Business Blasphemy

EP30: Rethink, Redefine, Rest: Lessons from the Air Travel Shit Show

August 01, 2023 Sarah Khan Season 1 Episode 30
Business Blasphemy
EP30: Rethink, Redefine, Rest: Lessons from the Air Travel Shit Show
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We've all been privy to the lessons of air travel shit shows.

And truth be told, there's a lot we can learn from the madness of air travel.

Picture me stuck on hold for 36 hours, trying to retrieve money from a canceled flight. Or dealing with a cancelled flight and losing a day of our vacation. Or dealing with a cancellation on the way back and a rerouting.

It was an eye-opening experience on how things beyond our control can wreak havoc in our plans. Sounds a lot like entrepreneurship, doesn't it? As we navigate this stormy landscape, let's keep in mind that we can't control everything, but our responses are totally up to us.

The pandemic has changed the rules of the business game, and it's not unusual to feel the heat and pressure building. But let's make one thing clear - resorting to manipulative tactics or pushing people into purchases they can't afford is not the answer. Instead, let's focus on what we can control - our responses, how we show up, how we price our offers, and how we share our content. I'll be talking about the importance of rest and slowing down to identify what we can let go of in our lives and businesses. Rethink, redefine and make your business not only rewarding but impactful. 

Remember, we're in this together.

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Speaker 1:

Stop building the business everyone tells you you should build and build the business you deserve. Business Blast for Me is sponsored by Corporate Rehab Strategic Consulting, creators of the Entrepreneur Growth Hierarchy, the proprietary method for helping you identify the precise conditions you need to meet to sustainably scale your business to the next level of growth, without overcomplicating things or getting caught up in the bullshit. If you're ready to find out exactly what your business needs from you, grab a free 30-minute assessment today. Details are in the show notes. Welcome to the Business Blast for Me podcast, where we question the sacred truths of the online business space and the reverence with which they're held. I'm your host, sarah Kahn, speaker, strategic consultant and BS busting badass. Join me each week as we challenge the norms, trends and overall bullshit status quo of entrepreneurship to uncover what it really takes to build the business that you want to build in a way that honors you, your life and your vision for what's possible, and maybe piss off a few gurus along the way. So if you're ready to commit Business Blast for Me, let's do it. Hello, hello, blasphemers. You know there is nothing like air travel these days to truly teach you how little is in your control. Ok, I want to preface this week's episode with a little apology. We are in North Carolina this week visiting family and I don't have my fancy mic or my quiet office to record in, so the audio quality is going to be however it is. Cars are going to drive by, birds are going to chirp and there's not a lot I can do about it. So I am sorry if the chaos of background noise makes this episode difficult or annoying to listen to, and actually it's the perfect backdrop for this week's episode, which will make sense momentarily. If you've traveled at all since the pandemic, you'll notice something about air travel. It's shit. No one gets anywhere without delays, sometimes multiple delays, or canceled flights, or sitting on the tarmac or being stuck in stifling airports for hours on end with no customer service, only to be given like a $10 voucher as compensation. Hi, have you seen the price of a bottle of water? $10 isn't going to go far. Well, that's exactly how this trip to North Carolina started out. We got ourselves out of bed at 2 30 am to get to the airport by 3, 3, 15. We had a 5 30 flight to Toronto. We got there enormous line like the full length of the departures hall. How many people fly at 5 30 am on a Thursday. Hundreds, the flight was full and, yeah, it wasn't the only flight. But let's be honest, you know, damn, you walk in and there's a massive line the entire length of the departures hall. So with myself, my husband, two kids, until we got in line, we waited. I even tried the kiosks about 30 minutes in to see if we could check in that way, but no, it wasn't having it. We have really great luck with kiosks. It never lets us check in that way. So about 40 minutes or so later we're at the desk and we get checked in. We get to the gate, there's a minor delay and of course that early almost nothing is open. And now the kids are getting hungry. So I nipped to the only thing that is open at that end of the airport, a Tim Hortons. Well, everyone else had the same idea. So I'm waiting for our order because of course at that time no one wants just a donut. They all want to cook breakfast sandwich or hash brown. So you know I'm waiting in line. Then they call our flight while I'm in line. Now cue the stress, stress that is already adding to the stress that already have Just having, you know, woken up early and not having had a lot of sleep and just the idea of having to fly that early with kids, I made it. It wasn't a big deal. We fly the two and a half hours to Toronto and then we have a three hour layover. We get through security, we get through US customs and walk, I think, to the ass end of the airport, like literally gate F-99. And we park it, we get some food, coffee, chill, then the flight's delayed. Of course it is why wouldn't it be? And then it's delayed again and then it's delayed a third time, keeping in mind I have two kiddos who have also been up since two o'clock in the morning, and I don't do well when we travel because I get stressed out almost the minute we leave, worried about getting everywhere on time, how we're gonna get through security, making sure everyone's comfortable, making sure we actually make it. We've had some challenges in the past, and particularly over the last year, with travel. First of all, my husband gets flagged every time we go anywhere. He shares a name with someone who's on a no fly list somewhere, which is stupid. That was like 20 years ago, but we still get stopped more or less every single time. In April of this year we tried to go to France with my husband for his work, and the kids got denied boarding because their passports were one day shy of being valid for three months, which apparently was a requirement and I didn't know about it because we don't usually travel to Paris. So we waved hubby through security and went home, only to get strep and be laid up for a week and a half anyway. Then last year around this time I tried to go to Ohio for a work retreat and my flight was canceled and rebooked so many times that by the time they settled on a departure date, I would have gotten there after the retreat was over and I ended up on hold for 36 hours Seriously, 36 hours. Yes, I kept track, trying to get my money back. One of those calls. I was on hold for five hours and then I got disconnected before I even got to talk to anybody. So yeah, we've had some experiences that have caused me stress. Anyway, after the third delay, sitting there in the airport, they said the aircraft needed maintenance, then they needed a new plane and then they couldn't find one and then they just canceled our flight. So cue the chaos Everybody in the departure lounge is up in arms. My little little little has been up for more than 12 hours at this point probably close to 14 hours, and that's after about an hour and a half of sleep and she decides this is the moment she's gonna pass out and it has to be on my shoulder. So now hubby is navigating both customer service at the end of the terminal and the gate agent at our gate. Long story, longer. They rebooked us the next morning. They put us up in a hotel for the night no luggage, same clothes we were wearing. We slept in and then had to get our asses back to the airport at stupid o'clock in the morning I think it was like 4 am Everyone's pissy, everyone's tired, sweaty and the airport food obviously is super gross. Anyway, we made it to Raleigh and it wasn't anything that a shower and a good night's sleep couldn't fix. So we've been here in North Carolina for a little over a week and the pace is so wonderfully slow. I mean I can't imagine it being anything but in this heat. Because, like, how do y'all live in this heat? I have no idea. And even though I have my laptop here and I am technically working, there are people around me having fun and chilling, and I want a piece of that. Normally, on family holidays or on vacations, I feel the need to book activities and make sure we have something to do every single day, or it's quote unquote wasted time, and sometimes, when you're with family, it's just, it's stressful because you want to make sure you're visiting everybody and you want to make sure one has a chance to, you know, meet with you. Most often we travel over to england, where my husband's from, and so, because it's you know, a long time in between visits, we do have to see a lot of people and so it just feels like we're constantly on all the time. I'm not gonna lie, but this time around we haven't had anything planned and I've actually just spent a lot of time relaxing at home and taking a super slow pace to the day, and if the kids wanted to do something, we'd go to a park or we'd go to, like you know, check something out, but there wasn't like a lot of stuff, right, not gonna lie, I thought I'd struggle, but with every day of nothing that has passed, I have felt my stress decrease and my breathing become deeper. Seriously, it's something I didn't even realize I needed. Maybe it's just my personality, you know, but I have a hard time letting go and relaxing. I feel like I constantly have to be on, I have to be on alert, I have to be productive. I mean, I might do an episode one week on the whole concept of productivity because, let me tell you and I know some of it is residual stress from the flight and, you know, losing a day of work and that's in air quotes, by the way, all of that made me feel some kind of way and I've talked about it before on the podcast about how my corporate programming and my upbringing, it really trained me. It ingrained in me that my worth was equated to my output or how hard I worked. And sitting in the southern sun with nothing to do because, quite frankly, I didn't have the energy it really gave me the space to remember that there wasn't anything I could have done about the flight situation. There was nothing I could have done about the missed day of work and, honestly, I was entitled to rest. So I had to very, very intentionally remind myself that was okay to do QT yesterday. I was starting to make plans in my head. You know, we're gonna leave today at 6 am. We're gonna be home by noon. I was gonna get the laundry on, arrange for groceries, watch those videos in that one program I was in before they get taken down in two days, prep for my workday back in the office. And then the text came through canceled flight, right? I mean by now, I should expect it, but it always comes as a little bit of like right. So, yeah, by now we should be on a plane, but they rebooked us for tomorrow and they've added an extra leg to our journey. So now we're actually going from Raleigh to Charlotte and then to Toronto and, surprisingly, I was fine about it. You know, when you really think about it, we actually have control over so very little, and all of those people getting angry at the gate attendants and customer service reps was wasted energy, because there's literally nothing any of them can do either. I'm not saying that we don't have high expectations or that we don't strive to do our best, but there are times and situations where we literally have zero control, and with so little control right now over things like the economy, interest rates, climate change, housing prices, the price of food, you know, things that matter I'm seeing people, me included, having a stranglehold over those things that are more within our control, because it feels like we're doing something. And I think a lot of us are just tired of feeling powerless and we want to stop feeling powerless, because that's what it comes down to. Nobody wants to feel powerless. It's scary, it's terrifying to think that you literally cannot affect change or cannot affect the outcome of something that you depend on. And because we can't control the big things, I'm seeing people holding on to other things right in the business space. I'm seeing people doubling down on sales calls, content creation, the number of coffee chats they're open to taking. I'm seeing people getting really aggressive during those sales calls. I'm noticing more scarcity tactics than normal. And, yes, when things get tough, it's normal to double down and work harder and make more of an effort. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. But using manipulative tactics like you don't want it badly enough when people literally cannot afford to pay you, is about as effective as screaming at a gate agent that you're going to miss your connection because they're not able to pull a plane out of their ass. And it's this increased hustle in the online business space that is really taking on renewed vigor, but now with an undercurrent of desperation and a lack of empathy, and I'm also seeing a lot of people on the edge as a burnout, feeling disillusioned, feeling overwhelmed, feeling worried for the future. And I see you, I feel you, I'm with you in all of it. And I'm also here to remind you that we literally don't have any control over any of that. We can't control how much people will spend or how much they will buy, or when or at what price point. We can't control whether we're going to fill our programs, no matter what the gurus tell you, and, honestly, no one can guarantee sold out programs or services. So please stay wary of those promises when you see them. There's no secret to any of it. You're not missing anything. We're living in a wild and crazy time where things are just uncertain and unsettled and the only thing we really have any control over is how we respond to it all and how we show up in the face of it all. I know a fair number of you wonderful humans listening out there are from traditional workplace and environments and backgrounds maybe a corporate background and you're similar to me in that when things get tough, you throw yourself into your work because that you can control right your output, and I'm here to remind you that you don't have to, because working harder doesn't actually change what's going on around you. So what do you do? Well, you get to let go. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to practice letting go of things. And now I get it. When people here let go, a lot of them assume I'm talking about you know, let it go as in, drop it or stop worrying about it. I'm not naive Me. Telling you to stop worrying about interest rates or housing prices or the price of salad isn't going to make you suddenly go. Oh okay, thanks, and live a life of blissful ignorance. I get it. That's not what I mean when I say let go. I'm saying be more intentional about where you're putting your energy, because it's in such limited supply right now. So what can you let go of to create even a little space and ease and maybe even a little bit of rest in your life? Could you let go of control of something in your business, like, maybe, how often you're posting or how many calls you take? Could you maybe let go of perfectionism or maybe unrealistic expectations, or maybe let go of a rigid work schedule, or maybe even let go of the idea that rest is a reward when really it's a requirement. How do you know if you could stand to let go of something? Well, how do you feel on a day to day basis? Do you constantly feel like you're under pressure and that you're letting things slip away? Do you find yourself getting annoyed or irritated by everyday things? Do you find yourself wanting to make irrational or extreme business decisions? You know whether it's frantically searching for a magic bullet to make it all better or feeling like you want to burn it down and run. Are you afraid to put your phone down or walk away from your laptop in case you miss something that could help? These are just some of the feelings that are key indicators that you need to let go of something and maybe rest and recalibrate. Now don't at me, okay, I'm not saying we just throw caution to the wind and never worry about anything again and adopt a come what may attitude toward utterly everything. We all have bills to pay and put food on the table. I get it, and you're allowed to rest. You're allowed to create ease and space in your life by reminding yourself it's necessary. You do not have to earn it, and it's in slowing down that you come to see where you can let go of things that aren't serving you, you come to see what isn't for you and you come to see what really matters. It sounds cliche, but having slowed down and let go of the self-imposed schedule I put myself on at home has actually yielded some really intriguing clarity. And instead of pushing myself to make something of the clarity you know, forcing it to crystallize into a new offer or to immediately start creating content around it, I'm letting it sit. I'm not forcing it, which is also a beautiful way of letting go, letting go of the need for it to make sense right now or to come together right now, before it's time. Part of it is the fact that my brain won't allow it. Really, you know, when I can't focus, I try harder, I push, I force and I force myself to sit there until I figure it out. But right now my brain is like fuck that shit. I'm taking a break, so I'm letting it. And that brings me back to this episode. I'm sitting in the front yard, noise all around me. I say noise. It's like the noise of nature, the noise of life. It's funny how we call that noise when it's just life. You know, I stressed for days about finding a quiet space in the house, which is impossible with five kids and people living a life and I realized I can either skip a week which I didn't really want to do because one of my goals is to record 50 episodes by the end of the year or I can record and just be okay with the fact there's background noise. This week Done is better than perfect, yes, but peace of mind is even better. Look, I love my podcast. I'm really enjoying it and I don't want it to become a chore. I don't want to be so rigid about how it has to be that I stop enjoying it, and so today I'm letting go about how it sounds and I want you to start thinking about what you can let go of to make what you do more enjoyable. Either stay enjoyable or start being enjoyable, whether it's how you show up on social, how you price your offers, how you share your content or work with clients, how you structure your day, where you take breaks, or even just how you run your business in general. Now, couple of that with the audit that I shared in last week's episode, and we're at a wonderfully, wonderfully wonderful crossroads of redesigning how we want to run our businesses, how we want to show up how we want to move forward with everything. And if you haven't listened yet, I highly recommend going back and doing the audit from last week. So that's my invitation to you today. Where can you let go and rest so that you can redefine or reorient what your business looks like as we move into the fall? And if you're looking for someone to help support you in redesigning your CEO activities and your day to day so that you are intentional and focused and not stuck in forced work or busy work, book a call or send me a message with the word ease. I don't always advertise them, but I always have space for people interested in quick spark strategy sessions where we look at your day and we align your to-dos to be more intentional and impactful, without increasing your output or how much bandwidth you're using. And, as always, come, hang out in the Facebook community and share with me what you're letting go of. Maybe it'll inspire others to do things a little differently too. And, honestly, that's all I've got the bandwidth for this week, so I'll cap it off with the loudest truth I can utter you can have success without the BS, and I'll talk to you soon.

Air Travel Stress and Relaxation Value
Finding Ease in Uncertain Times
Letting Go and Redefining Your Business