“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
I am a believer in action. So many times in my professional career, I have been faced with tough decisions, typically arising out of a crisis of varied sorts. The Gulf war in 1990, 9/11, SARS in the early 2000’s, having to start a career over in 2004, the real estate crisis of 2008, Covid-19 in 2020.
It isn’t like I had a real choice. In 2004, I actually, for a short time, contemplated giving up on the travel industry and going back into law. I was 47 and, fortunately, nobody in the small town I was living in at the time wanted to hire a middle-aged attorney.
Instead, I stuck with travel, and will continue to do so. But what I won’t do is wait. I won’t wait on the government to come up with another stimulus program, I won’t wait on a vaccine for Covid-19. I won’t wait on everyone in the world to suddenly decide to act properly and start behaving rationally. Each of these are simply too much to ask. I know, as a self-employed entrepreneur, I am the least risky option I have.
Now, to be clear, I have personally failed, many times. I make mistakes as easily, actually more easily it appears, as the next guy. But I know as a matter of history, acting is better than not acting.
I had the great good fortune this week of interviewing my friend Christina Ernst who started a wine touring company in Northern Georgia a few years back. Christina was a travel professional and decided to start a company touring the newly developed wine country of Georgia. To do so, she took the risk of investing in a fleet of vans to transport clients between the vineyards. She had to develop product, she had to develop relationships.
I love entrepreneurs.
What I love is the entrepreneurial willingness to act. Some often mistake this for a “tolerance for risk.” In my mind, this is a mistaken notion. I am as risk adverse as the other proverbial next guy (see previous reference), I just feel not acting is riskier than taking my life in my own hands and taking a chance.
I know how painful the last few months have been for us all. Here is my recommendation, for what it is worth.
Don’t wait on anyone to solve your problems. Yes, you might get lucky. Someone always wins the lottery. But there are better, more reliable, options. Right now, with some extra time on your hands, sharpen your tools.
Think through your business plan, get it into shape. Get tougher about moving forward. Think through the possibilities at hand. Begin to develop new domestic road trip itineraries. Learn something about your local drive markets. Explore the possibilities of National Parks. Spend some time with American Cruise Lines and other domestic cruise companies or domestic tour companies like Collette Travel or ATI DriveAmerica. Think through the possibilities of your local market and what you might offer others.
When Europe opens up, repeat the same exercise with a fresh mind on how to approach European travel. Asia? Australia? Same. Get ahead of the game, folks. Quit waiting.
In your communities, in your business, be of service. Communicate with your clients. Get into gear.