Bad Girl, Good Business

Travel, problems, time, and GRIT

I’m back from a 7-day journey (literal and metaphorical).

It involved speaking at two conferences and touring two trade show floors, passing through seven cities (and over others), dealing with an airline fail that almost resulting in my missing a speaking gig, running my business remotely (including a major new media announcement for Booker), participating in my granddaughter’s baptism, meeting and speaking with at least 100 new people, and reconnecting with many more old friends/colleagues.

But other than the family time, my most meaningful and memorable experiences were:

  1. A connection at the Nightclub & Bar Show with Sheila Dayal, a fascinating woman — and not your typical bar owner — who needs help raising funds for a worthwhile cause. (More on that to come in a future post…)
  2. The session I co-hosted on innovation and problem-solving. In just 45 minutes, a group of engaged summer camp professionals were able to wrap their head around an issue and come up with at least 10 creative ways to solve it. I also shared my seven top online problem-solving apps. It was the first time I led this workshop, and we got applause at the end, which is always a good sign. (Let me know if you need a problem solved with your team!)
  3. The keynote at the Tri-State Camp Conference by Angela Duckworth, who does research on GRIT — the power of passion and perseverance.
  4. The aforementioned United Airlines delay, which resulted in an unexpected 24 hour circuitous route from Las Vegas to Houston (through scary thunderstorms) to Newark to Atlantic City, where I delivered #2 on just three hours of sleep (and two cups of coffee). It reinforced my own grit.

So now, here I am at week’s end — relaxing on a Sunday and doing my laundry after an incredible and magical diner breakfast. Before I jump into some work and weekend errands, here’s a summary of what this trip taught me (and hopefully will inspire you too)…

  • Always talk to strangers and smile. You never know where your next incredible business or life connection will come from.
  • If you are kind to people in times of stress, they will usually be kind in return. Most of the people at United Airlines — including the pilot — were caring and helpful. (But that one really mean and humorless airline employee who was snapping at passengers should really consider finding another line of work.)
  • When you have no control of the circumstances around you, just stay focused and go with the flow. Wacking out about it will only cut years off your life.
  • Summer camp people are among the coolest and nicest people on earth. Even though I was only at the conference for less than 12 hours, I must have gotten 50 hugs and 100’s of smiles.
  • Follow-up with all the new people you meet on the road. I used my flight (and flight delay) time to enter names into my database, connect on LinkedIn, and send notes while it was still all fresh in my head.
  • Get enough sleep and allow for downtime when on the road. “You must be exhausted,” people keep saying to me. But strangely I’m not. I was in bed most nights by 10pm, after binge-watching Shark Tank. (OK…I’m a big nerd!) When you travel, be sure to allow time for rest, rituals, and rejuvenation.
  • Enjoy the journey and embrace the moment. We all start down our paths — whether it’s a business expedition or a new venture or a change in our life circumstances — with a sense of purpose and control. Having a plan is terrific. But sometimes the universe has other plans. Just fasten your seatbelt and remember that detours can sometimes take you to interesting places!

 


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