When I hit rock bottom in my travel business, at the end of 2005, I spent the next 5 years learning as much as I could about success. I learned the predictable things, like success comes from a solid business plan, or you must deliver a product or service where demand exceeds supply. And of course everybody knows that you must have endurance to be successful because there will be lots of bumps in the road.
But the most important thing I learned about success is that it has EVERYTHING to do with mindset and just a little to do with everything else, like solid business plans, great relationships, and money to back you up. As I continued further and further down my “success” seeking journey, the more I discovered that mindset plays the biggest role in your success than anything else. But I don’t see many people talking about this in the travel industry.
So what does “mindset” mean? To explain this to you, I want to do a little exercise with you.
Close your eyes. Imagine a beautiful rolling field, with luscious green grass and a perfectly blue sky above. There’s not a cloud in sight, the sun is shining and the temperature is a comfortable 72 degrees. You feel peaceful and relaxed. You can’t imagine a more perfect moment than now. Soak it in for just a moment.
Now imagine I drop a big, old, electric power plant right smack in the middle of your picture, on top of the luscious green rolling field. That power plant is puffing ugly black smoke into your beautiful blue sky. It keeps puffing more and more black smoke and you feel anxious just watching it. You want to stop it. Now imagine the power plant multiplies into 10 more power plants, all in the middle of your beautiful scene, now puffing 10 times as much ugly, black smoke into your sky. There is now more black smoke than blue or green. It’s upsetting. But there is no way to stop the smoke. Or is there?
The greatest pollution in the world is not taking place in some over populated, under regulated, congested 3rd world city. The world’s worst pollution problem is taking place…in your mind.
The goal of this exercise was to help you discover how damaging your mindset is. You might think your mindset is much better than this, but I can guarantee it’s not. We are a product of our society, and unfortunately, we live in a society that is full of fear, anxiety, doubt and complaints. Just watch the news for 3 minutes. (It’s why I don’t watch the news anymore.
There are thousands of different books on mindset and it can seem to be a very complicated topic, but it’s really as simple as this: Your mindset is determined by where you place your focus. What are you giving your attention to? Are you giving your attention to the fact that there is so much competition in this business because of the online booking engines? Are you placing your focus on the fact that 2 or 3 years ago you made much more money and it feels so much harder today to make money? Or maybe you are placing your attention on the fact that you want to retire in 5 years, but are freaked out that you are making no headway in being able to do this.
When your attention is on fears, doubts or obstacles, you feel negative emotion. This negative emotion in essence, is the equivalent of puffing black smoke into your beautiful, pristine, essence. Your natural state is joy, lightness, ease. Energetically, that looks like the picture perfect, crystal clear blue sky. When you feel negative emotion, you are polluting this perfect state with the energetic equivalent of heavy, ugly black smoke.
So how do you stop it? Change your focus. It’s as simple as that. You have a choice in every moment of the day to put your attention on what you want.
For example, when I made the decision to turn my business around, I spent the entire year of 2006 learning. I didn’t do much implementing. I spent the year gathering information and building a big, great vision for my travel business. At the end of the year, I discovered I was pregnant with my 3rd child. There are lots of people who would be totally overjoyed with this development, but in all honesty, I wasn’t. I felt it was a HUGE obstacle. It was news that filled me with fear, anxiety and unease.
My other 2 children were ages 6 and 4. We lived in a 3 bedroom house that was perfectly sized for our nice family of 4. A third child would make us feel as we were bursting at the seams. We were beyond the infant and toddler stage. Life was getting a lot easier. My husband and I were having more fun. I was just a few short months away from putting both kids on the school bus in the morning and having a full school day to devote to my business. All I could think was that a newborn baby was going to put a big kink in the plans for my business AND my family.
But then the little I knew about mindset kicked into gear. I realized that if I focused on this as an obstacle, it would be. But if I placed my attention on other things….positive things like the laughter and joy a baby would bring to the house, it would be a blessing.
Long story short – it was a HUGE blessing. But if I had continue to focus on it being an obstacle it would have been much less fun and definitely negatively affected my business. Instead, I had the inspiration to hire an au pair, which took care of a LOT of things. Just 3 months after the baby was born, I was able to focus my attention on my business and continue to realize my big vision.
Changing your attention does NOT mean ignoring your problems or running away from them. It means finding a different focus, stopping the energetic pollution, and then ACTING upon the inspiration that comes from staying in a positive place.
Spend the next 2 weeks being acutely aware of where your focus is. Just notice. Don’t judge or criticize yourself if you find it on fears, doubts, obstacles. Just notice and drop the focus like you drop a cup in your hand. Try to place your attention on something that makes you feel good. And when you get the inspiration to fix a negative situation…act on it. Just like I got the inspiration to get help with my newborn, hire an au pair and then acted upon it.