Earlier this summer, I was invited to a really big conference in the blogging and writing community and was at first, hesitant to go. I would need to travel, get a hotel - the whole shebang. But I kept weighing the pros and cons of the education it would provide me for the work I do everyday and finally decided to take the leap - with my entire family in tow.
Yup, the whole conference was at a family friendly resort that offered such an amazing rate that I came to the conclusion that I probably couldn't afford to take my family on this dream vacation for any cheaper, so we just went for it. The weeks leading up to the conference were a bit stressful and my type A personality took full force. I needed to plan our itinerary and find a steady balance between work and family fun so that I felt it was at least a little bit of a vacation for me. Translation: I spent hours everyday cross referencing session times with keynote speakers and pool hours and Disney ticket prices. It was exhausting, but well worth it going into the conference with a plan.
When we arrived, it took all the will I had inside me to actually get to the conference and absorb everything that I wanted to get from it and I realized that there are so many women who have to do this year round whether they have families they can't leave or are single mamas rocking it in the business world. Things aren't always easy when you're traveling for business, so I set out to chat with some business-minded moms who have had dealt with it all to make sure they stay on top of their game.
When there is an emergency
The scariest thing to think about while traveling would be having an emergency of some kind, but life is filled with unexpected things, so sometimes you need to roll with the punches. This is exactly what happened to Nancy J. Horn,owner of The Mama Maven. She said, “I had traveled to Chicago in 2013 for the BlogHer Conference so we could run an event a few days before the conference started. The day after the event I woke up and was vomiting all day (turns out later I had ulcers and something I ate triggered a reaction). I had planned to take my then 5 year old daughter sightseeing, but instead she had to stay in the hotel room all day and watch TV while I slept on the floor of the bathroom. It was awful. I learned that I should have had a back-up plan if something happens. I could have arranged for my friend to come pick up my daughter for the day and I could have gone to an urgent care. Or have a go-bag with activities for a kid in case you have to go to an urgent care (and take your with you)."
Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail
Words of wisdom
Traci Stapleton, Sr. Manager of Client Services at Kalypso offers the ultimate mom mantra for when traveling for business with your family: “You are in control of the pressures. You will never be perfect, you will never be all places or get it all done. Be intentional in the time you have with your family, be attentive and present. Don't beat yourself up chasing unachievable expectations." These are the words that we all need to hear when we're out trying to be the jill-of-all-trades.
When you just can't unplug
Then, there are times when a trip that isn't completely intended to be a work trip, somehow ends up being one. We all know how difficult it is to turn off “work mode", esepcially when you're self-employed, and Natalie Greaves, Writer & Strategic Communications Consultant, Graves Writes learned from an experience she had during a family getaway to her parents' home country of Trinidad & Tobago. “I found myself answering way more work requests than anticipated. Between the beach lime (slang for party) and sampling some of the best curry ever, I had an epiphany: if work was going to follow me, it would be so much easier if I changed the way that I worked. So I quit my job!
As long as I have a solid internet connection and some headphones to jam during my daughter's nap time, I can map out an hour or two daily to get in a marathon session of consulting. We'll up the ante this summer during our next surf trip."
Tips from a pro
Melanie, a single mom to Ellie, and Partner & COO, BDI Events, often brings her daughter along on business trips. While she tries to figure out a plan to keep her at home, life happens, so she often comes along! She recommend to “utilize the hotels network of trusted sitters – they are usually really great and super well vetted (and used to working with random kids!). Keeping kids on their normal time zone, if possible, and pay to bring a friend or family member along… it doubles the cost of the trip, but can be well worth it if it's an important trip or meeting (and might be tax deductible!)."
Organization and thinking ahead is key
Seasoned travel writer, Samantha McNesby, has her kids with her while visiting new places often and while she loves having them with her, being organized and planning ahead is key. “I love bringing my kids along when I travel; they have gotten to see so many amazing places this way! One thing I always do is rent items at our destination – strollers, mini-fridges and more can be rented at many vacation destinations and sent right to your room, so you don't have to struggle with these items at a busy airport or go without. "
And when it comes to luggage, she has a pretty epic tip to share. “We travel a lot, and color coding the kids' luggage is a big help. Each child has their own color or style so we can quickly spot pieces in baggage claim and they know which bag is theirs. Hello Kitty, Star Wars and a few other favorite characters make it easy to spot our pieces in the airport."
Find apps that work for you
Felicia Chanell, owner and Brand Vibe Strategist of Swanked Creative is all about using apps to help keep you organized right down to the smallest details, like food allergies. “Plan every thing you can! I love using Trello to plan everything for an upcoming trip. I create cards/lists for our itinerary, travel details, hotel information, etc. This is perfect for planning activities that will be fun for my 4 year old. I even plan what restaurants have gluten free menu options." And for coordinating client need, “Gsuite/Google Drive for storing everything for my business to access while traveling. GSuite also has unlimited storage on my plan so I can upload photos directly from my phone to the drive to clear up space."
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!