It was a crazy bucket list trip designed to simply do different things. You know, stretch the imagination and show our kids you’re never too old to dream big, push your boundaries and then execute, no matter how sore your muscles might end up becoming.
But like anything in life, nothing is ever so basic and straightforward. I mean, what fun would it really be if we couldn’t share our experiences and link them to helping others think differently. Well Facebook allowed us to do that with our friends and I reckon as a result the travel industry might even be experiencing a spike about now. But as for business, what lessons were learned that really can shift our approach, our focus and our outcomes so that we too can post outstanding results?
I figured there were 7 and I invite you to join us on our journey and learn what we did 🙂
COMMITMENT – I am sure Vegas has taught many people about commitment in one form or another but when you have just flown 16 hours, hired a car and driven another hour to the Mohave desert to tick off an afternoon of cattle mustering and trail riding, and you only have an hour and a half to get back into town in time to see Jersey Boys, and you then find Hotels.com have no rooms even though you prebooked, keeping going is hard yakka! It takes commitment and true grit to dig in deep when the going gets tough and we had to dig deep and laugh, or start divorce proceedings (after all, we were in the right place!) Whilst this was kind of fun and exciting though, how often have you wanted to walk away when things got too hot – when you were under pressure, time frames were pushed, decisions had to be made, uncertainty abounded. Commitment to completion is key and to do it with a smile when you least want to, is even more important.
COLLABORATION – From Vegas to the San Juan Islands, kayaking with the whales taught us a huge lesson that related to both personal and business relationships – the ability to listen to others, to check in regularly, to row together and to try new things. Learning that the back seat kayaker was the one to control the pedals and steer the boat, I left that to my husband, and so didn’t feel the need to listen to the intricate details of pedaling until my husband’s 6’3″frame was too tall to comfortably control the pedals. I was then called on to control the kayak! I was the driver! In the ocean with the whales! It took a while for me to get the hang of it having made the guide explain the rules a second time, and it took my husband a little while longer to accept it was me in control – a bit like not having the remote control at home, but we made it back to shore safe, secure and still married! Working together is key and stepping up when you are not ready, is also key.
COMMUNITY – Onward to the Windy City, Chicago where I joined my group of Women Sales Professionals (womensalespros.com) and was fortunate to speak and share the stage with my long time mentor and friend, Jill Konrath. For four years now I have travelled to the USA and hung out with my tribe of female B2B sales experts where we laugh, learn, love and light up every city we meet in. They say ‘proximity is power’ and when you hang out with those who can lift you higher as they climb, you truly learn to find your wings. Finding a group of people who ‘get you’, support you and hold you to a higher standard is key for any form of growth. Find a group or a mentor you can experience this with.
CURIOSITY – In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert from her book ‘Big Magic’, a creative life is ‘any life guided more strongly by curiosity than fear. The more we encourage each other to walk the path of curiosity rather than the path of fear, the bigger, more expansive, more interesting and igniting our lives can become’. So imagine when we found out, on arrival at Niagara Falls Airport, NYC, at midnight, that the car we had booked wasn’t available and not only was there no more cars for us, but we still hadn’t found accommodation in Buffalo due to a large influx of football fans (plus we had left things to the last minute). Luckily we were upgraded to an SUV after being curious enough to ask, and two hours later having crossed the Canadian border, we pulled to the side of the road, tested the curious creative theory and slept in our car – comfortably. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan, so tapping into that childlike curiosity that is inherent in each one of us that asks ‘what if we try this?‘ and ‘why can’t we do that?’ is key for all kinds of positive outcomes.
CULTURE – When we consider the world we live in today, we realise it is made up of so many different cultures, whether it be experienced through the culinary delights of segmented parts of our cities, enjoyed through multicultural festivals, witnessed through extended families or noticed within members of your team – being successful today is about diversity, it’s about connection and it’s about being able to tap into the way other people think, live, make decisions and move forward. Being a guest of Nottoway Plantation in the deep south of Louisiana showed us into the world of segregation and slavery and the impact on lives and businesses for reasons we are all too familiar with in days gone by. What is key is being able to sit at the table (or the chair) with anybody and be interested enough in putting ourselves into their shoes, empathizing, imagining and caring enough to want to know what goes on in their worlds – past, present and future.
COMEDY – It’s about having fun, it’s about laughing so hard that milk comes out your nose, it’s about finding that inner child that did crazy things, broke the rules and showed up with courage enough to be themselves, because many people are just too serious and care too much about what other people think they look like or sound like or act like. Sliding into one of San Diego’s resorts, literally, sunglasses on and not a care in the world was freedom incarnate. Imagine if we put more humour into our presentations, our conversations, our negotiations and helped others lighten up a little in the process. Australians are great at comedy, not taking life too seriously, possibly because ‘in the colonial era, the ability to make a policeman laugh may have been the difference between the gallows and freedom’. Comedy is Key.
CELEBRATION – The best way to end our trip was as overnight guests on the original Chattanooga Choo Choo train complete with original fittings and service second to none and the restaurant celebrated with us. This was a bucket list moment to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. A time of gratitude and reflection on what we have accomplished as parents, best friends and husband and wife and a moment to toast ourselves forward another 23 years. No matter how small the accomplishment, or how large the success, we all need personal and professional recognition, thanks and acknowledgement because it pays more dividends than anything material and keeps our spirits alive. This is key in any culture, business or team.
So in closing, let me ask you what travel plans you have in the future? They may be global or they may be local, but I am sure of one thing – you will learn a lesson or two along the way to help you achieve A+, world class and best of breed results if that is what you seek.
Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant
Bernadette McClelland is a Keynote Speaker whose message for businesses, sales teams and associations is based on mastering 'absolute certainty in an environment of absolute uncertainty'.
Her signature keynote 'ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY - FINDING YOUR BRAVE' is ideal for those environments looking for fearless leadership, shorter sales cycles and higher performance.
Her business, 3 Red Folders is a sales force development company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia designed to create sales centric cultures through sales strategy, process and psychology.
She is an award winning speaker, coach and author having proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, recognised as one of the Top 35 Most Influential Women In Sales globally and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.