Stephanie Staples

Your Revitalization Specialist

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