What I’ve Learned About Business From Traveling

Relationships are everything. Without a relationship with those around you, a place is just a place; with a friend, it’s an experience. But know when it’s time to cut ties – maybe you don’t share the same philosophy or you’re just starting to get sick of each other. Don’t prolong it, move on and look back with a smile. Better to take a step back and maintain the relationship than to try and force something and end up destroying it. In business it’s the same way. You develop trust and share ideas which can add value to both of you.

You get a lot more out of everything with context. Without context, the scenery all looks the same. But if you know something about where you are, it can create or change the meaning. For example, in Athens I watched the sun rise over the Acropolis from a rocky outcropping. It was made much more meaningful by knowing that I was standing in the place where the Athenian Council used to meet on such matters as deciding the fate of Socrates. If you understand the context in relation to clients, you will then understand the culture, the problems, what will work and what won’t.

Recognize when it’s time to move on from a place. It’s perfectly alright to stay a while in one place. It’s perfectly alright to move on quickly. If you’re someplace that fits your style well, stay a bit longer than you planned. Every place has some reason to stay on longer – people, scenery, nighlife, solitude, etc. But if you find yourself not getting anything out of your time, leave early.

Know your goals; know your purpose. If you haven’t set out what you intend to do, you can’t possibly succeed at it. If you’re pursuing a goal that is undefined, you’re just wasting time and money going from place to place. Once you’ve established what you’re trying to do, your path becomes pretty clearly defined. But if you don’t have a goal yet, it’s alright to meander around as long as you know where you stand. Eventually you’ll find something that makes sense and meandering can lead you to it.

Don’t waste too much time planning, get out and start doing. Plans will always change so worrying over the smallest details before getting there is largely going to be wasting time. Most things can be figured out when you’ve arrived. Once you get to a place, don’t force reality to conform to your plans – this will always be a disaster. Any plans you do make should be able to adapt to changes.

Look around. Don’t miss out on something great because it’s not in the guidebook. Events are often more important than scenery, and events can change on a moment’s notice. Don’t miss out on an opportunity because you weren’t looking around.

Don’t be afraid to go alone. Sometimes you’ll find out you’re not alone and that many others have gone along the same path. Sometimes you’ll find something great that most people haven’t. But you’ll get more out of it if you have to discover things for yourself and learn your own lessons.

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Posted on October 20, 2009, in Travel Skills and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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