I have a confession.
I don’t drive.
That’s not the confession though, it’s quite a bit more embarrassing.
Since I don’t drive, I’ve finally decided to attempt learning the local bus system. (And no, I’ve never lashed myself to the seats with bungee cords, though I do find the lack of seatbelts disconcerting.)
Reading a bus schedule should be taught in school. I’ve never used Calculus in real life, but knowing how to read this crazy map of routes and times, now that would have been helpful.
An early attempt had me moving around the city in a circle in the wrong direction for… well, a while. But that little adventure did confirm that if you stay on the bus long enough it’ll eventually end up where you want to go. I stress the eventually.
But a few weeks ago I got really brave and decided I’d take my kids downtown for a “field trip.”
It seemed like such a simple plan. I highlighted on the map where I thought needed to go, and armed with my plan we sprinted to the bus stop and were on our merry way.
About an hour later, I realized we were completely lost. Somehow I’d gotten on a bus going the right direction, but the wrong bus, and so when I counted stops and watched for road signs we ended up in the wrong place.
There I was, holding my map, and trying to figure out where we were. I’d also aimed for the wrong building. (I told you this was embarrassing!)
What did I do wrong?
I tried to interpret the map all by myself. I thought I knew where I was going. And I didn’t ask for help.
Map reading (and directions in general) just isn’t one of my strengths. Now, tell me there’s a coffee shop nearby and I can find that by following the lovely smell of coffee. But anything else, I’m basically hopeless.
This is a lesson I’ve been learning over and over again in my business the past few years. Know my strengths and weaknesses.
Yes, there are maps. Yes, we can buy blueprints. But even armed with those tools we can get lost if we try to do it completely on our own.
What works? The voice of experience. The guidance of someone who understands where we’re at, where we want to be, and can help us get from A to B without wasting time going in the wrong direction, or getting off at the wrong stop.
Lately I’ve been asking more questions and getting more help. Turns out, sometimes the “destination” (goal) I thought I wanted to get to wasn’t right for the bigger picture of my business. Just think how much time and energy could be wasted in the pursuit of the wrong goal…
I called a taxi to get us home that evening. It was wonderful to just sit back, relax, and depend on the driver to know exactly how to get back to Starbucks (from where I can safely find my way home–after that morning, we all deserved coffee and hot chocolates).
Why didn’t I call a taxi in the first place? My kids love the adventure of riding on the bus.
Me, I’m not so big on that kind of adventure…
Image Credit: kevinrosseel/morguefile