Scenic Routes and Shortcuts

In life and in work, I tend to take the scenic route. For me, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. It’s the reason I dislike people saying, “Ashley, I need you to tell me exactly what you need me to do. I don’t care about the why.”

The “why” is the journey for me. Don’t tell me I need to vote because it’s my duty, tell me that I can help change the world by voting because I’m helping elect the leaders who shape the future of our country.

What I’ve learned recently is that there are people who care about the journey, and those who want the shortcut.

Case in point: our daughter said she wanted to wear backless shoes to school and I try to explain why that’s a bad idea: she may fall, they could slip off, etc. She had a rebuttal for everything (I wonder where she gets it from?)

My husband: “you can’t wear those shoes because it’s school policy.”

Our daughter: “Okay.” And then finds new shoes and goes about her day.

Wait. What? That was easy. What just happened?

My husband led with the policy…it was a shortcut. I learned from a mentor about policies as shortcuts a few days earlier, and it clicked during this exchange with our daughter.

In my mind, whether it’s with our daughter, with work, or with life, I pride myself on explaining the “why”, because I, myself, always want to know why things are done the way they are.

Why would anyone not question “why”? It seems silly to follow someone’s policy blindly. Why would anyone not want to take the scenic route…the answer that goes through the flower fields and mountains?

Because they have somewhere to be.

They have a job to get done, they have 20 other things on their to-do list. They don’t have time to listen to every branch in my, or your, decision-making tree.

Maybe they will, like me, ask clarifying questions and I can take that opportunity to show them the scenic route.

Once I really get to know them, I’ll learn which topics they’ll want to wax philosophic about and which ones I need to get to the point. That, like unspoken dictionaries, makes working with people you’re familiar with much easier.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that there are many times when I don’t like the scenic route. Give me the salient points and keep it moving. I’ve actually written multiple posts about this…

So, I’m doing to others, the same thing that bothers me when it’s done to me…well, damn. I’m that guy!

I can’t think of a clever way to end this post, now that I just ragged on myself for 30 minutes, maybe it’ll come to me after I hit publish. 🤷🏾‍♀️

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