Earlier tonight my mother called me to ask how to get from a hospital to a highway in Raleigh. She has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, then she and my dad are going to pick up my aunt in a nearby town.
She called because the last time they had to get to that town, they went in one direction on the beltline, but later thought that maybe they could have gotten there faster going the other way. They were right.
The beltline in Raleigh is confusing to many people. I had worked in the city for a while before I finally figured out that the Inner Beltline and the Outer Beltline are the same road.
You see, the Inner Beltline is the part of the road on which traffic goes clockwise around the city. The Outer Beltline goes counter-clockwise.
So when someone tells you to get on the Inner Beltline to go to one place and then to get on the Outer Beltline to go somewhere else, they’re really telling you to get on the same road, but just to go in different directions.
When my mom called, I told her that indeed it would be much faster to go to the right (onto the Outer Beltline) than to go left (on the Inner Beltline) as they had gone before. As a matter of fact, that had gone about three times as far on the Inner Beltline as they would have gone on the Outer Beltline.
They had gone to the left, because they were sure that they could get where they wanted to go by going in that direction. They didn’t know, or at least weren’t sure, they could get there by going to the right.
Now they know the right turn to make, and they’ll get to their destination easier and faster.
When we’re trying to build a business, we face similar choices. It helps to have mentors and coaches who have been down the road before and know the right turns to make.