How Taking Spontaneous Trips Can Make You A Better Leader, Freelancer or Entrepreneur
Acting in the moment enriches your life, clears your head and builds your gut instinct.
Whether you’re already a CEO or aspire to become one someday, more responsibility often leads to a more rigid schedule. Your days soon become filled with back-to-back meetings and constantly showing up for others, leaving very little space for spontaneity or creativity. If you’re not careful, the very thing that was supposed to lead you toward financial and personal freedom can morph into a personal prison instead.
That’s why you should consider getting out of town on a whim — even if it feels inconvenient or disruptive. Rather than focusing on where you’ll go on your next trip, reframe your efforts to be more about when you go on your next trip.
The origin story of our company Next Vacay, a low-cost flight deals subscription service, is that we would manually comb the web for flight itineraries on sale, then send them to our friends and family who “just wanted the next vacay on the books” and didn’t care so much about where they were headed. By being open to new experiences, our loved ones began traveling to places around the world they never would have imagined seeing in their lifetimes. They returned from their travels refreshed and with new perspectives.
The same is true for you. Here are some of the ways a quick trip out of town can lead to big gains as an entrepreneur.
To channel creativity, be more spontaneous
According to recent research published on creativity and the brain, being spontaneous can lead to more inspired thinking. Business is certainly about setting up processes and standard operating procedures, but it’s also about disruption and innovation. Every company owner or leader needs to strike a good balance of perspiration and inspiration, and spontaneity can help with the latter.
For a lot of us, this is easier said than done. When you’re deep in the trenches of operations or sales, it can be hard to justify taking a break “for the sake of thinking”. Remember this: Creativity is what gives you a competitive advantage in business. It is critical that you build mental white space into your schedule and give yourself time to think; a travel itinerary might be exactly what you need to shake things up.
To spark new ideas, create a change in scenery
Spending some time in a new location (or freshening up your existing location) can be a great way to both improve your mood and birth powerful new ideas. As mental health platform Talkspace notes, new sensory experiences can help you get out of a funk and actually elevate your wellbeing.
Your environment has a substantial impact on your thoughts, and your thoughts are what determine your hustle, your tenacity, and ultimately your success in your career. For many of us, the working conditions of the last 18 months have been less than optimal; a sudden change of scenery might be exactly what you need to depressurize and feel rejuvenated.
See a new place. Experience a new culture. We often don’t realize how much better a change of scenery will make us feel until we’ve actually experienced it.
Related: 9 Reasons You Need to Travel More
To avoid languishing, create goals and rewards
If setting goals and pursuing accomplishments appeals to you, it might be worthwhile to set a deadline, then put a trip on the books that directly follows that deadline.
Are you gearing up for a big launch? Is it time to clear your head and do some quarterly or annual planning? Instead of plowing through one checkpoint after another and eventually hitting burnout, focus instead on how you will reward yourself. Research tells us that rewarding ourselves frequently leads to better overall motivation and performance than when we wait until the end of a big project or fiscal year.
And think about it: You’re often exhausted at the end of a launch anyway. Are you really going to want to jump back into the grind right after you’ve given it all you’ve got? No. Knowing when to back off and take rest is actually one of the most sophisticated skills you can develop in your career. The next time you plan out a big push, try getting your special reward on the books first and see if that shifts your motivation.
We think of spontaneity and business as things that don’t mix well. And maybe that’s the problem. Take a risk by going somewhere new and you might find yourself taking more exciting risks in your career as a result.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor