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Posts Tagged ‘Overcoming Adversity’

Traveling, revisited…

To support a corporate initiative, I have been traveling a lot in 2017.  The phrase, “traveling a lot” is relative.  I’m traveling a lot more than I have in recent years; but I’m not traveling nearly as much as my boss or the other true Road Warriors.

Of course, none of us business types travel nearly as much as my friend Monica who is a flight attendant for United Airlines.  With her seniority, Monica has a degree of control over her travel schedule.  As such, she occasionally encounters a passenger that takes the same flights for business purposes.  One such passenger gave Monica a compilation of travel humor that she in turn shared with me.

In 2017 we know that the skies may not always be “friendly”, but we can fly with a smile on our face nonetheless.  I mean, a plane flying in the air is by itself an amazing feat:

So when you’re on your next late; cramped; bumpy flight, here are a few tales to help your disposition, all courtesy of Monica and our favorite Unknown Sage:

Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles.”  Delta 351: “Tower, give us another hint.  We have digital watches.”

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.  While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC ask, “What was your last know position?”  The student replied, “When I was Number 1 for takeoff.”

Taxiing down the tarmac, the DC10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate.  After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.  A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What was the problem?”  “The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine”, explained the flight attendant.  “It took us a while to find a new pilot.”

The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a .38 revolver.  He placed it on top of the instrument panel, then asked the navigator, “Do you know what I use this for?”  The navigator replied timidly, “No, what’s it for?”   The pilot responded, “I use this on navigators who get me lost!”  The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table.  The pilot asked, “What’s that for?”  “To be honest, sir,” the navigator replied, “I’ll know we’re lost before you will.”

A DC-10 had an exceedingly long rollout after landing with his approach speed a little high.  San Jose Tower, “American 71 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if able.  If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101 and make at right at the light to return to the airport.”

After waiting what seemed to be an interminable amount of time taxiing, an unknown aircraft complained, “I’m f***ing bored!”  ATC responded immediately, “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself!”  Unknown aircraft replied, “I said I’m f***ing bored, not f***ing stupid.”

The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 downwind to make a three-sixty, a move normally used to provide spacing between aircraft.  The pilot of the 727 complained, “Don’t you know it costs us two thousand dollars to make even a one-eighty in this airplane?”  Without missing a beat the controller replied, “Roger, give me four thousand dollars’ worth.

O’Hare Airport Control, “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one-o’clock, three miles, eastbound.”  United 329, “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this – I’ve got that Fokker in sight.”

Here’s to getting home safe, Road Warriors – not everyone can do this for a living.

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior”

If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control”

The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time”

Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff”

The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management”

Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader”

A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy”

To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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Who’s TOUGHER than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy the company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But business; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

We can all dream; and for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph.

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what’s called being a Road Warrior!

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”; “Road Warrior”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right. 

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Even without calling into the radio, Lou from Littleton would be proud!

GAP

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Playing Angry…

I was reflecting on my career the other day (heavy stuff, yes?).  I was reading Seth Godin’s book, Tribes ©; ten years after he wrote it; nine years after it was published.  Better late than never as they say.

The theme of his book revolved around individual leadership; chiefs leading tribes; stepping out; stepping up; a pox on “sheepwalkers” aka, meek followers.  (OK, pox is my word, not Seth’s.)  His thoughts about tribal leadership led me to reflect on my career leadership.

I believe I have been a leader throughout much of my adult life.  However, I have not followed the traditional path up the corporate ladder.  Hanging with the “suits” as humorously portrayed in the movie Secret of My Success © was never my thing.  But why?  That was what I was reflecting on.

And then it came to me – since my teenage years, in order to overcome life’s challenges I have been playing angry.  Whether sports competition; sales positions; family adversities; corporate promotions; even independent consulting… in order to succeed I have chosen to play angry.  Not my proudest attribute.

In his book, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun © Wes Roberts draws parallels between one of the most merciless tribal leaders of all time, and business leadership:

Huns learn much faster when faced with adversity.

If there are redeemable lessons that can be learned from none other than Attila the Hun, a more balanced approach to adversity might serve me too:

Competition AND Cooperation

       I think we know how to do competition OR cooperation.  I just don’t think we know how to combine them.  And I think the effective combination of competition AND cooperation is necessary to the survival of our species. 

     We can compete.  Read a history book.  We competed and beat the British. We competed and banned slavery. We competed and women won the right to vote.

     On the other hand, we can cooperate…our church and temple suppers for the family next door who’s experiencing trouble; our Thanksgiving and Holiday gestures with those less fortunate; our too-numerous-to-mention school and community organizations who do this and that for these and those time and time again in the spirit of helping others;

    We just don’t seem to be able to put competition and cooperation together. They come to us as close cousins, we bring them to our people and issues tables yet, all too often, they and we end up sitting on parallel or colliding paths.

    With the above in mind, we stand a chance to move beyond our differences and our dissonance into more humane turf.  Is it easy? No.  Is it possible?  Yes, but it requires incredible effort and persistence toward getting along rather than getting even or getting ahead at all costs. 

    Our present-day mire with competition at the expense of cooperation in our politics, our religions, our schools, our communities, our businesses, and our families will continue to diminish our spirits, our resolutions and, in turn, the quality of our lives.

    The combination of competition AND cooperation will lead each and all of us to a higher ground.  It is a just and worthy cause. 

Topper Steinman

Truth be told; at this stage of my career it’s difficult to stop playing angry; still facing competition; not to mention life’s adversities.

Yet – whether facing competition or adversity – I don’t want to be “that man” anymore.  I’m trying to follow Topper and other tribal leaders who suggest balancing competition with cooperation is a worthy cause.  You?

GAP

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Discomfort…

I chatted with a colleague over coffee recently.  We were discussing her experience and the parallels between acting and selling.  As an actor and a sales professional, she coaches sales professionals on presentation and demonstration skills (check her stellar work out www.performancesalesandtraining.com).

During our conversation something Julie said turned this light bulb on:

Sales success (similar to acting success) requires one to become comfortable with our discomfort.

Oh, and now I’m thinking discomfort is not limited to selling or acting, agreed?  I remember when my wife and I brought our first son home from the hospital after he was born.  He was lying in his crib in his bedroom, sleeping.  I turned to my wife and asked, “Now what?”  Parenthood – a lifelong endeavor of becoming comfortable with our discomfort, true?

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going. 

Unknown Sage

The more I thought about our conversation the more examples came to mind about professional discomfort.  I think about athletes calming their nerves in the waning moments of tight competition; the fame and fortune that goes to the few who made the “big play” during those “big moments” in that “big game”.

Then my mind flashes to the first time my granddaughter got behind the wheel of a car to start learning how to drive.  Everyone was seeking comfort with that particular discomfort; her, me; every other driver on the road!  And that discomfort is not limited to young people:

When I die, I want to die like my Grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep.  Not screaming like all the passengers in his car. 

Unknown Sage

My younger son was a rough rider in high school rodeo for a few years.  I can’t imagine how he overcame the discomfort of lowering his body in the bucking chute onto the back of a soon-to-be bucking bronco; settling in; strapping in; seeking comfort knowing what the ensuing discomfort will entail.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

Cowboy secrets to life’s success:

Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.

Never corner anything meaner than you.

I’m thankful Julie agreed to meet for coffee which stimulated this thinking about discomfort.  She clarified another aspect of my job I hadn’t thought of before.  You see, when I lead sales training sessions I like to take my class participants out of their comfort zone.  Truth be told, I do that because I remember to this day when I was the class participant and totally uncomfortable.

My very first sales trainer, Frank Justo in 1979, scared the bejesus out of me!  The role plays he took the class through were brutal.  Today, as I work with my class participants I smile; remember Frank; and think, payback time!

Thankfully, I came across this thought leadership suggesting one aspect of my approach actually has value:

Training Techniques – Giving Assignments

Hint: People retain and accomplish more when dealing with tasks they are not allowed to complete as opposed to those they are allowed to complete.  We are conditioned to complete things.  It creates discomfort when we can’t, but that discomfort also has a memory value. 

Geri McArdle

Julie summarized that reading for parts and rehearsing for demos whether young actors or old sales reps; are uncomfortable.  Immersing oneself into the role is one technique that helps actors and reps alike, become comfortable with our discomfort.

And hers were very comforting words.

GAP

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I don’t wanna…

As I’m writing this little ditty I’m remembering one of those days.  You too?

Having a bad day in and of itself is nothing rare.  It’s just – I’d rather hear about your bad day and try to console you vs. experiencing that bad day myself.    You too?

It doesn’t matter when I know the cause of my mood.  Today for instance, it began with a family crisis false alarm.  I can’t help it.  Even though my sons are grown men; strong men; men I’m proud of more than I tell them; when one (or both) of them are in danger (real or perceived), I react.  And truth be told in many cases; over-react.  And that’s how my day started.

Once I understood that there was no danger, my mind seemed to switch into this “I don’t wanna” mood.  I tried to carry on; stiff upper lip, and all that.  I tried to have the courage to move forward in spite of the fear for my son (real or perceived).  I turned to our favorite, Unknown Sage; sought courage:

“COURAGE”:  The ability to move in the right direction in spite of fear.

Oh, I continued my day; went to the office; completed my meetings; conducted business as usual.  I mean, it’s not my company’s fault that I’m having a bad day.  Not like what happens at other companies:

Due to recent cutbacks the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice. 

Unknown Sage

And I appreciate knowing that I’m in a job, working for an excellent manager, a member of a terrific team, serving clients who value my contributions, all within a leading company in our industry.  Yes, a rare combination of positive factors many business people do not enjoy (and a source of me consoling them).  Nevertheless, today – I don’t wanna!

Who knows – maybe I have been too fortunate?  Maybe it’s just my turn for a bad turn.  Back to you know who:

Law of Life’s Highway:

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Unknown Sage

I tried to address my poop-in-the-face attitude.  I read a few articles from TalentSmart one of my favorite thought leaders about emotional intelligence.  I perused their “Unmistakable Habits of Irresistible People” and felt bad.  Tried “Surprising Things Ultra Productive People Do Every Day” and felt worse.  Started down their “Body Language Blunders That Make You Look Bad” and gave up!

Maybe, hopefully, my timing is simply a little off today:

“Timing”:

I just heard the sad story of the comic who lost his timing.  He stepped on his own lines, tried to talk over the laughs, and lost his ability to build a strong close.  He got fired from one gig after another until he got so depressed, he decided to end it all.  He went down to the railroad tracks and threw himself behind a train.

The Jokesmith

I know I’m wearing out my welcome with our Unknown Sage  – but maybe I can still find peace:

My therapist told me a way to achieve peace was to finish things I started.  Today, I finished 2 bags of potato chips, a lemon pie, a fifth of Jack Daniels, and a small box of chocolate candy.  I feel better already! 

Unknown Sage

Yes, maybe that’s it – chocolate, booze, and junk food.  Doctor Oz – don’t start with me.

Well, not to worry.  After writing about it I think I going to be alright after all.  You too?

GAP

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It’s a not a diet…

I know I write often about the sales profession – which may not please some of my readers.  I also occasionally upset my marketing colleagues ( http://thequoteguys.com/2016/07/playing-our-position/ ).

I write less about dieting – which might please my fellow couch potatoes.  It occurred to me recently (while reclining on the couch watching athletic activities) that there is a connection between sales-prospecting and dieting.  Fascinating?  Well maybe not, but please read on.

The catalyst for my connection came recently when one of my clients whom I haven’t heard from in 3 years, called for a little assistance; the sales-prospecting kind of assistance.  I receive calls like his periodically; I bet doctors and dietitians do too.

Here’s the pattern: My client is going along; selling successfully; everything seems to be fine; and they think, “Thanks Gary – we’re good; we’ll call you when we need you.”  Kind of like when we’re at an ideal body weight and leading an active lifestyle.  Doctors; dietitians; personal trainers?  “We’ll call you when we need you.”

Then, some of us wake up one morning; get on the scale; and say, “Ishkabibble!  I need to go on a diet!”  Of course, when we seek professional guidance we hear, “It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change.”  True?

If you’re like me, I’m not so good at a “lifestyle change”:

I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is two weeks. 

Totie Fields 

We know it’s true.  Having the right BMI; muscle mass; bone density; and related physiological attributes takes more than going on a diet – it requires a life style change including a big helping of daily discipline.

Back to my client who made “the call”.  Business is down; their sales pipeline is empty; their calendar is void of upcoming appointments; let’s call Gary.  (They must have really been desperate.)

Unfortunately, my message was not what they were hoping for; which reminds me of one of my favorite book titles by Rick Paige:

Hope is not a strategy© 

IMHO, when endeavoring to sales-prospect, you can’t simply blitz your target market for a week or a month and expect success as measured by a filled sales funnel and over-achievement of sales quota.  To avoid the lifestyle change I suppose you could outsource lead-gen; you could have gastric bypass surgery too.

Sales-prospecting is a mind-set; as regular of a routine as eating right and exercising regularly.  It is a week-in and week-out discipline that compliments the efforts made, and assets provided by, our marketing colleagues.

So here I was talking with one of my couch-potato-sales-prospecting clients, thinking of the comparison of their sales-prospecting needs (and complaints) to my need (and complaints) to dieting.  Or rather, “making a life style change”!  Filling the pipeline on the one hand; eliminating the plates of calories on the other; both requiring a day-in and day-out commitment to success.

Both requiring a thought process change:

Question:     Is beer bad for you? 

Answer:        Look, it goes to the earlier point about vegetables.  As we all know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal, mineral, and vegetable.  Well, we all know that beer is not an animal, and it’s not on the periodic table of elements, so that only leaves one thing, right?  My advice:  Have a burger and a beer and tell everyone you’re on a vegetarian diet. 

Unknown Sage 

So, we agreed to schedule weekly meetings to restart their sales-prospecting “lifestyle” change. Question:  Should I drink beer during our sessions?

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  A common greeting these days, yes?  Our response often depends on our mood, true?  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; at least a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 40 years today – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Seventeen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become increasingly more common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for all too many youths in their teens and twenty’s.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us.                           

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton – We are all Columbine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today, and everyday!

GAP

To the Road Warriors…

I used to be a Road Warrior.  My boss still is one.  The toughest kind too – international travel!  Last century business travel was an adventure – first class upgrades; upscale hotels; prepared meals; interesting destinations.

Business travel also played an important role in long-lasting relationships:

The secret to a successful marriage is a husband who travels. 

Lisa Kwiecien

In this century we have seen a great deal of change in the travel industry – to the detriment of Road Warriors.  If you know a Road Warrior (or are married to one by chance), let’s all take a moment to salute how they literally go the extra mile to earn a living.  Add in inclimate weather and holiday congestion and our Road Warriors work extra hard for each and every extra mile.

Current or former – all Road Warriors have those one or two “you had to be there” stories, true?  Don’t get me wrong – our stories are not always ones of disaster.  More along the lines of overcoming adversity I would say.

Here’s an excerpt from my favorite story – it’s the one that literally launched Penny or a Pound Publishing and my hobby of motivational writing.  Enjoy:

            How Steve & Gary Made it Home for Christmas

Christmas week and I’m in Baltimore, Maryland.  In this post-9/11 world the airlines have been transformed.  It used to be you could just show up at the airport and change your ticket to another flight almost at will.  Especially for us seasoned, “1 K”, Road Warriors.  But in 2006, not so much.  Well, I was booked on an evening flight home on Wednesday, December 21st and in over 25 years of business travel; I had never not made it home for the holidays.

Wednesday – I was wrapping up my last business trip of the year.  We just finished lunch so I checked messages before going into my last meetings of the day.  The first voice mail message was from the airline – a computer generated voice told me my flight home has been cancelled.  The second message was from my wife – “it’s snowing heavy in Denver” with a little more than just a matter-of-fact tone in her voice.  My first call was to neither the airline nor my wife – I called the hotel I had checked out of earlier that morning and reserved a room for tonight; just in case.  (Not my first rodeo.)  I’d call my wife back later.

My client decided to shorten our afternoon meetings – after all, it was four days before Christmas.  They thought maybe I could catch an earlier flight home.  I thanked them for their consideration without mentioning the weather conditions in Denver.  In the taxi back to the hotel I called my wife.  “We’re having a blizzard” she blurted, “They’ve closed the Denver airport” and followed almost crying,” Are you going to be able to get home for Christmas?”  “Sure Dear”, I responded, “Don’t worry.  You know I’ve been a Road Warrior for 20 years.  I’ll make it home just fine.” 

I listened to see if she heard any hint of confidence in my voice while in the back of my mind I was wondering, “How the hell am I going to get home for Christmas?”

If you’d like me to email you the full story – let me know.  And if you’d like a hard copy of my booklet Road Warriors © please include your mailing address.

Here’s to those who travel for a living today.   I don’t miss it one bit.

GAP

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