You can never have enough of learning, nor can you ever be out of ways to learn. Everyone has their own ways to expand the mind: books, talks, hobbies... For me, travel has been the greatest teacher I ever had. No documentary, article or book has taught me as much as real experiences. And travel brings you a plethora of experiences that broaden your horizons.
Having had the good fortune of being born into an illustrious family, I had the opportunity to travel a lot since my early days. I vividly remember travelling with my father for his meetings, seeing new places, meeting new people, learning to appreciate the diversity not just of our nation but of the world. All this made me more creative and imaginative. Also, it helped me become more observant about little things that mean a lot – how people function, community bonds, and how groups are led. All this was of great use to me later, as I started looking at things from different perspectives. This helped a great deal in leading my business ventures.
A business leader is not someone who just brings great profits to his or her company; it’s someone who can make the most of their teams’ talents and motivate them to become leaders themselves. At JK International, we follow the concept of ‘work with’ rather than ‘work for’; this imbibes a sense of belonging in our employees’ minds and increases their output. In all my ventures, I ensure, that every employee, irrespective of their position, feels equally important to the cause. And, yes, travel has played a big part in making me learn the core values of character building, teamwork and humility.
Moreover, exposure to diversity helps you tap people’s true potential. This is an extremely important instinct for a leader. Getting to know people’s strengths and weaknesses, creating a community that enjoys working together, creating a structure with a hierarchy, where everyone is aware of their responsibilities, is crucial for any company’s growth.
Travel also teaches you to step out of your comfort zone. There are many things you feel you are good at and you wish to stay in the same place, but that is the exact opposite of what is needed for expansion – not just in business, but in all aspects of life. For a leader, stepping out of your comfort zone is important. Staying put kills creativity and is a block to growth.
As international travel grew more frequent for me, I noticed that there were very few shops that sold fabrics internationally. To do that in India was a great challenge. There were a lot of reasons thrown at us as to why it wouldn’t work. But after turning all the cannots into can dos, Park Avenue was launched – and the rest is history.
Lastly, relaxation is as important as business growth – which is why I take breaks frequently. This relaxes me and helps me re-orient myself. Travel has played a multidimensional role in making me the leader that I am today.