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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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