Business travel has many misconceptions. Someone who lives in the 9-to-5 office world truly does not understand our world. At all.
They have the essence of routine, consistency, and predictable-ness. Every single day.
Almost the exact opposite of a business traveler. And we like it that way.
Then there are family and friends who think we’re continually on vacation and we “have the life.”
Although they may think this is the case, whether we realize it or not, there are realities about business travel that are just not true.
Two specific groups of people within our inner circle of business travel, need to know the truth:
- Future business travelers – whether you’re in a company that is grooming you to travel or you want to switch jobs or even careers to begin to travel for work
- Leaders of business travelers – those that oversee and influence the work life of a road warrior
Why these two specific groups?
It’s because perception becomes reality and truth oftentimes just must be shared to expose the lie.
I’ve uncovered five specific lies I want to expose especially for future business travelers and those who lead business travelers. Each lie will also have a pushback, the truth, and an elite tip.
Five Lies About Business Travel
Lie #1 – Business Travel is a luxurious life
This is the one I hear all the time from friends and family. When someone meets me for the 1st time or hasn’t seen me in a while, they usually ask about all my “cool adventures.” Aka: tell me about your luxurious work life.
Here’s the Pushback – When someone hears you travel for work, they think or even say, “That’s awesome. You get to fly to cool cities, stay in really nice hotels, eat out at restaurants all the time, and get served. And you’re by yourself. That’s the life! I would do anything for your life.”
Does business travel offer some great perks? Of course. But like anything, too much of a good thing, or anything for that matter, grows old and loses its luster. The same is true with business travel. Just ask a road warrior who’s been at it for a while.
We’re not going on a vacation with a stress-free flight to an exotic place. We’re going to work, man. I’m in a suit, not shorts and flip-flops.
Hotels begin to look the same. The food begins to taste the same.
The outsider, whether an office-only co-worker or friends/family just doesn’t see what we know as “traveler friction” – delayed flights, canceled meetings, endless traffic, late nights with people we don’t really like. And on and on and on.
Truth: Business travel is a vocation not a vacation with different expectations and needed results.
Elite Tip: Find something to look forward to “doing or seeing” on every single trip:
- Go to a ballgame
- Visit a cool site in the city
- Eat at a local favorite restaurant
In Elite Road Warrior lingo, we call this Downtime – time to be, not to be on. You need downtime to allow yourself to unwind so you can perform at your best. If I’m by the ocean, I always see a sunset. If I’m in a town I’ve never visited, I always see the sites. If they have a sports team, I must see a game. If they’re known for a certain style of food, I find that premier restaurant. You get the point.
Business travel is not a luxurious life but it doesn’t have to be a boring life either and if we play it right, the road can bring us the energy to perform at an elite level.
Lie #2 – It’s hard to eat healthy on the road
At first, this lie is very easy to believe.
For too many years, I believed, supported, and defended this lie. I flew by the Travel 20 to the Entitled 40… pounds that is, when in reality, I simply had no food boundaries and literally had the weight to prove it. I didn’t pass up on any of the king’s food or miss any of the king’s wine. So, of course, I said it was hard to eat healthy on the road.
Here’s the Pushback – Many of my meals I don’t actually choose the food (meaning the client provides lunch or chooses the dinner location).
This is a generalization and, again, I get it since it used to be me. It’s true, this happens, but sometimes, most of the time I have choices. And even if the client provides the lunch or chooses the dinner location, there are still healthier options.
Truth: Eating healthy is a proactive decision, not a reactive determination.
You can influence the client far more than you realize. Often, they’re uncertain what to choose in the first place. I’m often very clear that I eat on the healthier side. And I never let them determine “what is healthy for me.” I’ll give them examples of a grilled chicken dark green salad for lunch or steak or seafood with veggies for dinner.
I also realize there are often limited options at the airport. I get that but don’t rely on the airport for your nutrition.
Elite Tip: Do your intel at an airport. For example, as I’m walking out of the airport from the gate after landing, I’m looking around at all my food options but not for right now. But for when? My return flight home so I know if I can eat at this airport or I need to prepare in advance to eat somewhere else.
Elite Road Warrior teaches four words that should be your guide on eating healthy on the road: Make the Healthiest Choice.
Not the easiest choice, or the quickest choice, or the largest choice, or the tastiest choice but make the healthiest choice. It can be done if eating healthy is a proactive decision, not a reactive determination.
Lie #3- I have no control of my time on the road
This lie is a sneaky one because we subtly learn to be reactive on business travel. We watch others. We see our co-workers, bosses, fellow road warriors.
We do things in the moment. We’re just not trained how to do Road Life.
Every company I’ve ever worked for did a good or great job training me on the product or service but when it came to how to do road life and how to manage my time and energy on the road, it happened only… NEVER!
The road is a completely different animal that is a developed, learned skill to know when and how to work in the margins so you’re not working all the time which leads to burnout and inconsistent results.
Here’s the Pushback – I’m not in charge of my schedule. You don’t know how many meetings I have or what’s required of me on every single trip. I work every second I can on the road.
I hear you on that one and have been “that guy” before for way too long.
Truth: You have far more control of your time and results than you realize.
Once I started taking personal responsibility for MY time and MY energy, everything began to change. I didn’t wait for my company to train and teach me because in my case, it never would’ve happened. In fact, this is the very reason I created the Elite Road Warrior Group! I want to train business travelers, like you, how to make the most of the road.
Elite Tip: Intentionally put up Road Blocks every day of your business trip. Huh? I thought Road Blocks were a bad thing. Not if you use them properly.
A Road Block is a barrier around something to get work done. In this context, you want as many Road Blocks on the road as you can get in your day!
You need to schedule blocks of time to focus on one specific task (email, phone calls, quotes, data entry, presentations, etc) for a set period of time so you can get consistent results.
When you schedule Road Blocks and focus, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in this set window of time and you’ll have more time than you think on the road. It’s the work smarter not harder principle.
Energy Habit Four is Perform and goes into a ton of detail about how to perform at an elite level. The book, Elite Road Warrior goes into far more detail so pick up the physical, digital, or audio version today.
Lie #4 – My family is not affected when I’m on the road
This lie gets personal quick and can easily get exposed by a handful of inquiry questions.
A few questions can expose just how any given road warrior views “life back home” while on the road.
Or to put it another way: “Says the man who leaves his wife or significant other to take care of everything back home including YOUR kids!”
Disclaimer: Women don’t fall for this lie at all in fact they actually feel the stress of home on the road worrying if things back home are going as planned.
For the rest of us, do you know who is really affected?
- Your spouse who is left to take care of everything on their own
- Your kids who now have to rely on just one parent
Here’s the Pushback – Well, they’ve never said anything or they don’t know anything different because I’ve always traveled.
Truth: Your family needs you to be present on the road just as you are at home but leverage the time in a different way.
Energy Habit Six is called Connect and it focuses on leveraging your time on the road to connect with those you love back home in intentional, thoughtful, and creative ways.
This means leveraging the road to continue to be present in ways you wouldn’t normally do at home and end up making an impact on them.
Even though I’m not physically there with my family, I can still be visually and audibly present.
There was a stretch that my travel was so heavy and it brought on so much stress with my wife and kids. It was brutal on my marriage and my relationship with my kids, especially the younger ones.
I finally heard my wife say “something’s gotta change” (words you never want to hear) and realized she had been giving me clues all along. I just wasn’t listening and noticing.
As a result, I vowed to “change my ways” but realized I need to be patient, purposeful and planned.
Elite Tip: three tangible “change my ways” products to help you stay connected with your family on the road…
- Not Forgotten Journal – learning to take just two minutes to write something to my wife each day in a journal I would one day give to her
- Flat Kiddos – colored characters that I take pictures of in my world
- Connect Cards – creative cards made by kids for kids that I leave and send to my kids writing meaningful words
I challenge you to stop denying that your family is not affected and to make connecting a huge priority.
Lie #5 – There are no temptations with business travel
We’re all wired differently from our interests to our style to our preferences to our attractions.
For those who don’t travel and are put in a place where temptation can appear, they can easily assume and even judge that it would never happen to them.
Here’s the Pushback – I’ve handled being put in a tempting position before and would be strong again
But do you know what changes? Being potentially thousands of miles from home and nobody may ever know.
Episode 085 and the article from two weeks ago discusses the dark side of business travel because it’s real, scary, and dangerous. We discuss the five downward spiral choices into the dark side of business travel.
- There are food temptations / drink temptations / sexual temptations on the road
- We have endless opportunities to experiment that can lead to new road habits that can lead to hidden addictions
- We can even be put into moral decisions we thought ever thought we would be put in and respond in ways we may regret the rest of our lives
Truth: You can have integrity on the road when you’re aware of the temptations and have boundaries.
Elite Tip: Two Powerful Words: Know Thyself
The phrase came from the teachings of Socrates and popularized by Plato. It was the first of three maxims inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The two maxims that followed “know thyself” were “nothing to excess” and “surety brings ruin”.
The 2nd phrase is applicable here too: nothing to excess.
Know Thyself means to recognize how human I really am and the right place meeting the right circumstances can take me down. So, let me get personal: I know I have an addictive personality. I’m a risk-taker and too easily push boundaries.
As a result, I MUST be very cautious on the road to not compromise my integrity, reputation, and family. I’m old enough to know the difference between short-term pleasure and long-term regret but must never believe the lie there are no temptations that can affect me on business travel.
Awareness on the road is key. My hope is this article was revealing, challenging, and a reminder of how easy we can fall into lies that can affect so many aspects of our road results and ultimately our lives.
Leverage….. to help you become and remain an Elite Road Warrior today to eliminate burnout and exceed results.
You Got This!