Pictured: Sailing with AMAWaterways: Some would say I actually never rode this bike while in Arnhem, Belgium, but I was delighted at the chance to take a spin in every port on my cruise. For my report on AMA, see pages 58-60.
When I was writing the profile on Victoria Boomgarden, president of Best Travel Gold, for this issue of Luxury Travel Advisor, something that she said reminded me very much of what Jennifer Fox, president of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, said to me earlier this year. The message from each was for young women starting out their careers. “Just go for it,” was essentially what each woman said to those coming up the ranks.
Simple enough, but it’s not always that easy. Both Boomgarden and Fox have enjoyed careers that seemed to push them forward from one end of the globe to the other and, along the way, cultivating skills that would help them evolve into successful business people. It certainly wasn’t as magical as it sounds, as each woman clearly had a dream, a desire and plenty of intelligence to make things happen for themselves. But what each means when they say, “Go for it,” is really, “Don’t hold yourself back.”
For those advisors out there, male or female, newbies in the business or those more mature, take a look at how you are handling your careers. What’s holding you back? Did you start out, wowed at the concept of becoming a travel advisor, but in the interim come up with reasons why you shouldn’t go with the flow of advancing your career? I’m not just talking about traveling here, but about becoming a more powerful person in your company, your consortia or simply in your one-person office. Have you lost your momentum?
In her recently published book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook , illustrates how women in the workplace can have a tendency to sabotage themselves by coming up with reasons for not doing things that will move their careers along. I say it’s a good read, but a better read, again for both women and men, is David Allen’s bestseller, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” One of the top tips I recall from this book is to do things in steps. It could be putting your running clothes out the night before, so you don’t bale and go back to sleep in the morning because you can’t fathom getting started. But it’s really about moving the minutia of a cumbersome task along so that it doesn’t all become a huge obstacle that you just won’t feel like getting around if you’re half tired. Allen is also big into checklists, which could mean tallying up what you need to bring on a trip but it also means keeping handy a roster of things you need to do for your own personal development. At the top of that list should be the dreams you have for yourself, then lead in to the actual goals that will get you there. If it’s taking a course to advance your knowledge, find out the details first and keep them handy. Leave the emotional aspect of how to get the overall task done for a day when you’re really on your game. But keep it on the list so you don’t forget what you want to achieve.
This is all a far cry from the “just go for it” attitude Boomgarden and Fox have suggested, but I have a feeling these very strong women had a personal architecture built into them at an early age that enabled them to keep their own personal checklists at an easy grasp so their dreams became achievable every step of the way.
Remember to keep nourishing that inner core, the one that keeps you strong and smart so that when a big opportunity does come your way, your gut tells you to go for it, not run from it.