By Rhonda Stanley
As an experienced travel retailer, wholesaler, executive or agent – how do you really feel about your peers and competitors? Are you excited when the competition has a better offer than you do? Are you motivated when your peers are more successful than you are?
Having been there myself, I know that the answer, more often than not, is “no!” As professionals, we know we ought to learn from our missteps, but it’s much easier said than done. So we tend to let failure hurt us rather than teach us. Who says with age comes wisdom?
My daughter’s attitude is really no different. When she was trying out for the soccer team, it was crucial for her to be the best player there. At school, my daughter is ecstatic just to be above the class average. Like most of us, her definition of success is dependent on the performance of others.
Doing well is great, but when our only focus is beating other people, what happens to the pursuit of personal excellence?
This past weekend, I hosted a remarkable young man who was moving from Denmark to Vancouver to attend school for a year. He is 24 years old, English is his 2nd language, and the program to which he has been accepted only takes 18 people a year. Apparently, it is the best program of its kind in the world. He said the class is 50% local, 50% international students.
What stands out for me about this young man is his drive to excel. I asked him if he had any contact with any of the other students prior to moving here. He said, “No.” “Doesn’t that make you a little nervous?” I asked. Again, the answer was, “No.”
I was a little bit surprised. I know if I were in a strange country, speaking my 2nd language, going into a world-renowned program where I didn’t know anyone ─ I’d probably be a little bit nervous!
But the next thing he said was even more surprising. He said: “I hope I’m the worst in my class.” For a moment, we thought it was a language thing, so we said, “You mean the best in your class right?”
”No,” he said. “Why would I want to be the best? I am here to get better. If I am the worst, it forces me to learn from everyone around me.” My daughter and I looked at each other, and I could tell we were thinking the same thing: “WOW.”
So the next time I have a tough day and I want to say, “the internet is killing our industry”, or “Suzie is successful because her office is in the best location”, I will stop and think of that young man from Denmark. What can I learn from those around me that will make me more successful?
How much better would the world would be if we all adopted the humble attitude that ‘failure’ is actually an opportunity to get better. Take a look around you. What can you do today to pick up your game?