|Wright Brother's first airplane (google images)|
Will the trip honestly, truly and without stretching for rationalizations answer a deep Personal need, and/or a deep Professional need and has a Truly Significant Purpose?
If you can answer yes to two of the above queries, and there is a Truly Significant Purpose, then it's alright to go. If you have to wiggle around to sort of convince yourself there is a reason besides the Truly Significant Purpose, then really, you shouldn't go. Or you can go to Step Two, but read about Step One first.
Significant Purpose? Are you sure? Habit is a nasty way of convincing yourself that something is important when in fact saying NO is the right thing to do? How is this trip going to significantly add to your personal or professional objectives. Will you be reaping something that couldn't be achieved another way?
|This seems kind of professional, doesn't it? (google image)|
Professional? Man oh Man, this one is so easy to rationalize it isn't funny. Someone (maybe yourself) tells you that you need to travel to this place or that place to meet this group, or settle this issue, or give a paper, or listen to a paper or buy something. We don't question it, it's part of the job or maybe part of a budget and you don't want to lose that funding for next year. Or is it. Is it habit? Can it be accomplished in another way, by a conference call or Skype, or can someone already there in the company do the task? Can you bunch up travel so that in one larger trip you can consolidate flying miles? Sometimes No is the correct answer, especially if it gets in the way of important Personal or Private Needs that are happening at home.
|Casablanca movie, at the airport, saying goodbye. Steve and I were saying "Hello!" (google images)|
Steve recently had to go to Germany for work. Personal? Not truly but it turned out he was able to see some things related to his lectures. But that happened without prior planning and so in the course of the Rule of Three, doesn't count. Professional? Not at first. Truly Significant Purpose? Initially the answer from up high wasn't satisfactory. He was expected to go and schmooze, whatever. What was his problem? Steve pushed back and eventually the people planning the trip connected him to some people and places that will have positive gains for several years. Truly Significant Purpose = long term exchange programs for students and faculty, plus funding (maybe).
Sometimes the Rule of Three just won't work. If you have to travel home for a funeral or wedding, or if a job related journey just won't allow for anything else to fit in, OK. But if you keep trying to apply the Rule of Three, eventually, most of your travel will...