A Long Car Ride

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

20 September 2018

There comes a time in most licensed drivers’ lives when they’re required to take a long ride. I’d categorize this type of drive to be longer than two hours. Sometimes those rides are taken with a car full of family or friends. Yet other times they are taken alone, or with a mostly sleeping eight-month-old cherub. With any road trip, there is usually a pinch of preparation, ample anxiety, and even some excitement involved prior to the departure. Those days and hours leading up to the trip may have seemed unending or perhaps flew by too quickly. But with one slam of the car door, a quick turn of the key, and a gentle shift into drive, you’re on your way.

My latest long drive was one spent in solitude. Thankfully, my aforementioned infant son slept for 75 percent of the journey. I was able to listen to the music of my choosing, think through situations I hadn’t had the time to ponder previously, and remind myself of who I am and what I’m capable of. You learn the most about yourself when you’re by yourself. You’ve got no one to impress, blame, expect things of, or hide things from. It’s just you.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. – May Sarton

Solitude is empowering – if you’re talking about yourself or your brand. What story are you trying to tell with your life? What story are you trying to tell with your brand? Your story is more than what you have said or done; it’s compounded by the way you’re interpreted. You can say yours is one of the most important companies in the nation. But that doesn’t make it true. You can say you’re the master of communication. But that doesn’t make it true.

Only in solitude do we find the time to examine ourselves and our stories empathetically. There isn’t enough pause in a normal conversation to get that deep. The same goes for your company. We say so much on our website, in our press releases, in sales conversations, and in our conversations with our co-workers. And that empathetic pause is rarely there.

We may not be able to regularly afford the time to reflect on our brands, but we should find the time to mentally take that long ride. Enjoy the solitude and emerge a little more confident and assured.

You’re in business for a reason. You’re alive for a reason. Why?