I sat down today to craft a new years message for our tourism partners in the city and region. I thought a lot about advice I'd like to share with the tourism industry to ensure success in 2009. I thought about marketing, finance, HR, customer relations and a million other business related topics...but those will be blog entries for other days.
The most important thing we can do to ensure our own success is to understand what is important in life. When we have balance, our professional lives go that much smoother. I had an epiphany over the holidays about what's important. I've been at the helm of Tourism Thunder Bay for a little over two years now and I realized that I have been so absorbed helping to roll out innovative campaigns, I have not had a chance to really slow down. With typical weeks running 50-70 hours, discussing tourism at every social and family function and being away from home for what sometimes seems like weeks at a time, I took a deep breath and took some downtime. A week to be exact. I used to last 2 days on vacation before heading back to the office and I sleep with the Blackberry next to me so I can scan the online research reports when they roll out at 3 am.
This year, I spent time this christmas at home with the blackberry off. I got in the kitchen and cooked a rediculously massive Christmas dinner for friends and family, donated to some great local causes, worked on my project car, joined a gym and spent a lot of time with family. Its been truly energizing. I have to admit that while watching TV, I came up with a million new tourism marketing ideas, but there will be plenty of time to work on those later.
I used to have my own business so I like to think I can understand the challenges and sacrifices that many of our partners go through in the tourism industry to be successful. At the end of the day, none of our individual business successes are worth it if they negatively impact our personal lives and health. I was once told by one of my managers that "we're running a marathon, not a sprint." Those are words I always remember when things get hectic. A lot of us thrive on hectic. I know I do. Taking a step back, a deep breath and appreciating the environment we live in is important. Having our mental health sets the stage for personal and professional success.
I found an article online January 1st that summed it all up perfectly. So much so, that I think it will form my resolutions for the year. It ran in the Toronto Star yesterday and rather than paraphrase it, credit here has to go to the author, Sandy Naiman. Here is the link so you can read it yourselves.
We've made some incredible industry advances in Thunder Bay in 2008 despite what was the perfect storm in the international tourism industry. 2009 will see some of those challenges continue but we have even bigger opportunities to place Thunder Bay front and centre as a destination of choice. If we follow some basic tips for mental well being, we'll all be able to maintain our creativity, persevere and continue to succeed through these challenging times.
Best of the new year to all of our tourism industry partners. I know I speak for the entire Tourism Thunder Bay Team when I say how excited we are to continue working with everyone in 2009.