We’ve heard it from every major company in their advertising for the last six months… “In these uncertain times…”
We’ve heard it so much that it becomes innocuous and our ears just skip over the words.
We are all feeling it.
And we all need a degree of certainty in our lives.
We need to feel in control and ensure ourselves a comfort level that creates pleasure and avoids stress.
Sometimes the need to feel in control leads us to making big, bold decisions without thinking through all of the implications or seeking out all the facts. Our industry right now is teeming with uncertainty; how many agents are questioning their careers, their livelihood, moving away from something they’ve spent years, sometimes decades, building?
Of course, other work might be necessary at the moment – we need to pay our bills, our rents and mortgages and put food on the table – but in the minds of many the question has come up “Is this me? Is this what I do and who I am now?”
We know the travel industry will rebound. Historically, it always has, and we know that when it does the agent or advisor will be even more valued than in the before times.
But how do we cope with this ever-changing limbo we find ourselves in?
Take it back a step. Don’t focus on the world or the travel industry. Those pieces are too large to fully grasp or feel like you have any control over.
We need to cope with our own feelings and attitudes towards uncertainty to get us through. But how do we do that?
Focus on the right things, the things that matter.
With information changing so often, it’s easy to get upset or have a knee-jerk reaction to the latest news. Very often, the news or update we’ve received is important, but not earth shattering.
Focus on your clients, on keeping them informed. Focus on being the expert they need you to be.
The industry news and details then become secondary and you are mentally putting yourself in a position where you will feel more in control.
Avoid the “What if?”
Things will not go perfectly, and we can’t afford to romanticize the past and pretend they always did. There’s a difference between being prepared in your business and spending all your time thinking about every possible “what if” scenario. At some point you need to make your decisions, move on and just choose the next page in the Choose Your Own Adventure book. Too many “What ifs” leave us feeling overwhelmed again and we lose any control we’ve gained from focusing on the right things.
Trust yourself. Trust your instincts. You are the travel professional and you have experience that can help you and your clients navigate this. You’ve never dealt with something on this scale before, but you’ve been tested before in uncharted waters and you came out just fine. You’re still here, aren’t you?
Trust the industry leaders who are making the decisions to get us all through this. You may not agree with everything being done, but trust that the motives are the same industry-wide – everyone wants to still be in business on the other side of this thing. Competing interests can set up conflict, but that conflict will only serve to distract you from focusing on what matters.
If you’re having difficulty on trust, remember that…
We are all in this together
Just as every commercial starts with “In These Uncertain Times”, every message ends with this, but these are words our ears can’t afford to skip over.
We truly are all in this together because we all want to see this industry we love, not just survive, but thrive after the pandemic is over. Everyone in the industry is in survival mode and everyone is doing the best they can to cope and they are making the decisions they need to make to still be standing when the dust settles.
When changes, announcements and news hit, try to find the positive. If that’s hard on the front-end of the news, think of the people behind the scenes who are in this thing together, with you.
Find the green shoots that are starting to come up and share those stories. Some clients are returning to travel, some destinations are managing the pandemic. If you hear something good, share something good.
Be a part of the solution for those around you struggling with uncertainty.
The one thing you have absolute control over is how you respond to a given situation and you have the capability to find hope in what we are dealing with and to spread hope to others.
And, at the end of the day, hope isn’t the cure for uncertainty, but it definitely helps us manage the symptoms.