Written By: Jackie Friedman, President – Nexion Travel Group
In last month’s column I talked about turning lemons into orange juice with ways to be resilient and flexible when dealing with change. As I’ve been seeing recent stories about high school and college graduates, I have been wondering how our younger population is handling the dramatic changes we’ve seen worldwide. Despite the turmoil, they have so many dreams they want to accomplish, and their eyes are wide open to the future and how they will get there.
Like these graduates, it’s important to know that we can all still live our dreams. It may mean needing to find an alternate way of doing that or changing the plan a bit, but the only thing standing in the way of acting on your passion is you.
As we all continue to learn and accept the ‘new normal’ in a world of changes, I challenge you to look at your world and travel agency business with the same thirst to pursue dreams and hunger to accomplish great things as these graduates. Here are a few ideas to whet that desire.
Dream it and turn “I wish” into “I will.” We can all sit around waiting for the phones to ring or wishing more clients would book travel now. But where’s the fun in that? If business is down, take control of the situation and try looking through a different lens — a positive lens. Focus on what you can do. You probably can’t change what’s going on around you, but you do have control over your own actions and attitude.
Hard times bring a lot of soul-searching and questions. Do you still have the passion and belief that you can make dreams come true, both for yourself and your clients? Don’t let how you’ve always done things get in the way. Take a step back and start with your desired outcome, and then determine the best way to make that happen.
Turning “I wish” into “I will” also means being goal oriented. Think back to why you got in the travel industry in the first place and what you hoped to accomplish. Do those original goals still make sense for you now? Slow periods in your business are the perfect time to review goals to determine if they still fit your business plan or if they need to be modified.
We’re all in this industry because we have the passion for travel and for helping others achieve those travel dreams. Don’t let short-term disruptions take the light from that passion. You may need to take a detour to achieve your dreams, and that is ok!
My friend and industry colleague Scott Koepf used to always joke about getting to Nirvana. I would remind him that there are no non-stop flights to Nirvana – it takes multiple steps and small wins to get there. So, take this time to review your small wins and stepping stones. Tweak your approach and readjust, if needed, on what your Nirvana is.
Believe it by visualizing success. To get to your happy place, you truly must believe it. Ask yourself what success looks like, both professionally and personally. Success is a balance. As small business or solo entrepreneurs, it’s especially important to look at business successes and how those fit into the overall priorities in your life when finding that right balance. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and most likely taken a lot of risks.
Believing it also means surrounding yourself with positive people. Who within your professional travel community as well as your personal network is a positive support system? Are you tapping into mentoring, coaching and networking resources available through your host agency? How are you gaining energy and ideas from friends and family who are successful in other industries? One idea is to set up a personal advisory board of people who can help review your plan and poke holes in it for the purpose to make it better.
Have you ever seen a really awesome idea and wished you had thought of it, especially when it seems so simple? The fact is nothing is stopping you from coming up with creative ideas that could equate to profitable business. Successful entrepreneurs allow themselves to think big. Give yourself the opportunity to do the same. And remember, for every great idea there may be 50 not-so-good ones. You just need to visualize the one big idea and remove “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Don’t worry at first how you’re going to do it and implement it. Come up with the ideas first and then determine the how. Identify those opportunities you’re passionate about and that you believe in, and success will follow.
Achieve it by staying focused. Having a plan is one thing, but it means nothing unless you have regular progress checks to see how you’re doing. Check in with yourself periodically to ensure the things you do are aligned with your overall goals. If you start seeing your day-to-day work straying from your over-arching plan, take a step back to look at what changes to make.
Along the way, and especially if you are struggling with losing focus or staying motivated, identify and celebrate small wins and important milestones.
At the end of the day, we’re in a fantastic industry. If you’re not having fun doing what you do every day, then it’s important to take a moment and really look at what it will take to get there. Open your eyes wide, and like those fresh graduates who are full of energy and desire to pursue new challenges and goals, take a moment to reflect on your passion and dreams; and then determine next steps to get you, and your business, to that happy place.