As a professional, traveling businesswoman, you look at the world through the eyes of someone who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of discrimination. But there is a plan of action — actually a few — that I’ve put together that will help you navigate the waters of travels, and also help you understand how to step back and regroup.
What you don’t want, of course, is to let yourself be taken in and set yourself up for it.
Through my travels as a business executive, I’ve often stayed at business hotels, like a lot of people. And I’ve done a lot of “research” there, too – there’s nothing like sitting at a bar and letting people loosen up over a few drinks to get them to share the secrets to their success, and maybe to help you set up a business meeting.
I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff happen, too, in business – and one thing I swore that I would never do is compromise myself. This comes from my having traveled extensively on business and to conferences all over the world — especially when I was in the photo syndication field. First of all, I noticed that either women are afraid to go to hotel bars by themselves, or that when they do they sometimes get hammered along with the guys. I don’t think women can keep up with men at the bar — but that’s another issue. What I learned for myself was that when I started out in business, it was difficult for me, as a beginner in the field, to arrange meetings with some of the top people in the industry. They didn’t know who I was. I just couldn’t get in to see them. But I knew that everyone goes to the hotel bar.
I made sure that I went to the bar at one of these conferences. But I set some ground rules. I dressed up and looked good. I was friendly and engaging (even flirtatious), but I never let myself get carried away. I’d hang out with the guys, and we’d become buddies at the bar. But I was there to do business, not to get wasted and do something I’d regret. It was a matter of survival. So I would leave no later than midnight.
And you know what? My reputation grew!
I became the perfect gal to be with businessmen at the bar, because I was safe. I was trustworthy, dependable — and discreet. I was Cinderella. And I got business! This was another lesson in success that I learned — aim for the moon, but protect yourself.
Think of Cinderella. She toiled away at the fireplace, smudged in dust, while her evil stepsisters taunted her and kept her from getting out to see Prince Charming. Until Cinderella’s fairy godmother came to her rescue. Through it all, Cinderella never lost sight of herself: she was proud yet humble, and as a result, she won out in the end over her selfish, scheming sisters. She was able to have it all. She had a plan, a code — and a mentor.
I want you to be proud and humble — and sensible, and I have a code of conduct, of living, for you. It’s all too easy to let your guard down, and then to wake up with regret. Sure, life brings with it its share of regrets. But you don’t want to be in a position where you’re the cause of them, if you can help it. You know, Cinderella had to be home by midnight. So should you.
So, I came up with the Cinderella Rule for Traveling Businesswomen – three simple steps that guarantee that a woman will always remain at the most basic level a princess. I don’t mean a princess with a tiara and a life in the spotlight as a trophy wife. I mean someone who’s sure of herself, and knows how to live with success.
That’s it: no one gets in trouble, and everyone wakes up alone — and happy. There’s a way to enjoy yourself while protecting you and everyone with you. It’s all part of the Women’s Code, ego-Rhythm — and every woman’s friend, K.A.R.L. You can learn more about them all through my blog, through my conference and consulting services. Let’s do this together.