I had an epiphany last week. A major one.
I flew to Savannah, Georgia a few weeks ago to meet up with family for some beach time at Hilton Head.
My plan was to get an Uber when I landed in Savannah, which would get me to the beach an hour or so later. I've taken Uber many times and have never had a problem. I don't want to scare anyone away from independent travel. I do want to share with you why it is important to trust your gut and not be afraid to speak up.
While I waited for my luggage, I checked prices of both Uber and LYFT. LYFT had a $10 off promo code for me, so I requested a ride, got my bag and headed to the curb for pick-up.
If you've never used these services, you can see the little car icon on a map on your phone, as well as a photo and rating of the driver who is coming to get you. I watched the little car icon do some weird shenanigans. Oh great, I thought. Does he not know his way around this airport?
Ignore Clue Number 1.
A few minutes later, I saw a car head down the lane where the taxi cabs line up. Realizing that was wrong, he backed up and came around to the curb pick up lane where I was waiting.
Ignore Clue Number 2.
He pulled up and, over very loud exhaust, asked if I was Sue. Yes. He loaded my bag in the trunk and I got in.
Ignore Clue Number 3.
We headed out of the airport and onto the highway. I noticed that he was using his phone for music, and didn't have the GPS pulled up with the map of my destination. I asked him about it. He said this was his first LYFT, and he didn't know how to use the app. He had just signed up today.
Ignore Clue Number 4.
I tried to explain how it worked. I asked him about himself. He said he was from Charlotte, was 23 years old, had just gotten out of the Army, and was trying this out for extra money. He asked how he got paid. I said you get paid a percentage of the fare. No money exchanges hands between you and I. He asked what percentage he got. SO I GOOGLED IT FOR HIM.
Ignore Clue Number 5.
After he pulled up GPS on his phone, he said that he didn't have enough charge on his phone to make it to Hilton Head. We pulled off the highways and stopped at a small convenience store so he could buy one. There I sat, in a strange, loud car in the dark somewhere on the border of Georgia and South Carolina thinking, what is going on here? Am I safe? Where are we? Who doesn't have a charger in their car?
Ignore Clue Number 6.
I was relieved when we got back on the highway, but only after he made a wrong turn out of the convenience store and started driving away from the on ramp. My heart skipped a beat, until he turned around. I said nothing. NOTHING.
Ignore Clue Number 7.
We drove along for about thirty minutes before coming to a toll booth. I kid you not. He said, "What's this?" I said, "It's a toll booth. I don't know what LYFT's policy is on who is supposed to pay, but I don't have any cash." I did find 5 quarters in the side pocket of the door near me, and handed them to him. He threw them in the toll basket and we proceeded through.
Ignore Clue Number 8.
I was so grateful to make it to the condo where I was staying. When we pulled up, I showed him how to end the trip on his app, and I showed him how it triggered the end of the trip to come up on my phone. I got out of the car and walked up the small ramp to the entry doors, shaking my head.
I quickly put the whole crazy ride out of my mind and had a wonderful time. I made very sure to check the driver's credentials of the Uber I took to return to the airport a few days later. He was a pro! 2,390 Uber rides, five star rating. Now I know to check.
I called LYFT when I got home, and got a full refund for the ride. But that isn't the problem.
The problem was me not cancelling that ride when my gut told me he didn't know the airport.
The problem was me not getting out of the car the moment I found out it was his first ride and he didn't know the first thing about using the app or being a professional driver.
The problem was me sitting in that convenience store parking lot feeling at risk, but being too damn afraid to be rude, or offend, so I stayed. If I had not been such a doormat in that moment, I would have gotten out of the car, grabbed my bag, went into the store, and told him, "We are done here."
In the past, I would not have owned "doormat" behavior.
I mean, I was a person who spoke up for myself. Right?
I am a person that, when I get angry or concerned, I often ignore the gut check that my intuition is giving me so that I can be nice, liked, inoffensive, accepting, keeping the peace, not disappointing someone, or whatever. Even if my safety is at risk.
Sometimes we get the exact right lesson at the exact right time. This is one of those. I am so grateful to see this so clearly, and have the chance to practice it. Here's what my practice sounds like.
Hell freaking no.
No, thank you.
It's so empowering!!
I look back and think about how many times I said yes when I meant no. Or didn't speak up when I wanted to, but was AFRAID. What to schedule. What to cancel. What behavior needs addressed. How to handle people who come to the door. And yes. Allowing an employee to put their name on the lease despite the gut check. Because it was there.
In our health and fitness, this shows up as acquiescing to another's needs before our own. I've heard the same issues for years. We eat, cook and serve what's good for (requested by) them, not us. And we give away our sacred me time/fitness friends/workout/walk outside time just to make sure we are nice, liked, inoffensive, accepting, keeping the peace, not disappointing someone or whatever. We do not disappoint.
WOW. What am I afraid of? What a random, clueless 23-year-old LYFT driver thinks of me? Enough of this. Enough.
"For women, there’s a myth that we’re supposed to do it all (and do it perfectly). Saying no cues a chorus of inner shame gremlins: “Who do you think you are? You’re not a very caring [person]/mother/wife/friend/colleague."
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval (and this is coming from someone who spent years trying to please everyone!). Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say “Enough!” - Brené Brown