Last week I hosted a fun contest to give away my Frequent Flyer Miles to one reader. I expected a few hundred comments, and I got a few thousand.
Wow. I tried to publish as many as I could; the rest are backlogged in WordPress-land—we can see them from our side, but they’re not up for public viewing due to the site being overloaded.
First lesson: if you want your site to run very slooooow, just get hundreds of people to comment all at the same time.
In this post I’ll share the winner’s name and story (it was a very tough choice for my biased judges and cat), but I also want to look at a broader issue.
Lots of Worthy Entries, Only One Winner
So much interest! You’re all awesome. But here is the problem: I can only give away one free plane ticket with this contest, and there are hundreds of worthy entries. The Travel Hacking Cartel, which launches tomorrow, will also help a lot of people learn about travel hacking and undertake their own low-cost adventures. We’ve done our best to maintain the high standard that this great community expects.
But really—and this is important—you don’t need to win a contest, or even join a cartel, to pursue an adventure. Many of the commentors mentioned that it was their “life dream” to go to the place they mentioned. Hmmm.
If it’s your life dream, you don’t need me or anyone else to make it come true.
Please don’t misunderstand me; contests are fun and I’m thrilled to share my mileage wealth with one of the many great members of our community. No problem. But even better, if we can work to help many people have fun adventures of their own choosing, the rewards will go much further than the one person who wins the miles.
With that in mind, here’s how you get what you really want:
1. First, decide what you really want. Studies have shown it’s hard to get something if you’re not sure what it is. If time and money were no object, who would you be? What would you do?
2. Never make decisions based on the perceived limitations in front of you. There is almost always a way around perceived limitations; watch this video for a great example. Instead, make decisions based on what you identified in Step 1.
3. Take small, immediate steps toward getting what you want. Don’t wait long; take the first step right now. Possible small steps toward traveling where you want include reading a guidebook at the library or bookstore, saving $2 a day, scheduling a date in your calendar even if you’re not sure it will work, etc.
4. Review the steps on a regular basis. If it’s your life dream to go to Destination x, write it on a post-it note and put it where you’ll see it everyday. Then always think, “What’s next? How can I make this happen?”
A long time ago, Barbara Sher wrote something that made a big impact on me:
Whatever your dreams are, start taking them very, very seriously.
I loved this philosophy when I first read it years ago, and have been actively applying it ever since. Dream big! Then follow the dream, step by step.
As mentioned, it was extremely tough to choose a winner. In honor (honour) of my recent Canadian tour, we finally decided on Nicholas Luff from Vancouver, B.C. I often hear from folks in Canada and elsewhere around the world that travel hacking is more difficult from their countries. Well, Nicholas will be our example of someone from outside the U.S. putting travel hacking to good use as he brings his 79-year-old father over from Toronto, courtesy of my miles and some useless stickers from 2009.
Big congrats to Nicholas (and dad) for winning the miles! He’ll report back to all of us after the trip. And remember: just because Nicholas gets my miles doesn’t mean you can’t get your own 25,000 miles, or your own money to pay for the trip. I hope that many of the other people who posted will also follow-up on their trips, albeit without my miles.
If you publicly stated your intention to venture into the world if you won a contest, why not follow-up by doing it even without winning?
Cartel Launch Plan: Tomorrow at 8am PST / 11am EST
The Travel Hacking Cartel launch will take place tomorrow morning (Tuesday) beginning at 8am PST / 11am EST. During the preboarding phase, we’ll take the first 1,000 members who sign up, before shifting to regular registration. Each group will have a $1 14-day trial which then converts to a choice of three billing options—First Class, Business Class, and Economy class. I’ll also be producing a special live webinar for the preboarding group on “8 Ways to Travel for Free in 2011.”
Important disclaimer: this is the first product launch I’ve produced in a loooong time—I’ve been busy on book tour and everything related since last August. Lots of new folks have subscribed since then, so I should explain the AONC “really, no pressure” sales practice.
If you’re new here, my business model is to do 90% of my work for free. The other 10% is for sale for those who are interested. The Cartel won’t be for everyone, and that’s OK. Mostly I’m grateful to have you out there reading the blog. Don’t feel like you need to join this program to support AONC; you should join it if you’re interested in exploring the world and need a helping hand in the world of travel hacking.
Oh, and in other news, I just finished my 63-city Unconventional Book Tour Saturday afternoon in awesome Vancouver. I hope to reflect more on the whole experience soon… but first I have a cartel to launch.
Have a great week wherever you are, and be sure to do something that gets you closer to what you really want. Don’t wait on me or anyone else.