This morning I drove a friend to London Bridge Hospital. She’s got a proper job which comes with private health care which means the moment the slightest twinge is felt it’s off to Harley Street with her and sometimes she’s then whizzed into the nearest boutique hospital for a quick fix, just because they can. And that’s where we were again this morning.
LBH is her hospital of choice so I’m a regular there in my chauffeur capacity and, a little while back, I had another friend in there too so I know my way around this medical locale quite well. It’s right at the foot of The Shard adjacent to London Bridge station and it’s a mess of roadworks. There’s a right way and a wrong way to come upon the hospital by car at the best of times, but right now it’s anyone’s guess the best way to achieve that goal of dropping off the nervous patient in time to meet the surgeon’s schedule without risking a fine by offending a copper or a traffic warden or camera.
So over the weekend, when driving nearby, we had scoped out the best way to approach the hospital by car and just wound up in a horrid, mildly scary situation of half pedestrianised walkways (very touristy round there) and half heinous, confusing road works.
In my dim and distant past I’ve been a London cabbie. No, not one of the black cabs, but in the 1970s I was a driver for a women-only taxi service keeping the streets safe for women at night. So I pride myself on knowing all the back doubles. I know the way to everywhere. The little Royal Marine in me has an in-built sat nav so I don’t own one of those; my belief is that they are for wusses. Don’t take it personally, it’s me who’s ridiculous, not you.
So I was a bit grumpy when, during the recce, we failed to crack this particular navigational nut and I was determined to get it right this morning. I consulted Google Maps and the LBH website and the good old-fashioned A-Z and a clue I picked up yesterday revealed that the only way I was going to be able to come upon the hospital en voiture was to find my way up Bermondsey Street, which is one way (except for bicycles) and also infected with the same road works. Game on, wits pitted by this stage. Me against impossible motoring odds, third time lucky. The first time I simply made an illegal right turn off the bridge with buses honking their horns at me. Once a Londoner.
I followed the directions on Google Maps without actually believing they were going to work, mainly because I have lived and loved and dined and worked in this part of London for 35 years and this was going to mean going up a road I’d never gone up before without being certain of the outcome.
You see now why I’m telling you this story now, don’t you?
My chosen route worked beautifully first time even with no guarantee that it would, giving me plenty of opportunity to reflect during the sunny journey home on the entrepreneurial lessons hidden therein. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t think you know everything, Judith, however many times you’ve been around the block. Take a risk and all might work out delightfully and you’ll have a lovely new route in your cabbie repertoire to feel good about. Maps can sometimes be helpful, you don’t always know best.
I could go on, but I won’t. My writing teacher says I’m to assume my reader is smart.
When was the last time you looked for a new way in your business? The entrepreneurial term is a workaround. There’s always a nifty way round the back doubles. It’s always been there perhaps and we couldn’t see it for looking, or maybe it’s only just opened up or maybe something’s moved out of the way to make it more visible or more accessible. Life is constantly changing and business is no different; we are always on the move.
It’s our job to simply keep up and keep looking for those new ways and maybe even inventing them.