Take the Long Road

Take the Long Road

No matter how you slice it, there is no such thing as a sustainable shortcut. On a long enough timeline, those who do things the right way prevail over people who consistently cut corners.

It's pretty normal to want to do things faster. I'd go as far to say that it's the sign of a high achiever to look for the most efficient ways to be effective, and it takes someone with a great amount of self-awareness and vulnerability to admit to themselves that they're not doing something as well as they could be.  

Thus, the temptation of the shortcut is significant. 

But what does a shortcut get you? It might get you a result a little sooner, but those results are never sustainable. If they were, that shortcut would be the way.

The most common shortcut to gaining (notice I didn't say "earning") new business is with the tried-and-true discount. A low price may get your foot in the door, but good luck getting that price back up. Once you've sold something, you've established what it's worth. 

There's no doubt you've made that mistake before, even if it was early in your career and you didn't know any better. That shortcut almost always leads to a dead end or at least makes it necessary to take the long road more often with other accounts and other products.

So, how much of the journey did you really knock off there, Sport?

On a long enough timeline, shortcuts don’t really get you anywhere faster. If you think about it, the length of the road doesn’t matter if it’s the only one that gets you where you want to go 

Magic happens when you do the right things for the right reasons. People notice. You start to develop a reputation. People realize they can trust you (you know... because you’re not the kind of person that takes shortcuts).

You keep showing up day after day, doing work that matters for people who care because it’s just the right thing to do, and the right people recognize and appreciate it. These become your most valuable customers. They happily pay more, because they know they're getting way more than a product or a solution. Not only do you keep margins intact, but through the loyalty you build, those profits are sustainable, and in many cases, able to be forecasted!

You learn a lot. You recognize the nuance from the little lessons you pick up along the way, and you realize there’s value in taking the extra steps to do it right. This is called wisdom, and every person you've ever truly respected has a lot of it. 

When you're not too busy focusing on an objective to pay attention to the people right in front of you, you can make some really deep connections. This creates more opportunities to do really cool things, and when you look to connect your new friends with your existing tribe, it can be absolutely magical.

Take the long road long enough, and you realize it's really the only road worth taking. Not just because it yields the most positive long-term results, but because you realize that the journey is the point. Shortcuts short-change the experience. Live it up, take the long road, and learn from it.