I just returned from two trade shows where I had the opportunity to speak with lots, and lots, of travel professionals of varying experience. I’m absolutely convinced of the immense value of travel consultants mixing with their peers at such events. Not only is there the opportunity to establish relationships with suppliers, but also to baseline your travel practice with others in similar circumstances to your own. You will learn everyone struggles, everyone questions their own judgement, everyone is, on occasion, worried and maybe even afraid.
That’s what I want to talk to you about now.
Fear, and its little buddy Worry, stand in the way of your success. Humans worry about things that have not, and may not ever, come to pass. You will find fear and worry to be of little use to you in your travel planning practice. Will I look bad making my presentation? What if the new client says “no” to my proposal? Will the economy fail? What if there is another terrorist attack? Will ebola, ISIS and/or Bárðarbunga affect travel? As others have pointed out, it is unfortunate that elements of the press and government feed a constant stream of gloomy news to us daily. But the possibility of bad news often paralyzes us, making our marketing efforts seem small and ineffective.
Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” How many times do we fail to achieve a small advance because fear of failure stops us? We don’t ask for the referral or at an opportune moment we don’t mention that we are a travel consultant. How many times have you not moved ahead on a “good idea” only to see someone else take advantage of it at a later time?
Fear masquerades in different disguises to appear more acceptable. Fear can convince you that the occasion is not right, or that the timing is bad, or that a better opportunity will come along. Fear will tell you that you might look bad or that you are being too aggressive or that you don’t have enough experience to ask for the business. Any one of these things may at any given time be true. Obtaining business is a matter of luck and timing, skill, practice and hard work. The key is to determine these matters rationally. When you let fear play traffic cop for your instinct, the wrong guy is in charge.
Remember this: fear is purely psychological. Worry does not exist except in your head. Action is the prescription for fear. Might bad things happen? Certainly. Can you do anything about it? Possibly. The one thing you can absolutely do is keep moving forward. Giving in to fear is the worst possible thing you can do. Get up, move, put yourself into play.
Take the chance. If you don’t, someone else will.