Getting and Giving
“When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups.” ~ John Coltrane
There are many reasons to be grateful for having a career in travel planning, but I think the most important is the impact a travel professional has on the life of the client. Travel professionals assist clients to turn vacations, family travel and even business trips into the best possible experiences. By visiting the streets of new cities, meeting people from around the world and exposure to different cultures, we are all made better people, citizens of a larger reality. As a travel professional, you have the opportunity to play an important part in people’s lives.
Being a profoundly practiced introvert, I’m convinced every trip across borders is also a trip inward, a journey into the psyche. Whether we simply decompress from an overly stressful period in our life or if we are more overtly seeking out cultural and spiritual edification in our travels, outward journeys are almost always accompanied by inward expeditions as well.
Sometimes the nearest border is as close as your front door.
Getting what you want for yourself, at its best, means giving something to others. In particular, involving yourself in community service and charitable causes is good business. I’ll try to leave the esoteric reasons for giving in the background and discuss the practical implications of adopting a servant mentality in your business dealings.
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” ~ Flora Edwards
- Networking and PR – Casting your bread upon the waters is one of the oldest of counsels, arising from the intuitive knowledge of the reality of karma in its most basic sense – what we send out into the world returns to us at times unexpected. When you involve yourself as a business person in charitable causes, people take notice. The altruism inherent in public service speaks well of your understanding of the role of the business community as leaders. Few networking opportunities have such potential as working side-by-side other volunteers. Those you get to know will associate you and your travel practice with a greater good.
“You will find, as you look back on your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others.” ~ Henry Drummond
- Morale – Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates (CEENTA), a 64-physician group in Charlotte, N.C. formed CEENTA Cares run by the company’s 500 employees emphasizing charitable giving. Second Harvest Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity have been two of their recent projects. Amazing bonus – the company has discovered a well-spring of camaraderie and common purpose. Working together for a good cause outside of employment obligations provides your company with an unique opportunity for bonding and good will.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~ Maya Angelou
- Improved Performance – Here’s the really selfish reason for charitable giving – it makes you better at what you do. When your business ethic is expressed in terms of the benefits others derive from your company, you engage the desire of others to do business with you. People come to you for advice not so they can put food on your table but so they can derive value. The consumer’s motivation is strictly selfish. As a business person, however, if you adopt an equally selfish ethic you will spook the potential client. Your motivations of necessity have to arise from a confidence in your ability to help others. Anything else looks far too hungry and even a little scary. There is no better place to practice some very important business skills than in your charitable giving in your local community.
Real masters of any art are passionate about sharing their skills, knowledge and abilities with others. I suspect it’s not success that makes a person generous, but rather generosity giving rise to success. You have the opportunity in a divided and cynical time to play the role of healer. The best leaders take on a servant mentality, involving themselves in service, imbuing their business ethic with a sense of purpose much larger than the need to earn a paycheck.
“Down in their hearts, wise men know this truth: the only way to help yourself is to help others.” – Elbert Hubbard