Preparing for this last “Agent Diary” column was very interesting. I went back and pulled up all of the articles from throughout the year and reread them to review the journey that all of you took with me over the course of time. I have to admit – a part of me really wishes that I had accomplished some greatness to write about over the last year that I could point to as validation that I am good at what I do. Ta-Da!
However what I actually shared with all of you were the things that I was struggling with as a day to day part of being in this crazy business. Not only my time management and productivity challenges but also that heart stopping period of time when my hubby was hospitalized and business was the last thing on my mind–and how to keep it going. In the review of those past columns, I also had the opportunity to reread all the comments left on my posts and I have to say, hearing “Gosh I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one struggling with that” really spoke to my heart.
We would all like to be great – but reality is that we have things we struggle with, we make mistakes, or we simply fall short of what we determine would have been our best effort. Often our clients never even know – maybe we were able to fix something before they knew there was a problem; or our standards are just higher than their expectations – but we know and it feels better to know we’re not alone. If that is the purpose my column has served for you, I couldn’t ask for more.
For me, this year of writing has been a process of finding my voice again. I had gotten so accustomed to trying to say things the “right and professional” way to clients that I sort of lost the quirky side of my personality that makes me a real person. As I rediscovered that side of myself – a funny thing happened – I developed better relationships with my clients and my referrals skyrocketed. Imagine that – clients like to deal with a real person too!
So thank you for the opportunity to share my year with you and I encourage you to keep talking out loud about not only your triumphs but also your struggles – especially to the new people in the business. We’ve all been there – and it’s nice to know you’re not alone. And if you are interested in writing a diary for next year…it comes highly recommended by me!
Barbara Oliver is an 8 year veteran of the industry operating two independent travel companies All Together Now Travel and Romantic Journeys (both currently being redesigned) in the Los Angeles Area. In addition to her agencies she is theLos Angeles director of NACTA as well as a regular attendee and frequent panelist at many trade shows. She has her CTA from The Travel Institute and her ECC from CLIA.