Over the last 20 years I’ve traveled a lot for business. I’ve also had the good fortune to travel for pleasure. I’ve always looked at travel as a good test of how a person handles life in general. Plans get changed, the unexpected happens, you’re not always in control of circumstances – how you deal with these illustrates so much. Travel has taught me some great lessons.
Lesson 1: Plans change. No matter how well you plan, adjustments always need to be made. It could be the weather isn’t cooperating, connections aren’t smooth, it takes longer to get from here to there – stamping your feet doesn’t help the situation. Embracing the adjustments and looking for things that can be done can make the difference in having a good day or a bad day, or good business vs. bad business.
Lesson 2: Different perspectives. Changing my environment and meeting people that I never would have otherwise have broadened my perspective of what is possible. In business, ideas come from everywhere. Ask those who love your products and services and those who minimally use your products or services – what is the difference?
Lesson 3: Travel with a colleague/boss. You find out a lot about another person when you travel. Observe how they treat others, their tolerance for change, flexibility when things don’t go right, ability to find solutions. What you learn while traveling may influence your interaction with them back at the office. Having a greater understanding can deepen your relationship.
Lesson 4: Everyone is an important part of the whole. Getting out of the office and seeing how many people it takes to serve a meal, transport you from one place to another, provide accommodations, and ensure your safety is amazing. Each has an extremely important part of the process – skilled or less skilled. Honoring each person with that importance can help the process move along.
Lesson 5: Find the source. When problems arise, many times the first person you encounter is not responsible for the problem. Find who is, if anyone – and help them with a solution. I’ve seen too many people get upset with airline employees who have no control over the weather or mechanical problems – those employees just want to get you on your way to your destination – they don’t relish you hanging around for countless hours in their airports. Put your frustration on hold so you can find a solution or alternative.
Lesson 6: Home. If you want things to be as they are at home – stay home. Traveling gets you out of your comfort zone. Being uncomfortable indicates you are growing and learning. What you find uncomfortable today, will be routine later on. To expand and grow in your career or your business, you will not be comfortable. Remember that everyone has gone through that first time doing something new – ask others if you need help. If you don’t want to grow, close the door, draw the shades and stay home.
Do you travel? Like to travel? Have any analogies that you draw on concerning travel? Leave your comments below so we can learn from you.
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