I could have gone to a number of colleges in my neighborhood, but going abroad to seek education meant engaging with other societies, and I aimed to soak in every experience I could, as I did in my travels as a kid with my family, not knowing the impact it would have on my development into a global citizen.
What is a global citizen? There are varying definitions, but ultimately, it’s identifying as an individual who is a part of the world at large – appreciating the complex network of people, cultures, and geographies that make up the globe. Bill and Melinda Gates have launched an initiative which encourages individuals to become a global citizen. In a brief promotional video, Bill Gates says, “It’s important for the politicians to see the movement of people who care about the world at large and how we’re uplifting those people most in need. Without many millions of global citizens, these issues are going to be neglected and we won’t make the progress we need to.”
When you consider who Bill Gates is, and how his business – Microsoft – is fundamental part globalization in business, communication, and culture, his foundation’s focus of being a part of a global community brings his contributions to the world full-circle.
A contributor for Entrepreneur wrote an article that outlined nine reasons why traveling the world empowers entrepreneurs to succeed. I’ll let you read the article, but the reasons are as follows: it provides increased gratitude, an appreciation of currency, exposure to new cultures, improved communication, historical context, creative inspiration, views into new problems, prioritization of life, and fun.
As this article outlines, traveling changes you and your perspective in life and in business. It opens your eyes to new possibilities and challenges you to look beyond your comfort zone. While a family business may intend to stay in one geographic location, its suppliers, partnerships, online consumers, etc. will likely represent a number of areas across the country and globe. Because of globalization, your business exists beyond the Main Street of your community.
According to The Economic Times, “Family businesses, which were once run mostly on practice wisdom and solely by family members, have transformed to more professionally run organizations, and a multicultural exposure appears to be invaluable in being the genesis for reorientation in existing businesses.”
Becoming a global citizen not only benefits our family businesses, it helps us as individuals become more well-rounded and appreciative of the world around us.