It was 5:30 in the morning…standing beside the baggage claim area at Gatwick airport in London. My colleague and I had just gotten off a 7-hour red-eye originating in Toronto. I’ve never managed to master the art of sleeping at a 90-degree angle. And this colleague was a friend but more of a work-friend rather than a beer-guzzling bestie friend. In other words, I was acutely aware that the Altoids I’d popped was working overtime and the hair on the right side of my face was stuck to my cheek by dried spittle.
I grabbed my backpack – it was circa 2008. I had my dog-eared copy of Rick Steves London in hand, open to page 1364 – working out where we’d locate the Gatwick Express to downtown.
“Are you mad?” I was sure my work-buddy had finally gotten around to noticing my dishevelled appearance.
“There is no friggin’ way we are taking public transit,” he mocked incredulously. It’s one thing that you booked us on this cheap-ass overnight charter flight, but enough is enough, Molzan.
(yes, he’d left me in charge of the travel arrangements – I fear, once a backpacker…always a backpacker)
As I slid my butt across the leather backseat of our London cab…I learned one of my first valuable lessons as a salary-earning adult living in the grown-up real world.
We don’t fly coach. And we don’t undervalue our worth.
We had a hoot that weekend attending WTM (World Travel Mart). We ate at the finest restaurants, drank far too many ciders, ate a few too many chips with malt vinegar, took the iconic photographs in Piccadilly Circus, as one does. And we both had successful outcomes from our time at the travel fair.
That work-buddy eventually became president of one of Canada’s biggest travel companies – not to mention a great friend and mentor. I was struck by his confidence. But more importantly, I was intrigued by his relationship with money compared to my own. What made us so different?
I did eventually go on to earn 6 figures in the travel industry, an impossibility I was told at my college admissions interview. And now I’ve started my own business but man…it was a long time between then to now. His climb to the top seemed far more effortless.
That is the genesis of this post.
For years, I blamed my molasses-like movement up the corporate ladder on the fact that I was female and a mother of two. But now, looking back, I wonder if my sluggish results were more the result of a faulty money mindset. How do you view money?
How often have you heard phrases like…
Money is the root of all evil.
Money can’t buy happiness.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
I’m not made of money.
Money seems to slip through my fingers.
He’s filthy rich.
Our feelings about money are often solidified during our childhood. Phrases, as noted above, subconsciously form our belief system and play an integral role in determining our earning potential and how we choose to spend our money.
In my London scenario, I had a deep-seated belief that money was hard to come by and that I shouldn’t be spending it so frivolously on a $130 cab when the Gatwick express was $100 cheaper.
My feelings about money were so ingrained that I hadn’t even considered the value that I brought to my company. I deserved to turn left when I boarded the plane, and I sure as hell deserved to take first-class passage to King’s Cross.
Money can’t buy happiness
No? If I were to ask you to make a list of all the things that make you happy, don’t most of them cost money? Isn’t that such a load of crock? You might say…ahhhh, spending time with my loved ones…that makes me happy. To which I’d say…sure…doing what exactly?
EVERYTHING costs money. Yes, you and your kids can go hang out on a street corner and it will cost you nothing, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be getting their “Mommy of the Year” award crafted in Crayolas.
He’s filthy rich
Why is it that we vilify successful people as being somehow morally incapacitated? How can we feel good about making so much money when at least 80% of the world makes less than $10 a day? I know that my beliefs about money were also rooted in the fact that I had spent so much of my life travelling through remote villages where people had next to nothing. I was guilt-ridden thinking…what makes me so special that I won the genetic and geographic lottery?
How can I allow myself to have so much abundance when others have so little?
But the reality is, every one of those hungry kids would have given their left arm and their soccer ball for the opportunities that I had. And there I was, squandering my good fortune for fear of looking “filthy” to others.
Money solves problems. Political campaigns are built on money. Who we have in office today is largely decided by money. Without money, we don’t have the resources to develop vaccines, fund studies to cure cancer, and send rocket ships to the moon.
Bill Gates is a polarizing figure. Many people believe him to be self-serving, evil, manipulative, opportunistic – but love him or hate him, by way of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has given over 45.5 billion dollars to charity. Some argue that it isn’t enough.
It’s definitely more than I have contributed. How ‘bout you?
As much as people love to go on Facebook and rant about all the injustices in the world and point fingers at the wealthy…a Facebook diatribe won’t change anything…money will.
The universal laws of abundance
What if we accepted the premise that there is enough money in the world for everyone? What if there is no finite supply? The universal law of abundance does not mean that the more you have, the less someone else has. It’s the opposite.
I know, I know…I realize I’m running the risk of sounding a little too woo-woo here. I promise you I’m not writing this while sniffing incense and juggling crystals. But I’ve seen it over and over again. The more money we make, the more money we give, the more money everyone has. And like a boomerang, another universal truth is that the more we give, the more comes back.
The money mindset of a travel agent
When I ask some travel agents about charging booking fees, the response I sometimes get is that they feel icky about charging fees when the client is already paying 30K+ for their holiday. But I assert, if your clients can afford a 30K holiday, they can afford your expertise for helping them book it. The more money you make, the more money you can invest in your continued education, the more value you can offer your client.
That is the power of money.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for a US travel agent in 2019 was 44K. In Canada, it was even lower. Ugh, I’m going out on a limb and suggesting that I’m not the only one who has struggled with the concept of money. And the reason I say that is that according to a 2016 article in Forbes, Virtuoso claimed that 36% of their agents make over 6 figures. That tells me it’s a mindset issue and not something inherently flawed in the industry.
In his book, “The Big Leap,” Guy Hendricks talks about our limiting beliefs and how we all have an inner thermostat that is programmed at a young age. We are bombarded with messages that money is ‘bad’ so subconsciously, we sabotage our own efforts to achieve the wealth we deserve.
Look at what you currently make as a travel agent. What limits have you subconsciously put on your earning potential?
This was a huge reason why I started this blog. I remember that moment in London so clearly and the lesson it taught me about my value. My goal is to help agents dramatically exceed their inner thermostat of what they think they can achieve and what they deserve to be paid.
If statistics show that top earners exist in this industry…then why not you?
I want to explore this topic further in weeks to come because I think we’ve only scratched the surface of our money mindset. But for now, I want to leave you with this thought. What if I told you that there was no cap on your ability to earn money?
What if I suggested that the only thing standing in the way of what you currently report to the taxman every year, and your potential earnings, is your thoughts about money? Stick with me. I’ve got your back on this.
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