I’ve always been a goal-setter. For years, I’ve spent the Christmas break taking stock of the highs and lows of the past year in order to hatch an elaborate plan for my best year ever. I love scribbling out ideas on a white board in color coded pens. Personal, Professional, Family, Finance, Community, and Wellness. In the center, I draw the word “ME” and circle it boldly, hoping for some divine inspiration on how “ME” can grow.
This year, I approached my incubation period a little differently. I followed the advice of various goal-setting experts, including Evan Carmichael, that suggest you narrow the process to focus on one word or idea. My word for 2019 is: breakthrough. I chose breakthrough because it’s paramount to transformation, and encompasses both breaking through and taking the steps required to stay on the other side.
Here are my five tips on how to have a breakthrough in your travel business.
The first and only step you need to start your breakthrough is to admit that you need one. A breakthrough is much more than a goal. It’s the biggest “a ha” moment of them all. It means jumping up ten levels in your business.
It’s letting go of customers whose expectations exceed your boundaries, or committing to stop worrying once and for all. It may even mean switching agencies or careers if you can’t find the support you need to sell or do what you’re most passionate about.
2. Facing your fears
Seth Godin calls it “dancing with your fears...Your best work lies just outside your comfort zone.” You must identify what’s holding you back, and do it anyway.
The fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what people might think if we even take that first step can all lead to a slowdown or a full stop. For example, you may want to break through and sell luxury 6-star cruises, but you fear people will find out you can barely afford a 3-star vacation.
Once you identify what’s holding you back, write down all the ways you could overcome your fears. At the top of the list should be finding someone just like you who started with very little knowledge or income and asking for advice on what matters most to a luxury client on vacation. The art of selling is learning the best questions to ask, rather than having all of the answers.
Fears are like a parking break in your car. You can still drive, but you can feel the drag. Face your fears, release the tension by writing them down, and you will fly!
3. From passion to purpose
One of the biggest reasons we become stuck is that we no longer do what we were born to do. What started out as a passion for travel, somehow becomes derailed and we wake up to a travel business that drains our energy and we feel overwhelmed trying to be all things to all people.
Take time to figure out your unique purpose within the travel industry. It’s a space that only you fill. Your purpose lies in the intersection of what you love most about the travel business and the kind of customers you feel the most connected to.
Perhaps you connect with empty nesters who want to find themselves again after the kids are gone. Or maybe you want to help Millennials with adventure travel because it has always been a passion of yours to do daring things. Purpose always has two elements: What is your unique gift, and who needs you to share it with them the most?
4. Resolve to take the next step
This is the practiced action of committing to take the next step, no matter how big, steep or scary.
For those of you on the West Coast, you’ll know the Grouse Grind. It’s a 2-kilometer, natural staircase straight up the side of a mountain. Early on in the hike, your body will tell you this is no ordinary exercise. While some of the steps are slightly harder than a brisk walk uphill, others require your tired, screaming quads to propel your bodyweight three feet up in the air. The only help you can ask from your arms is a very ungraceful scramble along the ground while you try to find something to pull yourself up with. It’s not pretty, but you find a way. Resolve says that, no matter what this next step looks like from the outside, I will keep going!
In your travel business, sometimes the next step might mean doing a Facebook Live, or finally taking that social media class, or joining a networking group. You can’t cherry-pick the steps, or go around them. You’ve got to go through them when they come up.
A breakthrough is a very humbling place, full of life’s greatest rewards, but it is almost impossible to achieve without help. Find someone or something that propels you forward. Recently, I started a 30-day fitness challenge and announced it to my friends and family on Instagram. It’s actually remarkable how empowering it is to have a community to hold you accountable.
Find another agency owner or travel advisor who is ready to commit to a breakthrough. They can have a similar goal or one that is entirely different. The thing you share in common is a commitment to bring about lasting change in your business.
If you’re ready to break through and don’t know where to start, reach out to me (email@example.com) and I’ll give you some suggestions on where to find the best resources. Join me as I commit to my breakthrough in 2019!