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6 Ways Traveling Can Benefit Your Career

6 Ways Traveling Can Benefit Your Career

The travel bug is easy to catch – once you start exploring all that the world has to offer, you’ll most likely never want to stop. Unfortunately, not all of us having the luxury of traveling the world as our full-time profession. We have other careers and real-life responsibilities to attend to. But what if I told you that taking some time off to travel can actually benefit your professional life?

It’s true – traveling can expose you to experiences that translate into excellent career advice.

I recently spent four months traveling all over Europe. Over the course of four months, I visited eleven countries and twenty-two cities. Those four months were filled with so many unforgettable memories and experiences. Sadly, my wanderlust-filled days had to come to an end eventually- so I packed up my bags and moved back to San Diego, California to finish up my Senior year of college and begin life as an adult in the real world.

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Shortly after moving back to San Diego I landed an internship at an Internet marketing firm. I’ve traded in strolling the avenues of Paris and indulging in gelato in Rome for late nights in the library and early mornings at work, but I still think about my time in Europe every day. I utilize what I learned while traveling to improve my skills as an intern and future marketing professional.

If you’re looking for a way to get a leg up in your professional life, consider these six ways that traveling can benefit your career:

1. You’ll learn to keep an open mind. 

The world is a wonderfully diverse place – no two countries are exactly alike. Visiting foreign countries will expose you to an array of different languages, customs, cuisines, and social norms. Some things may come as a shock to you at first. When I was in Berlin I was originally repulsed by the thought of the city’s specialty cuisine, currywurst. After some strong convincing from the locals, I decided to keep at open mind and try the dish. As it turns out, it was delicious!

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Some of life’s best experiences are the most unexpected. This experience taught me to keep an open mind at work. It’s important to listen to the ideas of your colleagues – your own ideas won’t always be the best ideas.

2. You’ll learn how to communicate effectively. 

One of the most exhausting and frustrating aspects of traveling is the language barrier. While visiting a foreign country, it’s likely that you’ll experience miscommunication more often than not. Not everyone speaks the same language – and that’s okay. There are ways to work around it.

The same goes for how you communicate in the office. If a coworker is not receptive of what you are saying, don’t get frustrated and give up, try reaching out in a new way that they can understand.

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3. You’ll gain global competence. 

Traveling opens up your world beyond your immediate neighborhood, city, and country. It will give you a deep level of understanding and appreciation for international issues. It will also provide you with the ability to work with people from all different cultural backgrounds. As the business world transitions into a more globalized system, it is essential that you learn to transition with it.

4. You’ll have the opportunity to learn a new language. 

Having bilingual skills is a sure way to set yourself apart from other job applicants or employees. It is much easier to pick up a language if you immerse yourself in the country’s culture rather than learning from a textbook or computer software.

5. You’ll develop stress management skills

I never realized how demanding the United States’ business culture is until I traveled abroad.  Relaxation, family time, and quality meals are all highly valued by European citizens and underappreciated by Americans. By observing other cultures you can learn ways to create a balance between your own work and personal life.

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Perhaps you’ll decide to set aside an hour a day to practice Yoga, or maybe you’ll spend quality time with your family every Sunday. However you choose to relax, it’s important to take the time to unwind from your busy work week.

6. You’ll cultivate creative thinking skills

The sad truth is that we lose a portion of our imagination as we grow older. There’s not much time for activities that exercise our creativity when you’re busy balancing a full-time job, family, and friends. Traveling is an excellent way to inspire your creative thinking skills.

Whether you choose to travel to India and admire the Taj Mahal, or wonder in amazement at Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, it’s nearly impossible to not become inspired. After cultivating creative thinking skills, you’ll be able to provide your company with more innovative ideas and suggestions.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock Fly_dragonfly via google.com

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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