How do you travel?
Some walking, some driving? Part walking, and sometimes by van, bus, carpool or taxi? Strictly fly first-class and shuttled by limo?
Do you notice any changes in your perspective or mood as you travel one way or another?
I’ve travelled by various modes of transportation. Growing up as the child of an airline executive, I was able to travel to other islands and countries (from 6months to 21yrs), on any airline for a small fee (taxes really, and sometimes by rebate ticket.)
Can I share something with you? This is the longest pocket of time I’ve ever been in Barbados – or anywhere, without being on a plane – and it’s only been less than a year! I’ve been to 20 destinations so far and was probably the least likely person to be working (mostly) from home up to just a few years ago.
Learning to sit in the stillness, while moving with purpose, and growing in gratitude is one of my life lessons in this season.
We had tickets, but they were ‘stand-by’ ones, so seats would only be available to us, if a passenger cancelled at the last minute, or no additional tickets were bought on-the-spot. There were many times, when we were paged by the air steward, and escorted with an apologetic smile to the stairs, to head back home and try again on the next flight or the following day.
My mum wasn’t bothered one bit. I was a little girl who wanted to see relatives living overseas, and it took me about 10 attempted flight-boarding experiences, to overcome the feelings of disappointment and embarrassment, and embrace the fact that I was practically travelling anywhere – practically FREE, and even flew alongside the pilots.
entrepreneurial lesson: Building a business requires endurance. There are hits and misses in life and business. Don't be embarrassed by your process.
There will be disappointments and bloopers along the way, and at times it may feel like others are getting “your” seat, but fear not. Get up, celebrate their journey, wait your turn, and do what you need to to be ready. There’s already ‘flight’ and ‘seat’ assigned to you. Think about it as being given more time to prepare, and a test of patience.
Overlooked for a promotion or group project? Make like Aaliyah and “dust yourself off and try again.” Don’t worry who’s looking, or laughing. Chart a path and take a step.
If you’re a believer, you know that we can attempt to control whatever we like, but God is in charge and His timing, way, and assignment are always perfect, on time; beyond anything we can expect or imagine. Trust that what is for you – is for you.
Gratitude goes a long way!
As you enter a plane and show your boarding pass to the air steward/ess, the mind starts to prepare for the location assignment of you and your carry-ons. “Straight ahead, and to the right – window seat.” From the first step, there are faces (often looking down to a document or device or across through a window) belonging to passengers travelling first-class. I’ll get to this in the next paragraph, and share a bit of my experience and a lesson to match.
There’s a curtain that separates this section from the coach, and before take-off, the loud and brisk “kschhhhshhhhh” echoes down the plane’s carpeted hallway and windowed-circumference. It’s the sound of the curtain being swooshed closed, defining the first-class and coach sections, and passengers.
Still, both categories of passengers are aboard the same plane heading in the same direction to the same destination – each compelled by a different purpose having a different experience, though many share the same reasons for travel (visiting family, a pressing appointment, meetings, business, and holidays.)
entrepreneurial lesson: Each business has a purpose, assignment, message, and method of delivering a message.
Some messages, businesses and people align. Perks and bonuses come at different times, and some work well solo, while others thrive in a group. Pull back the curtain in your mind; the one that tries to block the view of the best you – and keep that vision in mind.
Remember your essence. Whatever season of life or business you’re in, be thankful for where you are and focus on where you’re growing, regardless of the movement around you. For any door that closes, another opens.
No one is better than anyone else. Be you, and serve others well. Start where you are with what you have.
Don’t wait until the day you ‘finally get an office in that sweet new building at a prime spot in town’, to do the work needed to build your business. Working from home or corner of a cafe? Do it well and with enthusiasm. Check your character while waiting.
The first time I flew first-class was an eye-opener for me. I was used to scrambling to assemble like ants at the boarding station, being herded onto the massive plane, playing musical chairs with strangers for a seat, and navigating frantic elbows and suitcases to find luggage before entering the on-board congaline to disembark, when you reach the destination. Personalities are pronounced when the pilot announces arrival at x or y.
The stewardess had come over to my seat and leaned over to share that, due to my frequent flyer status and racked-up miles, I was being moved to the first-class section. I would later travel this way a few times as well as by coach and enjoyed them both.
There are people who can easily afford to fly first-class who prefer to travel by coach and rock shorts and T-shirts, and others who would love to enjoy the many perks that come with flying first class (more legroom, swanky seats, menu, complimentary gifts.) Whatever the seat assignment, I hope to be thankful, present, and purpose-filled.
entrepreneurial lesson: Don't compare your journey to the ones of others.
What was this? A hot towel handed to me with a tweezer delicately held by a manicured hand? An in-flight menu? You mean there are more possibilities aside from “chicken or fish” – “coffee or tea?” I have to admit, this blew my mind as I first reclined into my humungous and cosy seat at the front of the plane. The seat was so large I could have considered sub-letting it, and there was more space than my 5 ft frame would ever need on that or any flight.
After a few moments, I smiled quietly at the curious side-glances of the few surrounding passengers and noted that I was the same person doing the same in-flight activities – being perceived in a different way, because of a promotion in my position. Any existing problems hadn’t suddenly vanished, but in a moment there was special treatment (that would last as long as the flight, and live on only in a memory.) Still, I gave thanks for the experience and reminded myself that…
no matter how we move up, we aren’t called to look down on anyone
not everyone will celebrate your promotion, and that’s okay
entrepreneurial lesson: elevation comes through perseverance, and sometimes it arrives at the time when you least expect it.
Whatever season of business you’re in, appreciate the journey and don’t define yourself or your success by what you have.
Did you find this post encouraging? Feel free to share it with a friend. Interested in a Part II featuring lessons from travelling on a speedboat, ZR van and ice cream truck?