While I’m a firm believer in keeping my work and my life in balance, my recent trip to Antarctica opened my mind to a new way of looking at how this balance can benefit my business. We were totally off the grid for 35 days, and only marginally on its edges for another 5. The distance freed me to look at life, and work, without the pressure of daily tasks and correspondence that get in the way of big picture thinking.
My biggest takeaway was that, while it’s usually more effective to leave the office at the office, it can be tremendously enriching to bring “real life” to work! This series will explore some of the business lessons I learned on that trip, and some others I am uncovering since our return. Here we go!
No matter how long it takes to put on layer upon layer of carefully selected clothing, and do it while precariously balanced on a deck that never stays flat, do it. On our first landing on one of the sub Antarctic islands, the sun was shining, the wind was calm, and a hike was planned. It never occurred to me to wear a raincoat or rainpants. But on reaching the bluff, the heavens opened up and the wind drove the icy rain harshly into my face.
The next time, especially as we travelled further south, I was ready. Each morning as I leaned against the wall of my rolling cabin, I focussed not on the annoyance factor, but on the rich experiences in store that day. Layered up, I could go on that hike that suddenly presented itself. Yes, I could handle that wet zodiac landing without stress.
The cold weather sucked the life out of camera batteries with relentless speed, so I learned to charge them all as soon as we returned to the ship, and to keep the fresh ones inside my clothing next to my body. In that way, I was able to capture forever the images of stunning majesty we encountered every day.
In business, readiness pays off in possibility. Keeping my printed collateral up to date will pay off when I encounter a potential client. Practicing my elevator speech makes it easy and natural to talk to unanticipated prospects. Practicing my chant makes my auction delivery smooth and pleasing. Before Antarctica, I have to admit I would let these things slide in the face of more interesting or pressing demands on my time.
Now, I’m ready.