What is a Roundabout?
Today, most people know what a roundabout is and are not asking, What is a roundabout? But in 1930, when the Traffic Circle was newly built in Long Beach, California, this traffic circle roundabout was the first of its kind in the United States. Now, we see many roundabouts all around our country and they are especially common in European countries.
When I was in driver’s training, first learning to drive in high school, we had to drive on the Traffic Circle, or roundabout. It held its challenges because you not only had to merge upon entering the circular street, but also decide where to get off while avoiding other merging vehicles at the same time. I’ll admit, I had a hard time getting off and feel sorry for my instructor!
The Washington Roundabout
I have driven on and seen many roundabouts in my extensive travels, especially overseas, but have recently noticed more and more roundabout locations in the United States. On a trip to Washington state, we unexpectedly entered a roundabout and exited on the wrong street. After turning around, I realized there were some great principles to be drawn from a roundabout that apply to both life and business.
The principles are not rocket science. They are simple. But when applied thoroughly, these principles can help you reinvent, restart, and even transform your life. These three principles are One: Start, or get on your roundabout. Two: Gain perspective from an elevated point of view. Three: Create a strong why to fuel your exit with purpose.
Roundabouts don’t just happen once in a lifetime. Many feel like they’re continually circling after our recent Pandemic. In fact, I’ve heard the word circling quite a bit lately. Life has forever changed in many ways. Even though there has been a major shift in our economy with government shutdowns, isolation and everything virtual, there is also a lot of opportunity to be had if you stay open to that opportunity.
What is a roundabout? Also applies to corporations. Many businesses go through multiple roundabouts. The market changes, products are commoditized, and plateaus are reached. Going through the three simple principles of a roundabout will help most anyone and any corporation, to navigate their roundabout, no matter what stage of life or business they are in.
One: Your Roundabout Start
You have to start to get anywhere on any project. When skier Lindsay Vonn decided to retire from competition, she had to get on her roundabout. Lindsay was a 4x World Gold Cup winner and first American Woman to win Olympic gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
She thought she could just pivot and change course as she no longer had to diet or train as a competitive downhill skier. But it was harder than she thought. The adrenaline rush disappeared and she found herself circling round and round asking, What’s next?
You may feel the same way. It may be harder than you thought to actually start something new. After getting on your roundabout, to keep from endless circling, you can’t hold on to the same mindsets. If you’re feeling you’re not good enough, too old, your time has passed or you’re not tech-savvy enough, those thoughts can keep you circling endlessly! A modification in your mindset will move you ahead to take the type of risks necessary to keep moving.
Two: Your Roundabout Perspective
When stuck circling, you may feel lost and devoid of a clear purpose. It may feel like your why has been stolen! For example, if you’ve had a restaurant during COVID-19, you have faced multiple shutdowns. Many of those in our area have erected large tents and spaces for safe social distancing. This has come at a great cost, but then they were faced with an additional shutdown by the state to restrict even outdoor spaces. What to do?
There are no quick and easy answers for these businesses. The ability to transform a varied dining menu to one that is mainly take-out is what some have done. Meal delivery, using the wait staff as the drivers is another innovative idea. I even heard of several restaurants that furnished live-streamed music to accompany their meal delivery so as customers ate, ambiance was provided right in their homes. This not only added a unique experience but work for musicians in a challenging shutdown. The restaurants why grew stronger in creating this experience for their customers.A strong why or purpose is absolutely essential to create the type of plan to exit a roundabout. In creating that purpose, addressing mindsets, skills, competency, relationships and habits all work together in gathering the tools to create a strong purpose.
A Roundabout Hero™ incorporates healthy mindsets, maximizes skills based on competency, integrates healthy habits, grows relationships and defines a strong purpose. The very basics are starting, then gaining perspective from an elevated point of view to exit successfully with a strong purpose. Those three basic steps will keep you from spinning endlessly.
After the Great Recession of 2008-2009 I hit a roundabout when my large music headline shows cancelled and weren’t booking. I did a little research to determine why. I found that corporations were cancelling more headline music acts than speakers. Discovering this was the beginning of my pursuit in becoming a keynote speaker, thought leader and author.
Look carefully at your options, whether losing a job, entering a new career after raising a family or even if at the halftime of life. Focus on the three main principles of your roundabout and do the work necessary to get where you want to go. There are many that can help and coach you, but you need to do the work!
Are Roundabouts Dangerous?
As an interesting side note, roundabouts seem more dangerous, but they’re actually safer than many other types of intersections. Roundabouts reduce the type of crashes where people are seriously injured or killed by 78-82%. I wonder, though, how many are still circling to keep those statistics where they are. You could be one of them! Don’t let that happen!
Decide to start, merging on to your roundabout. Then get the help you need to gain perspective from an elevated point of view. Finally, solidify your strong why with a clear purpose to exit your roundabout successfully. I know you can do it and as always, I’m rooting for you!
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