Why Travel Is Good for Your Brain, and Your Business

Photo credit: Jen McClurg

I hear a lot of complaints about air travel these days.

Airports are too slow. Too crowded. Too this. Too that.

But me? I love airports. I love the sheer variety of human beings and their stories that are played out on those concourses every hour. I love thinking about where they’ve all come from and where they’re all going. 

It probably helps that I love flying, too. :)

These photos are from a trip I took to upstate New York in July.  You don’t see things like this when you’re stuck behind your desk.

But it’s not just flying. I love driving just as much. Exploring a new road, wandering through a new town, driving across a new state. I find that equally fascinating. If you have an open and curious mind, just seeing the way the land changes across the miles can make you think.

I grew up with parents who loved to travel, and clearly they’ve passed that love on to me. I don’t even care about the hassle factor.

The expansion – and delight – that I experience with travel is worth whatever I have to do to get there.

But not only is travel pleasurable, it’s good for you.

As you’re reading this, I’m on yet another Adventure, exploring the land and lilting music of Ireland. While here, I’ve been invited to speak to a large group of entrepreneurs in Dublin about how they can build more confidence and be more successful in their businesses.

And I created that talk on the plane to New York last month.

Getting out of your familiar surroundings frees up physical and mental energy in ways that you probably feel, but may not recognize.

And if you’re an entrepreneur, travel is an especially effective way to get your creative juices going.

Have you been anywhere new lately? If not, you may be missing out.

Here’s what travel will do for your brain – and your business.

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Making Tough Decisions Leads to Happier Business Owners

Photo Credit: Portobay Hotels on Flickr

“Well – I did it,” she said.

There was no fanfare. No high fives. No confetti drifting down from the ceiling.

If anything, there was uncertainty in her voice, as if she wasn’t quite sure how to feel, or what to say. She’d made her choice, and she’d mailed the letter. Should she be proud? Excited? Worried? Maybe terrified?

She was all of the above.

As the owner of a thriving counseling practice, Holly had experienced her share of success. When she opened her doors a few years earlier, she couldn’t imagine that anyone would actually pay her for what she did.

Do you really think I can do this?” she asked.

You know me. You know what I said to that.

So she made the decision, signed a lease, set up her space, and opened her doors. And because she had a strong network — and was really really good at what she did — it didn’t take long for her days to fill.

Word got out. Her phone rang off the hook. And before long, there were too many people wanting too much of her for too many hours a day.

If you’re just starting out, that sounds great! Too many clients? Really? Ohhh to have such a problem!

And yet – it wasn’t just her clients. It was her family. Her friends.

Her own soul.

All of them wanted her attention, her energy – and she had less and less of that to give.

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How to Free Up Energy and Regain Momentum

Photo Credit: Michael Napoleon on Flickr

“It’s happening… I’m starting on Monday, at 6:00 a.m.”

She wrote with certainty. My sweet friend and fellow entrepreneur announced her clear intention with power – and perhaps a hint of dread :) –  in her voice.

Knowing how important mindset was to her success, she’d been searching for ways to establish a daily meditation practice that would help her start the day centered and clear.

But as a busy mom AND owner of a super successful, high intensity business, finding space for that Just. Wasn’t. Happening.

So she made a decision.

She would start small: just 10 minutes a day on weekdays. She’d post to her mastermind group online, whether she did it or not. And, she’d text me, her accountability partner, when she was done each day. In fact, we agreed we’d do this with – and for – each other.

Such a small thing. Ten minutes a day. What’s the big deal about that?

Everything.
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How I Became an Accidental Entrepreneur

Photo Credits: Gideon Tsang, Flickr

Perhaps your life goes like this.

You set a goal.
You make a plan.
You implement the plan.
You reach the goal.
You set another goal.

 Nice and steady. Straight up. Unwavering. Always on target.

Yeah. Not me.

I set a goal.
I make a plan.
I implement the plan.
I hit a few curves in the road.
I find a new goal I like even better.
I make a new plan.
I stumble into a stop sign.
I take a detour.
I may or may not make it back to my plan.
I may or may not make a new plan.
I reach my goal.
Or change it to another goal entirely.

I keep moving up.

It’s messy – and it may sound completely crazy.

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What Your Small Business Should Learn from Big Business Mistakes

Photo by Alim Mohammed on Flickr

They’d lost seven million dollars in one year…

But after two years of losses, the numbers finally looked better. By the fall of 2010, Starbucks had earned $152 million, compared to that awful loss the year before.

That was a giant shift for a company many thought was dying, and the success was sweet.

But it sure wasn’t easy.

In his book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, Howard Schultz, Starbucks ceo (they don’t use capitals), tells a story of transformation as they went from hanging-on-by-a-thread to alive-and-thriving through the Great Recession.

It’s a powerful story, and a fascinating read.

“Personally, for the first time in a long time, I felt as if we were winning.” He writes.Not that we had won, because there is never a finish line, but that despite the odds, the brand and our partners were prevailing.”

It was the fall of 2010, and that’s what Schultz thought just before calling investors with long overdue good news.

Schultz, the company’s founder, had stepped away from the CEO role eight years earlier, when everything was going well. Starbucks was opening stores around the globe at an astonishing rate. Profits were steady and always on the increase.

Yet by 2006, he’d begun sensing an intangible change when he visited stores. Something was missing; the customer experience had shifted in ways that he could feel, but not explain. Traffic was down considerably.

Something was just flat off.

And it bothered him.

A lot.
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