In Los Angeles, the automobile is king. Whether you are cruising the Sunset Strip, blasting up Pacific Coast Highway, or stuck in traffic on the 405, in this city, it’s all about the car. For some, a car is a means of getting from Point A to Point B. For me, the freedom I have to hop in my car and take to the open road whenever I want has special significance: it’s where I turn when I need to reset and tap into my innovative mindset. Whenever I need time to work through a problem or make a major decision, I often find the wisdom I seek in the simple act of going for a drive.
In fact, some of my best story ideas and breakthroughs have come while, as Supertramp suggests, taking the long way home. Here are three things I’ve learned from my time on the road that have contributed to best business practices and helped me steer my production company through sudden chicanes and seemingly impassable roadblocks in the entertainment industry.
Keep the Air In the Spare: Your tires are what connect your car to the road. They are what determine how well your vehicle handles and stops. Consequently, they are one of the most important safety features on your automobile, and their maintenance is very often forgotten. Ask yourself: How often do you check your tire pressure? When little things are overlooked, like properly inflated tires, accidents can happen. That’s why preparation, proper maintenance, and attention-to-detail lead to safety on the road. For producers and entrepreneurs, there’s a corollary here: it’s important to stay hands-on, check the details, and not procrastinate the small things. By taking the time to inspect your tires for bald spots, and proper inflation you can avoid collisions whether you’re driving your car or driving your company.
Find the Apex: In motoring terms, the “apex” is the precise point you accelerate out of a corner. To stay on course as a driver, or a producer, you need to practice real-time decision making, and take action in moments of transition. When I’m out of the car, and in the production office, I have to be able to pump the brakes on a project if a problem cuts me off or give it some gas if conditions shift. As leaders and innovators, we all know that the only constant is change: market trends oscillate, and innovations disrupt the status quo. When your industry shifts, it’s important to be able to shift with it. In other words, brake before the turn, find your line, and power through.
Remember To Signal: In an automobile, it’s just you behind the wheel. You’re in control of where your vehicle is headed. But that doesn’t mean you’re the only car on the road or the only person in the car. It’s important to tell those around you where you intend to go, so they understand and trust your decision making. The best driving happens when we can all share the road efficiently. Whether you’re driving a car or a company, it’s important to be clear, precise and communicative to those around you to move safely, and efficiently.
Overall, driving is a relaxing activity that allows you to focus on your top priorities and gain perspective. For me, taking to the road reminds me of my place in the grander scope of things. Motoring can truly set your mind free, and help you discover what’s next for you and your company. What’s more, getting away from the city lights can remind you of the essentials: keeping air in the spare, finding your apex, and signaling clearly. So, buckle up, and I’ll see you out on the road.