Your Travel Agency

Your Business and Self-Actualization

Business and Self-Actualization

Written By:  Joanie Ogg, Editor and Co-Founder – Travel Professional NEWS



One consistent definition of self-actualization is the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. If this is not a great example of the definition of a travel agent owner, I don’t know what is!


Owning and operating a travel business demands unique and timely knowledge to service the needs of the clients with just the perfect vacation or other travel experience. The drive to keep at the top of one’s game and current on products and offerings is paramount to success.


A great reference is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is a motivational theory in psychology comprised of a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Self-actualization is the top tier in that pyramid. This concept coined by Maslow refers to the process of achieving a hierarchy of needs – physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, and esteem – in addition to reaching one’s full potential.


Maslow studied individuals that he believed to be self-actualized because they all had some very important similar characteristics. Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln were just a few of those he chose for his studies. His first book “Motivation and Personality” was published in 1954 and was the first of many mind-altering theories on human behavior.


Self-actualized people can be described as individuals who are fulfilled and doing all they were capable of. This well describes the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in so many of you travel agency owners. Read on and I am sure you will agree that these 9 statements clearly define you and if not, they are certainly something we can all strive for.


1) Self-actualized people embrace the unknown and the ambiguous.

This is most certainly a trait held by successful travel professionals. It is utterly impossible to be up to snuff on every single destination, resort, ship, etc. So one must embrace the unknown and research as much as they can to garner knowledge of that product or service.


2) They accept themselves, together with all their flaws.

Being able to honestly tell a client that you are not altogether familiar with a travel request they present you with but that you will find out all that you can for them and report back, is a sign of your acceptance to be human. You cannot know it all, but the willingness to research is acceptance of your need to know more.


3) They prioritize and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

It is funny how this statement could not even be more travel professional focused, right? On the yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly to-do lists that we all juggle, we have to take time to experience the joy in the journey of growing the business and not focus entirely on the final end goal. While that is important to keep in on the radar as a goal, getting there should be fun too!


4) While they are inherently unconventional, they do not seek to shock or disturb.

Well, unconventional could be one of the best words to describe our business. Every changing, every evolving and always new and innovative is what the travel industry is known for and where travel professionals thrive.


5) They are motivated by growth, not by the satisfaction of needs.

I have a little difficulty with this statement as I think we are all certainly motivated by growth of our respective businesses and that often satisfies needs we may have. The satisfaction of the needs is most likely secondary though for those who are self-actualized.


6) Self-actualized people have purpose.

The question here is what is your purpose? Is it to travel and share those experiences and the knowledge gained with your clients? Is it to make tons of money and run a large successful business? The purpose is certainly going to be unique to every one of us.


7) They are not troubled by the small things.

It is always said that we are best looking at the “Bigger Picture” and not focusing on the little things. However, in travel those little things really do matter to the final experience a traveler experience.


8) Self-actualized people are grateful.

Who is not grateful for being a part of this amazing industry we are in? We are a very grateful lot!


9) They share deep relationships with a few, but also feel identification and affection towards the entire human race.

Again, here is just another statement that really epitomizes our industry. We see the world as our menu and savor the cultures and experiences that each unique part that makes it whole.