I’m writing this blog post from Montana. We just arrived a few days ago for a two week vacation…and we drove. Yep, 2300 miles from Virginia — in four days.
My husband drives most of the time and his driving makes me a little nervous – o.k. a lot nervous, because he drives way too fast (in my opinion) – so I try to occupy myself so as to not annoy him with my backseat driving. I did a lot of thinking about new classes I want to offer, what direction I want my business to take and about business in general.
Here are three business lessons I picked up driving and driving and driving cross country.
1. Look to where you want to go.
I’m a much better passenger than a driver because I much rather look around at my surroundings. On our third day of driving, my husband was a little tired and asked me to drive so he could take a short nap. We were driving through North Dakota on a very boring stretch of highway with not many cars, so I found myself looking at some of the scenery mostly wheat fields… What do you think happened? The car started to drift off to where I was looking. Not very pleasant for my husband sleeping as I jerked the car back on to the road.
The same thing can be said for our business. When we don’t look to where we want to go — keeping our business goals — we tend to drift off course.
2. Have business and personal goals.
I heard this saying and I can’t remember who said it, but it went something like this “If you don’t know where you are going, you just might end up there.” We had 2300 miles to cover in four days, so I figured that we had to do about 550 miles per day.
Do you have goals for your business (and for your life)? If you do, good for you! You should! If you don’t have specific, measurable goals for your business or personally, you might want to read this article I wrote for Bellaonline about establishing goals (at the beginning of the year).
3. Be flexible
You should expect that your plan can and will change. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected events and circumstances at us. Our drive was the perfect example of having to be flexible – very flexible.
Day 1, we got a later start than we had anticipated and by 5 p.m. is was very pissy weather. So we made it as far as Ohio – about 150 short of our goal.
At the beginning of day 2, I said “let’s just take the 175 miles and divide it by three and add that to our 550 miles that we have to do each day. So now, we have to do 600 miles each day for the next three days. Driving through Indiana, we hit a major snag. We were driving along and all of a sudden we came to an abrupt halt. After sitting there for about an hour, we heard that there was an accident ahead and they were cleaning up Hazmat materials after the accident. We happened to be it a very opportune spot. There was an exit ramp about 50 feet ahead…all we had to do was get on the other side of the 18-wheeler that was blocking us. So with my best smile, I asked if he could back up a little so we could get through to the exit ramp. Once on the exit ramp, we asked the booth attendant how we could get back on the highway after the accident. After a few turns and a couple miles down, we were back on the highway and moving at a brisk pace. But now we are 90 minutes behind schedule. Needless to say, we didn’t make the 600 miles.
In order to be in Whitefish by early evening on October 1st (our check day), we had to haul a** on day 3. We did it! Between my husband and me driving, we drove almost 800 miles leaving only 565 miles for day 4.
Instead of getting upset about our drive not going according to plan and creating all sorts of stress, we were flexible and created alternate mini goals (daily goals) to reach the ultimate goal (getting to Whitefish by October 1st before 6 p.m.). Flexibility is the key to accomplish anything but the simplest goal.
Next time you have a goal-setting session, “think BIG and get to the NEXT level” and get uber specific. Do you want more revenue? More net income? Exactly how much more? By when? From what services (or products) services? How will this next level impact your lifestyle? The time you spend working vs. playing?
The secret here is to be precise as you can be. You can have anything you want in your business (really!), but until you can articulate exactly what that is, no one can help you get it.
Got thoughts or feedback here? Leave a comment and let me know!