Much of a business traveler’s time is spent reacting or responding. “Annoying Thing A” happens. And “Business Traveler B” decides what to do. Some days can seem like a constant impetus/response/impetus/response pattern. Some of us even get good at it. Some of us pride ourselves on our inner peace in spite of Annoying Things A, B and C. (I think some people love to travel because they rarely have to decide things proactively. Their next move is always dictated by something outside of them.)
But think about this: even if we learn how to respond rather than react, even if we learn how to breathe “in spite of,” or even if we “go with the flow,” then we’re still reacting to something.
That’s why what you choose to do in your non-reacting time is a key to unwavering happiness in travel. That’s why it’s good to do some proactivity when you can. Being proactive or creative renews our relationship to our own power. It realigns us and makes us more peaceful and much happier.
Here is a guide filled with proactive tips for the business traveler (or any traveler, really) who seeks unwavering happiness…
Business Travel Tip #1 – Practice Extreme Self-Care
Extreme self-care doesn’t mean that you head to a spa in your spare time. It means you go to sleep when you’re tired. It means you pull off at the next exit when you have to pee. It means you allow a little extra time to get places.
Travel takes energy. And when people don’t practice extreme self-care in healthy ways, they start to reach for it in unhealthy ways. They eat hub-cap-sized plates of pasta and lard, claiming they “deserve it.” They drink more alcohol. They watch TV to numb the fatigue. This isn’t self-care. This is self-medicating. One is pro-active. The other is reactive.
Business Travel Tip #2 – Join Audible.com
Many years ago, I decided to turn my vehicle into a “school.” I joined audible.com. I downloaded and listened to books on business, marketing, life-coaching, and spirituality. (And lots of Carl Hiassen too!) Not only have I learned an enormous amount, but it has made a huge difference in how I show up for a performance after I drive. Audible.com has all the books on tape you could want. You can get a yearly or monthly membership. (I recommend the yearly because you only have to pay once for 12 books.) FYI, Audible has “The Secret” audiobook for much less than everywhere else. But you have to be a member to get the discounts. (Click on the link below to see the different options.) If you have an iPod, then you’ll love Audible.com.
Business Travel Tip #3 – Be your own gatekeeper
In The Master Key System – the book that reportedly inspired Bill Gates to quit Harvard and begin building his dreams – Charles Haanel writes that the conscious mind has to act as a guardian of the subconscious mind…
The conscious mind ought to be on duty during every waking hour. When the “watchman” is “off guard,” or when its calm judgment is suspended, under a variety of circumstances, then the subconscious mind is unguarded and left open to suggestion from all sources.
Travelers are inundated with suggestions. Ads, billboards, slogans, logos, messages, headlines, muzak, and televisions. Most are unavoidable. But I have learned to guard my mind carefully, to find quiet places in airports, focus on happy children rather than Fox News, and simply not read banner ads. When I am my own gatekeeper, I travel happier.
Business Travel Tip #4 – Bring your knitting
All I know is this: knitters, crocheters, and crafters rarely seem to get pissed off when plans change. They just keep knitting! And besides, they left very happy comments in my post about airline delays.
Business Travel Tip #5 – Segment Intend
I keep writing about this because it works. Before any new segment in my day (getting on a plane, getting on the tour bus, going through tech rehearsal, doing the performance) I intend clarity, fun, joy, and ease for that next segment. (Sometimes I clearly state the desired result – i.e., “Finish the first verse of this song.”) Try it. You’ll be surprised how it determines the outcome of the event. Even if it’s something small – like a subway ride – start by intending how you want that ride to go. The more you do it, the more you’ll delight in its effectiveness. (Read more about this in the Abraham-Hicks book, Ask and It is Given.)
Business Travel Tip #6 – Arm yourself with a good affirmation
Create an affirmation. Something simple and easy to remember. Say it often. Say it when you’re waiting in line. Say it when the plane gets delayed. Use it to center yourself. Challenge yourself to say it a thousand times in one day.
Business Travel Tip #7 – Be the last person to board the plane
When the gate agent calls the Zones, let everyone else race to be in the caterpillar pillar. They’ll just end up standing in another line at the door of the plane anyway. Wait until the final boarding call. You’ll have a more peaceful boarding process. And if there’s an empty row on the plane as you board, you can switch your seat because you know you’re the last one on! (Unless you’re competing for that row with someone else who read this post. Then you can both break our your knitting needles and have a duel.)
Business Travel Tip #8 – Give yourself a fun challenge
Years ago, I was flying home from Tucscon. I was having a hard time finishing my song If I Were Me. And I gave myself a challenge. I told myself that either I finished the song by the end of the flight, or I wasn’t allowed to get off the plane. And guess what? I finished it!
Business Travel Tip #9 – Get out
Take a half hour and go for a walk outside your hotel. Google “walking trails” in your current city, and go. In other words, get out. Experience a tiny slice of where you are staying. We can become so isolated and insular when we travel. Getting out takes you outside of you. It’s a date with yourself. Expose your brain to something other than a hotel or cab or plane.
Business Travel Tip #10 – Work out
One of the best habits I’ve developed is a morning work-out. Even on this tour with the ballet company (with no transportation except for the tour bus), I have allotted extra money for cabs to the Y each morning. Exercise calms you. The endorphins make you happier. The proactiveness of it makes you powerful. It’s a great way to begin your day.
Business Travel Tip #11 – Curb Road Food Intake
I’ll write a whole post on this someday, but I do know that food on the road can be a challenge. Food impacts our emotions and well-being. Restaurants use a lot of fats, salts, and sugars – which exacerbate stress and emotions. When I’m on the road now, I eat smaller portions. I also aim for organic, raw and wholesome. I often Google all the local co-ops and health food stores. I make an extra effort to find simple healthy food. I drink tons of water. I know that many people don’t have the time or the will to do all this. I understand. I’ll just say for the record that I’m a much more peaceful traveler when I pay close attention to what and how I eat.
Business Travel Tip #12 – Give
When I’m in a town for more than a day, I find ways to give back. I’ve picked up trash in parks. I’ve fed stray animals. (A lot!) I’ve gone to animal shelters and held the kittens. I’ve left giant tips for housekeeping. On my day off in La Crosse, I went to a nursing home and played my songs for a big group of people in the dining room. Small gestures go a long way. And they ultimately serve you because they take you out of yourself. Yes, it can be a little scary to practice a random act of kindness. (Much of my nursing home audience fell asleep during my show, which doesn’t bode well for my future in the arts, does it!?) But there are so many ways to reach out. See if you can find a few that work for you!
Business Travel Tip #13 – Put Holosync on your iPod
I love Holosync. I use it when I’m on a plane, or when I’m just laying down to sleep in my hotel room. Sometimes I put it on when I’m backstage putting on make up. Visit the website and get acquainted.
Business Travel Tip #14 – Be Grace Kelly
I got this from Sarah Ban Breathnach‘s book Simple Abundance. She wrote a piece about being dignified and graceful. And she said to “Think Grace Kelly.” Sometimes when I’m feeling freaked out or stressed or frustrated in an airport, I think of that passage and smile. Then I imagine I’m Grace Kelly. And it kind of works! A sense of dignity and diva sinks in. Then it just becomes a fun little game. (I don’t know who the men could be. Maybe Gene Kelly. Without the rain.)
Business Travel Tip #15 – Get carts
I used to lug two guitars, a suitcase, and my computer bag all on my own. I’d pride myself on my strength and stamina. Now, I pride myself on swiping my credit card through the cart vending machines that are next to baggage claim. I’m not into struggle anymore. Get carts at the hotel. Get help with your stuff. Tip bell hops well. The extra $50 you might spend is still less than a visit to the chiropractor when you get home.
Business Travel Tip #16 – Arrive early
This one’s a given. But it’s worth saying. Get everywhere earlier than the scheduled arrival time.
Business Travel Tip #17 – Wash off your travel
If I have the opportunity, I always take a shower after I fly. I call it “washing off the travel.” I know that lots of people go right into meetings after they fly. If that’s you, then try to at least shower before you climb into bed. You don’t want to sleep with your travel.
Business Travel Tip #18 – Shower when you have one
This is mostly for us musicians. Lots of times, we perform late, and then we wake up and think we’ll just drive to the next place and shower before the show. The only problem is that you could hit a traffic jam. Or the next hotel doesn’t have your room ready yet. Anything can happen. Shower when you have one!
Business Travel Tip #19 – Be okay about unexpected expenses
My acupuncturist told that he had to rush to the airport in his rental car after a conference he attended. He didn’t have time to fill up the gas, and he paid $32 for a quarter tank at the Hertz desk. He was furious. Travel expenses like this can make you crazy. You smack your head and think, “Why didn’t I leave earlier??!”
But here’s what I told him: Don’t waste the time shaming yourself. Do the healthy thing: let it go. $32 for a teaspoon of gas? Fine. You got to the plane on time, didn’t you? That’s gotta be worth something. Travel is filled with lots of unexpected expenses. Sometimes one hundred to two hundred dollars of your money will get spent because of A) stupid things you did, B) unforseen situations, or C) the fine print. Do yourself a big favor. Just breathe and let it go because A) you’re traveling, B) you’re wealthy, and C) you’re worth it.
Business Travel Tip #20 – Be persistent about awareness and consciousness
A business trip is not the time to start a new diet, a yoga practice, or any new routine. You can, however, keep up your daily rituals, even in small doses. It’s easy to get thrown into unconsciousness when you’re on the road. When you get thrown off, it’s tempting to ignore the very things that can get you back on course. So, write in your gratitude journal. Say “Thank You” the minute you wake up in the morning, even if you feel lonely or tired. Wake up 15 minutes early and spend that time reminding yourself of your intents and visions for the day. Before you rush to your laptop and begin responding (or reacting), give yourself some time for creating the day. Or just get out your knitting!
Any travelers out there? Leave some of your own Business Travel Tips!