For 26 of the 29 years I worked for Toyota, I drove 37.8 miles to the national office in Torrance each morning and 37.8 miles back in the evening on the 405 San Diego freeway.
My first three years at Toyota I fought the commute. I tried listening to classical music, Christian radio, and the news, but nothing took away the building frustration or dread of the Monday-morning commute. When I started at Lexus I faced that same commute. I realized something had to change if I was going to survive this drive. One morning I turned off the radio and drove in silence. After a couple of mornings, I started to pray for my family members and soon found myself taking the entire hour praying for everything in my life. I found a refreshing peace on those drives. I began looking forward to the commute and quiet time.
My routine went like this:
I thanked God for all the blessings He bestowed on my family.
I asked forgiveness for any pain I caused Him and others.
I sought God’s guidance in all things and the strength and wisdom to do His will.
I committed to not waste His gift of the day He had given me.
I committed to use His love as my greatest weapon.
I prayed that any unborn children of family members would be strong and healthy.
I prayed for family members, friends, and acquaintances by name.
I did not pray for success, promotions, or profits. I did pray by name for the people I reported to and those who reported to me, asking God to bless them and guide them in their decisions.
I discovered that praying for the people I worked with changed how I interacted with them. I listened more carefully, heard more clearly, and started caring more deeply for those around me. To be sure, there was still tension and disagreements, but I developed a healthy respect for those I worked with and their life stories. I began to realize that no one wants to fail, and my job was to help those around me be successful. If they were successful I would be successful. We all had the common goal of a successful launch of Lexus, and if we treated each other with respect and agreed on our goal, the launch of Lexus would be successful.
When we spend time in prayer with God, we begin to learn more about His deep love for us. Through prayer, we can align ourselves with His will and His plan. Find out more about God’s plan in the God of Hope book!
I still have a similar routine today, but without the commute. There are 464 names in my prayer journal ranging from the sitting President of the United States to Nelson, a homeless man I gave $20 to on a street in New York, who was suffering from the skin disease Hemangioma.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
It was my prayer life on the 405 that made it possible for me to survive the office politics of the launch of Lexus. I reported directly to Jim Perkins, the Group Vice President of Toyota Sales, Marketing and Distribution, and Planning, not Bob McCurry. Office politics have ruined many careers, and I was caught in the middle of a doozy. To be fair to the men involved, I don’t believe this was a fight Jim Perkins wanted, Bob McCurry expected, or Yuki Togo could’ve avoided.
(To be continued in “Office Politics: Togo vs. McCurry vs. Perkins”)