As I write this, I am on the other side of the world, thousands of miles away from my wife and children. It’s tough, but I’ve learned some lessons on what not to do when communicating from afar. Thanks to these steps, I’m able to maintain a strong and loving relationship with my family while on the road.
1. Don’t forget to trust at all times. I met my wife at the 2004 EO Los Angeles University. At the time, I lived in Dubai. As you can imagine, trust was central to our relationship. If you don’t trust the person you’re with, don’t try and travel for business. There have been two occasions when my trust wavered, and I spent two days worrying, scheming, inventing contingency plans and generally being miserable. Needless to say it was pointless, tiring and totally unfounded.
2. Don’t just take it as it goes. I’m the kind of entrepreneur who will take important business meetings on a fly, but when it comes to planning communications with my wife, it’s akin to a military operation. Thanks to synchronized watches—repeated twice daily—I know exactly when I’ll be speaking to my wife, where both of us will be at that time and by which means we will communicate (e.g., PC, mobile, VoIP). When it comes to communicating while traveling, reliability is everything. I can’t afford to wing it.
3. Don’t add pressure to conversations. Remember the days when a call costs a lot? Back then, it was frugal to be efficient with your time on the phone. It’s not like that anymore. How long do you have a meaningful conversation with your partner in a normal day, while you’re both in the same house? When I travel, I don’t put pressure on our conversations. We regularly have Skype running for an hour or more while the kids play. It’s not active conversation, but it’s like being a part of regular family life.