How Traveling Makes You a Better Entrepreneur
Whether you take a quick weekend trip or plan a couple of weeks for a trek across the globe, travel is a boon for your personal growth and your business.
Entrepreneurs know that the straightest path to success is consistency. If you want to succeed, show up every day and do the work. Some people, though, take this mantra to an extreme and rarely take vacations, racking up mountains of unused paid time off. Aside from the drain on mental health, leaders who refuse to venture out of their comfort zones negatively impact their businesses. If you're entrenched in the same routine, it's easy to fall into bad habits or ignore new opportunities.
Though taking time off to travel may seem counterintuitive to productivity, studies have shown that travel increases creativity and confidence, both of which are essential for entrepreneurs. Whether you take a quick weekend trip or plan a couple of weeks for a trek across the globe, travel is a boon for your personal growth and your business.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Most entrepreneurs love their work, but mounting outside competition, complex internal issues, or too much of the daily grind can skew any leader's perspective toward the negative. Travel is an opportunity to get out of the office, give email a break, and evaluate your company without day-to-day annoyances.
When you're feeling disengaged or cynical, schedule time off and follow what you're craving. Find a retreat by the ocean if you're stressed, or sign up for rock climbing or scuba diving if you're restless. Fulfilling personal needs can clear your mind to focus on moving your business forward, and the time away can make you excited to be back in the office.
Take a Walk in Someone Else's Shoes
Sometimes our greatest failures at work stem from the fact that our teams see things the same way. To avoid repeating mistakes and to spark innovation, leaders should test the limits of their own thinking by exploring cultures that think differently. Travel to France, where waiters won't rush you by bringing the check unless you ask for it, or to Japan, where expertise is valued to the extent that budding sushi chefs can spend five years apprenticing before they even make sushi rice. Even if your trip is just across the U.S., diverse perspectives on personal and professional life can shed light on blind spots in your company's mission or customer service.
The Mother of Invention Is Necessity
Travel, like any other vital life experience, presents challenges. Flights are delayed. Language barriers cause confusion. Currency exchange rates fluctuate. Luggage gets lost. The good news is that challenges are an entrepreneur's bread and butter. Serial entrepreneurs who are looking to begin their next adventure can find endless inspiration in the often chaotic world of travel, and time spent in a new place can reveal promising markets that aren't served by an existing business.
The next time you travel, bring a notebook and write down both inconveniences and inspirations. Consider how a new company could address those challenges, and whether you have the network and the know-how to lead the charge. If you have a clear vision and the support of capable people, you could be on to your next great venture.
When entrepreneurship becomes a grind, resist the urge to cling to your routine. Instead, get out of your office and your own head. With some distance between you and your business and a world of new cultures and experiences to explore, you'll be ready to revitalize your day-to-day with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.