A question I often ask myself is, “why are some travel agents more successful than others when they are all playing on the same gameboard.?” The marketplace is available to everybody. The destinations are available to everybody. The marketing tools are available to everybody. The fees are more or less competitive. So, why do some agents do so much better than others?
In most cases, the answer is simple. According to me and my 40 years of hands-on experience in the travel industry, successful agents do more, try more, fail more, get up earlier, think out of the box, do what they say they will do, follow-up religiously, be readily available, return phone calls and emails in a timely fashion, treat everybody with respect and find ways to have fun doing what they do. And the unsuccessful agents… don’t.
But every once in a while, you can do everything right, everything on time, everything you are supposed to do and expected to do—only to find yourself unceremoniously disappointed. I suppose you can sum this factoid of life up in just two words… Stuff Happens.
I was reminded of this brutal reminder this past weekend while competing along with 2000 other athletes in The Gulf Coast 70.3 Ironman Triathlon.
I began training for this event nearly 12 months ago. I began fine-tuning my eating habits and started focusing on healthier options. My training consisted of both open water and pool swims lasting up to 90 minutes at a clip. Many of these swims involved wetsuits in inclement weather. There were bike rides covering in excess of 50 miles on weekends, coupled with discourteous drivers and blown tire tubes. 15-20 hours of training each week was not unheard of.
A difficult calf muscle and Achilles Heel warranted some professional attention from a sports doctor along the way, followed by prescribed physical therapy; but on race day, all was in order.
As far as I was concerned, I was properly prepared and ready to enter the water feeling like I had dotted all the I’s and crossed the necessary T’s. For the past twelve months, I had paid my dues and it was now time to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Two thousand athletes were all clamoring at the beach waiting for the signal to start the competition. I being one of them. BANG! THE RACE WAS ON.
I entered the Gulf of Mexico and exited the Gulf of Mexico within minutes of my anticipated time. The bike took a little longer than I would have liked; but I had plenty of time for the run, which was my weakest event. And that is when everything went south in a heartbeat.
After just one mile my legs began telling me they wanted no part of the next 12-mile journey. After 27 minutes of trying to convince them otherwise, I realized that after 12-months of preparation my dream of completing the Gulf Coat 70.3 Ironman Triathlon had come to a screeching halt. I thought by playing by the rules this challenge would become a major accomplishment. I overlooked the fact that life does not always play by the rules.
I decided to share this story with you as a reminder that, regardless of how you try to make every future travel itinerary a success, the chances are that “stuff will happen” to you from time to time. Your only recourse will be to identify the problem and fix what you can—as quickly as possible. No excuses; just immediate action. After it has been fixed, you can identify the snag and do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
As for me, after 12 hours of disappointment and self-pity, I think I have identified the problem and plan to go to work fixing it at once. I have four months before I get another shot at a 70.3 and seeing if this time my hard work pay offs. I am betting that it will.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** You want more to think about? Check out my weekly podcast (Mike’d Up Marchev). Also listed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, and iHeartRadio.