26 take offs and landings took my business partner April and me to the other side of the world and back for 3 weeks of cultural diversity, hard work, and once in a lifetime opportunities. What I brought back was a new perspective on people, life and business.
The focus of our trip was Saudi Arabia and India. This wasn’t my first trip to India, but this trip afforded me the experience of learning about the history and culture of both countries, to interact with their entrepreneurs on a personal level, and left me feeling connected in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
In Saudi Arabia we gathered with over a hundred entrepreneurs representing 26 different nationalities. Together we toured the isolated private oil fields of ARAMCO, the world’s largest oil company. The same day we climbed magnificent sand dunes to watch the sun set. Days later we played Elephant Polo in India with another group of entrepreneurs. We were immersed in the most diverse array of food, climate, attire, languages, and even industries.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Here in the states, we’ve taken some big steps towards securing our borders, but when compared to the security measures other countries are forced to take they seem insignificant. Think of the security we pass through to get on an airplane and fly across the country. In Saudi Arabia they have care searches and security gates just to get inside a hotel. It’s normal for them to have armed soldiers keep watch around the clock. This is a lifestyle very different from what we experience at home.
Those differences, however, are on the surface. They are what we experience, not who we are. What we share amongst our cultures, is that we are all just people that are trying to make our way and find a place where we can fit in and feel valued. Our countries go to different lengths to protect their people, but the goal is the same – to protect the people. Businesses around the world strive to stay in the game, and deal with the difficulty of markets, competitors, regulators, and the finance world (which is terribly unfriendly these days!).
As business owners and as people, we all struggle to balance work and personal life. We all want to better our lives, take care of our families and children, to provide a safe environment to grow and play, and be surrounded by those that we love. On the surface, we are very different, but if you take a deeper look, you see that we are all cut from the same cloth.