Is there something you just can’t wait to do once things go back to “normal?”
I’m sure most of us have felt quite a bit of cabin fever over these last few months.
One of the things that I personally can’t wait to do again is – travel.
If you’ve been reading this blog, then you most likely already know how big of a role traveling has played in my life.
I’ve lately been reflecting on the fact that travel is probably the BEST form of education anyone could get.
I genuinely believe if more people in our world-traveled—we’d have way fewer problems that we have today.
For example, much of the racial challenges we experience here in America or anywhere for that matter is because of a LACK of understanding.
The media likes to perpetuate an image or “stereotype” of what another culture might be. In pretty much every single case, our media paints the other culture as some dangerous, strange, and unfriendly place.
This is what the media has done for countries like China to prolonging stereotypes in Colombia.
But time and time again, my personal experience (and the experience of many other travelers) has been that wherever I travel, the people usually end up being incredibly nice, hospitable, and nothing like what the media back home portrayed it to be.
People like to say that traveling opens the eyes.
Why is this?
Well, people say that by traveling, one is able to put themselves in a new world of social and cultural norms…
…which opens up their minds to different models of the world.
Which in turn makes them more opened minded to seeing the world from different perspectives!
Next time, when we come across a person of a different background, then we tend to be more open-minded and less judgmental.
Because we understand that although human beings can be very different, underneath it all, as corny as it sounds, we really are all the same as well.
I’ll give you an example:
When I tell my friends I’m going to Colombia, those who haven’t been might ask me if I’m worried or if it’s really like what they see in Narcos.
Most of our preconceptions have been shaped sources outside of ourselves.
This is one example of what people express as “unconscious bias”
It’s the same thing that happens where once I’m in Colombia, the people there often ask me if I’ve eaten dog before (don’t laugh lol).
It’s not that they’re intentionally being “racist,” not at all, it’s just that that’s what they’ve heard or be sensationalized in movies, etc.
So most of our understandings of things we haven’t actually experienced ourselves come from OUTSIDE influences.
I’ve found that for understanding different cultures…
Traveling is truly one of the best ways to do so.
It’s a bit difficult to explain, but there is something absolutely refreshing to me about traveling.
It’s like a whole new adventure, a brand new experience each time!
You know that you’re going to discover new things and concepts from far away places.
It makes me excited just thinking about it!
This actually has an impact on your ability to sell as well.
Traveling opens up the mind to different perspectives and culture.
As a result, you become more understanding and empathetic of other people.
You begin to develop an ability to see things from another point of view.
…and that can be incredibly important in sales.
I like to say that in sales, it’s not about talking (as most people might think), but it’s more about listening.
Sales is a listening game.
And because traveling exposes you to new ways of seeing the world—you’ll become more open-minded and your capacity to hold space and understand another person will increase.
So much of becoming a good salesperson is in parallel with becoming a good person.
I recently listened to a podcast episode around racial injustice and the recent George Floyd incident.
One of the panelists is an African American.
He was saying how because he was well-traveled as a kid growing up, he was able to take those experiences and translate them into greater willingness to understand and get through to people who weren’t as open-minded as him.
Without getting into the context of the conversation—a big lightbulb went off in my head!
A big strength of mine has been my ability to adapt to different environments and learn to deal with people from different backgrounds.
—and that is 100% attributable to traveling.
I realize I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived in different countries.
I realize that if I had grown up and spent my entire life in a 50-mile radius… well yeah, I might have been more closed-minded or more judgmental (simply because of what I’ve been exposed to)
I also attribute this adaptability to sales success as well.
One thing you will definitely have to learn in sales is how to deal with a wide range of people.
If I wasn’t as well-traveled, I might be a lot more judgmental in the way I deal with people.
At the end of the day, traveling has made a big impact in my life – I would even say it’s quite possibly been the most enriching educational experience of my life.
I am absolutely confident that I would be a different person today if it weren’t for the experiences I’ve been fortunate to have in different parts of the world.
For anyone who has thought about taking the plunge, and traveling—I URGE you to do it!
This isn’t one of my “typical” posts on sales but thought it to be something different, but still relevant.
It really is one of those complete game-changers, that until you experience, you just WON’T understand.
So if you’re thinking about booking that trip you’ve always wanted to go on, but for some reason just haven’t done so…
I urge you to do it.
You never know…
…that trip just might change your life.
Even if it doesn’t, you can bet it’ll change the way you see the world.
You might even become a better salesperson because of it.
Travel has been on my mind.
It’s probably because of this whole situation we’ve been in for the last 9 months.
I’ve been feeling like I can’t wait to travel again.
I’m sure we’ve all learned and realized many things during these past few months.
I know one of my takeaways will be just how big a part of my life travel has been, and how much it has shaped me.
There are few things in life that make me come alive more than traveling, seeing different parts of our world, and experiencing other cultures.
I know this isn’t a traditional post about sales, but if you’ve been reading this blog, then you will probably agree that sales is life.
Everything you do in life is sales, because one way or another, you need to influence people.
—and every aspect of our life is relatable to sales as well!
I’ll finish this post with a story –
In the podcast episode I mentioned above, the African American panelist I mentioned had been successful in converting hardcore KKK clan members into renouncing their organization and completely repent and “come clean.”
How did he do this?
How was this African American not only able to have the compassion and empathy to not only tolerate these people but to persuade them to change?
Well, when he was asked that question, you know what was the answer he gave?
He said that he believed it was because he traveled.
Can you believe that?
Out of all the things he could have said, how he had great parents, to how patient and compassionate he was…
But he said it was because he was well traveled.
He had grown up as an “army brat” and had lived in different countries while his dad was stationed abroad.
This experience had impacted him greatly because it exposed him to different cultures and different ways of viewing life.
In essence, it provided different perspectives to look at life through.
It made him a more well-rounded person.
It gave him greater depth, understanding, and empathy.
When a heard that, something clicked inside of me.
I knew that I had always loved traveling and that it had impacted me in a great way… but I wasn’t aware just how big of an impact it had made on my life!
As I reflect on this, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to experience other cultures.
I know it’s not only made me a better person but helped me to be more understanding and empathetic.
Ultimately, that’s translated into my professional life as well.
If you get the chance to travel or if you’ve been itching to explore a certain part of the world…
I urge you to take advantage of that opportunity.
Who knows, it just might change your life.
It’ll certainly change the way you view the world—that’s for sure!
And as travel opens back up again, you can be sure I’ll be in the group of people who will be back again eager to travel and explore our world.