We are excited to announce a collaboration with Pivot Journeys, an organization that offers experiences for career growth and development. Both Venture with Impact and Pivot Journeys strongly believe that international travel can have a positive impact on your career, whether you are negotiating your role or trying to figure out what comes next. With that in mind, we are sharing an inspiring post by Pivot Journeys, "How Travel Fuels your Career". So pack your laptop to work and travel inspired by the world around you. Your career will thank you!
You’ve scoped out flight options.
You’ve spent hours looking at travel blogs for info on international travel.
You’ve looked at your calendar to think about how a month abroad would fit in your schedule.
You’ve talked to your friends, family, maybe even a random stranger about your secret wish of taking a month off to live abroad somewhere new and exotic.
But is this the right next step for you? Will a month abroad really help you grow in your professional life?
Yes, it will.
As someone who’s traveled a bunch in between jobs and life transitions, I’m well aware of the benefits travel provides. Many of those benefits are directly applicable to your professional development.
So how exactly does international travel actually fuel your career growth? Here are just a few reasons.
A Physical & Mental Reset
When you work in a stressful position or work long hours, it takes a toll on your ability to think clearly, strategically, and productively. There’s a reason the most common advice people give you before a big meeting or interview is to ‘get a good night’s sleep.’
If you want to be presented with opportunities or take initiative to be a leader, your work product has to be top notch. And you don’t produce great work when you’re tired. If you’re burned out you’re less productive, make more mistakes and probably aren’t very fun to work with.
We’re all human. We all need to reset mentally, physically and emotionally at various times. There should be no shame in that. And while a staycation can be great for some R&R, a month-long trip allows you to break away for a longer time to really reset.
New Experiences, Creativity, Opportunities & Ideas
Once you’re more rested, your energy comes back not just for what you routinely have to do, but for creativity, exciting ideas and opportunities. You might even stumble upon new experiences that you might not have considered before – especially being in a new, energizing environment like a foreign city.
Bill Gates used to take himself into nature for a week to get away from daily distractions to do some big-picture thinking for Microsoft – he called these weeks Think Weeks. What would happen if you took a month to do some big-picture thinking for yourself? What new ideas, thoughts, important realizations, or reflections for a career transition or for your work might you have?!
Plus, happy people stumble upon opportunities – personal and professional. Studies have even found that being in a good mood boosts creativity and problem-solving abilities. Being open and ready for growth and opportunity is a critical part of career success.
Connections are Deep & Meaningful
Ask anyone who’s built a meaningful career what one of the most important factors was in their success and they’ll point to their network and connections.
Whether you’re looking for a job, building a business, or trying to excel in your current position, the people you know are critical to your growth.
Networking is an essential part of career success. Whether you’re talking with a stranger on a bus, or sharing a room with a person you’ve just met, you’re building relationships and networking.
Plus, whether you’re traveling with friends, or new connections, your bond is usually stronger and deeper as a result. Getting stranded in an airport, experiencing an adrenaline pumping experience like skydiving, or finding yourself dancing through the streets of a small European town at 2AM is sure to cultivate rich, meaningful relationships that might prove to be valuable in your career either now or later. (If those examples seem too specific, it’s because they are! Ask me sometime and I’ll tell you all the opportunities that emerged as a result of those travel experiences.)
Science Proves It
Ok, but why travel internationally specifically?
International travel provides an environment rich for growth. Part of the reason you get new ideas while on vacation is because your brain is literally changing and growing.
Scientists have confirmed that new sights, sounds, tastes and experiences increase neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s way of creating new connections and pathways for thinking. Being in a new environment increases neuroplasticity – and the more exotic or different than your everyday routine the better. It’s like strength training for your brain!
Career success depends on staying sharp and strategic. It also depends on your ability to interact with many different stakeholders and find common ground on differences. There’s nothing like international travel to stretch your comfort zone and build muscle (hey the brain is a muscle!).
When you’re lost in a foreign city and don’t speak the language, you’re put to the test of figuring out how to find your way home. If you can figure that out, suddenly handling technical difficulties with a client isn’t as stressful. You’ve trained for this situation!
Travel provides a whole host of benefits you might not even notice but are definitely good for your brain, not to mention your soul!
Your Career Aligns With Your Life Goals
Often it’s when we take a step back that we really see clearly what’s important to us. There’s something about being submersed in other cultures and landscapes that makes us see our own life differently and clearer. And when we know what’s important to us and why, we consider how it fits into what we do Monday through Friday from 9-5 (if not beyond!).
Maybe you realize that you want your back burner creative project to be more than just a side hustle. Maybe you get clarity that your passion for sustainability, or education, or women’s rights is something you can and want to work towards in your daily work. One of the great things about volunteering aboard is that it gives you an opportunity to test out what it’s like to work in a different environment, and maybe one that more closely aligns with your passions. And, if you decide to make a career transition as a result of the experience, you have an authentic and great story to tell about why and how you knew this was the right move for you.
As a career coach I work with lots of people in lots of different fields of work. I can definitively say that those who work on something that closely aligns with their personal goals and values find so much more meaning in their work and are more successful in the long run than those who view a job as something completely separate from their personal life.
If you want to love what you do, it probably needs to align with who you are as a person and what you value. And there’s nothing like international travel to help you identify what you value and fuel your passions into a meaningful career.
So book that ticket.
Buy that Lonely Planet book.
And start packing.
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