My dad was a salesman. He regularly left home on two-week missions to sell more of his “stuff” in order to pay the mortgage for a home large enough to house my mother and seven children. I was #2, and I remember those days like it was yesterday.
My dad loved to fly and he loved his work. Based on our comfortable living conditions while growing up in a big house open 24/7 to all shape and size kid and their friends, he was a pretty good salesman.
Flying to him used to be an exciting proposition. I suspect that another reason he enjoyed traveling so much had a little to do with that 24/7 thing…but that is just my guess. That being said, he liked meeting people and was quick on his feet. He whistled a lot. He was a happy guy.
I too became a salesman when I grew up and I also took to “the road.” As time passed however, the excitement of lining up like beef going to slaughter while marching down a hot or cold ramp into a cramped, hard, pre-selected seat became less of a treat. The risk of sitting next to a crying baby or some grumpy old codger became a real mood buster. The mere thought of another crowded airport filled with self-absorbed rude people had a way of turning a guy off. I found myself walking toward Gate 42 dreaming of employment behind a hot dog wagon repeating with a lilt in my voice, “You want mustard with your dog? Will Pepsi do? Yes, it is a nice day. Have yourself a good one? Who is next?”
Well, it’s that time again. Time to hit the road. I’m heading for the airport soon on another “Business Trip.” But as time works wonders, I have re-developed my mind-set and am actually looking forward to this trip.
By the good fortune of the CBF, (competitive business fairies) I have been given the opportunity to do some good in this over-populated, over-congested, over-technical, over self-absorbed, over-stressed, over-weight, over-worked, presumably under-paid (except if you are a professional athlete or a Senator…then you too are over-paid) world of ours.
I have an opportunity to make a difference in this stress-filled world. Not by appearing as a judge on American Idol, but by bumping into hundreds of people along the way and sharing a little bit of “bounce” with them.
This isn’t just another business trip. It is a GO (golden opportunity) to spread the benefits of a happy attitude to many who might have forgotten what one looks and feels like.
And the good news is that I do not have to pay anything extra to pack my wares. A smile, a good word and some sincere eye-contact are all it will take. It is amazing how a simple tweak in one’s thinking can make such a HUGE difference in one’s attitude. “Lookout airport people…here I come. Lookout world…likewise.”
Just think about it. I will soon be in the presence of baggage handlers; counter personnel; gate attendants; flight attendants; waiters and waitresses; hotel concierges; jitney drivers; maids: police men and women; military travelers; and I hesitate to mention a periodic “bar keep.”
In each case, there is a small chance that “the boy from New Jersey” can bring some laughter, appreciation, joy, and interest into their ordinary, day-after-day, same-ole, lame-ole existence. How cool is that? How important is that? On this “business trip” I will be in position to make a difference.
And the good news is that I don’t have to be anything but…me. No role playing. No “let’s play pretend.” Just good old fashion, call-em-like-I see-em, add a little levity when the situation calls for it, me.
I once said, “Oh ^&$^! I have to take another business trip.” Now I say, “Oh boy! I get to take another business trip.”
I am sure my father saw these opportunities the very same way. And I am betting it had something to do with his whistling.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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