This year I’ve been busy nearly every week travelling to speak and facilitate around the world and Australia. It’s been an exciting time and I have seen some amazing places and met some extraordinary people. But I’ve also met some people who I feel it’s necessary to question. To ask some serious questions, actually.
When I talk to business people in my travels, nine times out of ten they tell me that their partners and families are the most important people to them. But do they show that? Do they live that? What I see is that they often find excuses not to send an SMS or make a quick call to tell the people they say mean the world to them that they actually do mean the world to them!
People do what we do, not what we say. And if we say we want to communicate with people, make them feel special, but we don’t do it, then other people – our partners, children and even our team members – will think it’s okay not to communicate and care about people, too. And that creates a cycle between us that benefits no one. What we need is a cycle that will build each other up. We have to get our arms around each other’s shoulders and encourage each other to develop better habits.
I am really conscious when I am on stage speaking that I have to do the things I say. If I don’t do the things I say, it’s going to be pretty hard to convince other people to do them! So I find the time when I’m travelling to keep in touch with my wife and family, the people who support me and make it possible to do the amazing work I get to do. And I know that the little message I send means so much to my family because I know how much their messages and phone calls mean to me.
Good intentions won’t get the job done. We have to make that time to call, we have to book that favourite restaurant and go out with our partners when we get home after travelling. That action tells them how important they are, makes them feel special, and they will in turn make us – and others around them – feel special, too.
But we have to care about ourselves first. Another thing I see on the road is people who don’t take time to care about their bodies. They have good intentions to get fit and stay healthy, but their actions show them sitting in a bar or eating fried dim sims instead of a salad. Hey, I like that “stuff” from time to time too but…?!
What I often ask them is how much room do you need on your hotel floor to do a few push-ups? You don’t even need to go to the hotel gym, even though they’re virtually all equipped with them. And, I ask, is it really too cold to go for a walk or is that another excuse, another case of finding a reason not to do something that’s good for you rather than finding a reason to make that positive change?
Those few push-ups can quickly become 10 or 20 or 50 or…. And that one healthy meal a week can just as quickly become an everyday choice. We have the power to choose the things we really want for our lives – better relationships; trusting and caring work teams; a fitter, healthier body – but we need to take some small steps in those directions – and realise that being on the road is simply not an excuse!
Yes, a lot of people are on the road for a long time each year and work very long hours. They tell me that – but at the same time tell me they really want to change their personal lives. They might have great financial rewards and, hopefully, plenty of job satisfaction, but they know what really matters to them is the people who are close to them and the body they are allowing to fall apart.
The truth is it will be hard. It’s hard to make the changes we want, it’s hard to take those first steps to getting the personal satisfaction that we know is missing. But choosing to make even the smallest step – a walk tonight instead of another round of drinks, an SMS to your partner instead of another work-related email – means that those people who find themselves on the road due to work tonight can also get on another road: the one that leads them to being the best they can be. And, don’t forget, this all applies even – especially, actually – when we’re at home.
What road are you going to choose tonight?