I’ve been doing a bit of driving in places with which I’m unfamiliar lately.
Way back in the dark ages of the 1980’s, doing that sort of thing required one of two actions. Either one bought a map from someplace such as a gas station or the AAA or one called ahead for directions. I vividly recall a moment of panic on a business trip years ago when I thought I left a folder full of routing instructions to get me through a day’s worth of appointments in a hotel room. The thought of finding a pay phone (remember them?) and having to write down turn by turn directions when I was already on a tight schedule gave me agita before the day was very old.
Today, of course, getting from point A to point B is as simple as pushing a button and announcing the destination. Every “smart” mobile device (which means about 60% of the mobile phones out there) has some sort of mapping/driving directions program. The device speaks, we listen, and somehow we arrive despite having no clue as to where we are or how we got there. Occasionally the devices are even smarter than we are. While we might know a shorter route than the one we’re being told to take we don’t know about traffic, construction, or other delays en route.
There is no doubt that Waze, Google Maps, and other software are great for when we’re driving. I am fond, however, of “getting lost” a little bit when it come to taking about business. Have you ever just got in the car and driven around? Maybe you see a sign for a town you’d heard of but never seen. Along the way there might be a diner or fruit stand. It might not be the most direct route and if you get lost for real you can announce to the GPS system you want to go home, safe in the knowledge that you’ll get there. But discovery often comes when we get off the fastest route and maybe try the scenic route.
The pace of business is demanding but turning off our business GPS and “wandering” can often pay off handsomely if we can be disciplined enough to get off the beaten path. Oxymoron? No – imagining new things and being creative is hard and takes discipline. Losing our directions without getting lost is tricky. Can you do it?