As someone who’s traveled her entire life, traversing at different speeds has given me the tools needed to graduate from each lesson along the way. Whether short trips or long ones, living in various countries for years at a time, or backing the world for nine months straight, travel is impactful. Beyond that, it is tough, life-changing and eye-opening.
It's also has taught me most of the skills I apply in business today.
Here are my top six:
BE CULTURALLY SAVVY
We have a global economy. Which means jobs are no longer relegated to one city. Many offices operate in multiple countries, and being able to understand co-workers culture or learn the methodology of how and why someone works the way they do, can give you currency. You’ll have more in common and will be a relatable employee, making your added two cents go that much further.
I learned this one the hard way: by actually doing it. On a bus trip in Vietnam, I needed to go to the toilet and the bus stopped in a tiny place that wasn’t even on the map. With seconds to decide, I looked at my friend and said, “What do we have to lose? Let's just do it.” It ended up being one of many jump, and the net will appear moments. Companies look for people who aren’t afraid of the unknown, as they seek out the curious. Know that even if you fail, the good ones fail forward.
Without risk, there is no reward.
WORK OUT YOUR GUT INSTINCT
A favorite muscle of mine that is often overlooked is the inner gut. It needs to be worked out and strengthened, just like anything else. When you're traveling problem solving is part of the itinerary and you become accountable for your actions and make choices on-the-go.
When we aren’t surrounded by people to make choices for us we develop a killer gut instinct that can prove very beneficial to your career. Employers encourage workers to form opinions, make snap but important choices, go with their gut, and many times will put you in a position where you are the final decision-maker. What’s your gut telling you to do?
PROBLEM SOLVE LIKE A PRO
Nothing says time to problem solve like the wrong direction, out of gas, missed a flight, forgot my stop and no English. The above has happened to me in so many ways, and then some! I figured it out, survived, and you will too.
Companies love to see how a worker handles problems that get thrown their way.
Sure, it's nice to think we can make it on our own, but the reality? Yeah, we all need people. I’ve never been in a country where I didn’t need help, sought out advice, or listened to a local. People have been so kind and gracious towards me on journeys, it's only right to pay it forward.
By asking your co-workers or friends in business how you can help them in their life, or perhaps help with a problem that needs solving, you're showcasing your uniqueness, your willingness to help, and the art of contributing in a selfless way. Trust me, it’s a thing.
You don’t need months of travel to obtain it, but by making tough choices, taking risks, and jumping every hurdle that comes your way (sometimes gracefully, sometimes not) you’ll get there. Spending months in countries where you don’t speak or read the language will help you develop an internal confidence that is irreplaceable.
Cream rises to the top, and a smart boss will recognize this. Own your confidence and wear it proud.
Melinda Fleming is the founder of Curated Cool. She been blessed by the Dalai Lama, trekked the Himalayas, and shopped the flea markets of London . She is always seeking what’s unique & chic regardless of the city or town she's in.