When done right, travel can be an important rite of passage – building maturity, independence and opening horizons. Little wonder then that many successful business leaders believe travel experience makes for better entrepreneurs.
For entrepreneurs looking to up their game, traveling the world and living abroad has been shown to improve a wide array of soft skills germane to business success.
A study of 3,400 university students who’d spent an exchange year abroad found it spurred significant personal growth: And it should come as no surprise that these benefits carry over into the professional world.
- 96% felt greater self-confidence
- 97% felt wiser and more mature
- 89% said it enabled them to handle uncertainly
- 95% found they’d developed a more sophisticated way of looking at the world
94% of US business leaders believe travel experience directly translates to a competitive advantage in the workplace.
How Travel Makes You a Better Entrepreneur
1. You’ll be more resilient
If you follow the sanitized itinerary peddled by tour guides and travel agencies, you’ll only see what you already knew you’d see – keeping you in your comfort zone and inhibiting growth.
By going off the beaten track, e.g. facing language barriers head on, you’ll adapt and build resilience, which is an indispensable entrepreneurial trait.
2. You’ll be able to communicate your vision
Traveling abroad means attuning yourself to new languages, ways of communicating and establishing relationships.
What’s more, learning languages – especially later in life – has proven to improve brain power and cortical thickness (i.e. size of the brain)
3. You’ll become more economical
The key to backpack traveling is to stick rigidly to a shoestring budget while getting the most out of your holiday. This means negotiating deals and embracing unconventional travel itineraries.
As you’ll also have to travel at obscene times to get cheap deals, your time management skills will undoubtedly improve.
4. You’ll discover cultural and business insights
As Immanuel Kant said: “It only makes sense to travel in other cultures if you’ve already made sense of your own, but doing the former will help you notice the shortcomings of your own culture.
That might mean recognizing outmoded business practices or opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
5. You’ll be more creative
During the course of your travels, especially if you’re journeying through developing countries, you’ll find yourself unable to rely on services and support structures you take for granted at home.
This means you’ll have to solve problems yourself, often in an unconventional and improvised fashion.
6. You’ll lead, rather than manage
Whether traveling alone or in groups, you’ll be called upon to make key decisions at every step of the journey.
Acquiring these skills will help make you a leader – someone who inspires their team to go above and beyond the call of duty.
There is a wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.
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