Corporate Travel and the Real Jackpot

The fasten seatbelts sign just got turned off as we hit cruising altitude and my flight is on time. I’m so ready to be home.  This was a fun and profitable trip but corporate travel is never my preference.

Don’t misunderstand, I love new places and I enjoy creating meaningful experiences, especially with friends. It’s the loss of routine and disruption to my schedule that bothers me with travel.  The more regimented my life, the more consistently I make good decisions.

When I was a Project Manager, I traveled often and the majority of those trips wrecked any meals and exercise program that I had developed.  There is something about not having to pay the bill that makes an appetizer, meal, and desert all sound necessary.  Then there was always the two weeks (or more) of recovery from the guilt and shame of bad decisions… often not getting back on track till it was time to travel again.

Since starting with Donovan June 1st, I have been working very hard to develop consistency with meals and exercise.  Prepping meals, waking up at 5am to workout, and dodging the constant free food in the office has manifested in some phenomenal results.

While those results are awesome, my 6 month progress check (written about elsewhere) presents a new risk: the “I have arrived” mindset.  Add to that, this trip is a reward for the sales I have made this year.  Armed with a corporate card and thinking I have earned the right to treat myself is a recipe for disaster.

Yet here I am flying home and feeling awesome… and no, it’s not because I won the jackpot last night.

So how did I pull it off?  What made this trip so different from those before?

Let’s take a quick trip back in time to December 1st when I was officially invited to attend.  I received an email asking me if I want to fly to Arizona to compete for the jackpot or be sent a smaller prize.  Honestly, I contemplated the later.

After weighing my chances and considering that I have never met many of my Tempe colleagues that I work with every day, I decided to take the trip.  Then it was time to figure out how and when to get there.

Y’all I am just going to be real because that is the only thing I know how to be.  I spent 45 minutes looking at flights trying to find a solution that let me not miss a workout. Not miss the least work.  Not maximize my time in Tempe.  Just how can I avoid missing any of my sessions with Donovan? (This was all for naught and I had to miss one anyway.)

As soon as my flights and hotel were approved, it was time to plan my meals.  I called the hotel and found out their breakfast options wouldn’t meet my needs so I worked with a co-worker to coordinate breakfast. As soon as they announced the lunch restaurant, I studied the online menu.  Dinner was a catered buffet so I planned that as an open meal and prayed they would have some decent options.

Up next was planning workouts.  Donovan vetoed my request to workout twice on Tuesday, especially when an injured hipflexor meant taking it easy in the class I did attend.  He also wouldn’t assign me a workout; he just insisted he trusts me and told me that I can do whatever I want in the hotel gym as long as it was all upper body.

Planning complete, it was time to travel.  I took pictures of nearly everything I ate and sent them to Donovan.  When the place I had chosen for dinner Wednesday night said the bill was going to be $50, I adjusted on the fly and picked somewhere else.  Thursday morning I picked up way more fruit than I needed but I figured (correctly) that it would be a better option than all the junk food around between meals.

When the big event kicked off, I loaded up my plate with every veggie or fruit I could find then added a few pieces of chicken.  By the time I had gotten through that, I wasn’t hungry and the deserts just didn’t look that appetizing.  In fact, several times during the night I walked back to the deserts table but I never felt the need to eat any of it.

Since I was the big jackpot winner, I couldn’t just bow-out the happy hour like I usually do.  Instead, I ordered a salad with salmon on top and, honestly, it was the best tasting thing I ate the entire trip.

Don’t get me wrong… I was imperfect on this trip. My sugar intake (via all that fruit) was way too high, I drank half a diet DrPepper, I left the dressing on my salad last night, I skipped the workout I planned for this morning, I ate the fat on the bacon that came with breakfast, and I am slouching right this minute. (Quick posture check… ok, back to writing…)

But none of those little imperfections became the catalyst for a nosedive. I never declared, “Forget it; I am just going to get on track when I get home.” The imperfections were diluted with all the great decisions I was making.

Even now, in flight, I am sipping my absolute favorite drink served on planes: Cran-Apple Juice.  But, since it’s so high in sugar, I picked up a bottle of Perrier in the airport and I diluted the juice half and half with the sparkling water.  Tastes awesome and helps me feel better about the choice.

Sure, this trip was better because it was planned … but it was in learning to be flexible with the imperfections that made it a success. I’m learning to loosen my grip on rigorous discipline, without letting healthy habits slip through my fingers.

I knew what I wanted.  Tuesday I told Donovan that it was more important to me that I came home happy with my food and exercise than that I came home with the jackpot.  But it’s pretty awesome that I get to bring home both and, with that, strengthened trust in myself and faith in my ability to travel well.

The free vendor swag is cool. The money I won is nice. But that self-trust is the real jackpot I won on this trip.

Since my no-travel 2015 morphed into a 3-corporate-trips 2016, it’s probably about time I figured out how to do this without going into a tailspin.

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3 thoughts on “Corporate Travel and the Real Jackpot

  1. Pingback: Cookie Party – Imperfect Progress

  2. Pingback: Mardi Gras Mentality – Imperfect Progress

  3. Pingback: Magic Dress – Imperfect Progress

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