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Note to Self: Enjoy the Little Things

When you’re focused on the road in front of you, it can be difficult to recognize how far you’ve come and the valuable lessons learned along the way. As the premium car rental brand for road warriors, National wants to help business travelers fuel their journey ahead. The ‘Note to Self’ articles feature stories of road warriors who’ve “made it,” as they share the advice they would give to their younger selves.

Do you remember playing outside with your friends as a little boy growing up in Germany? Not that much? I thought so. You were always quite goal-focused, even from a young age.

You’ve always lived for “what’s next”— the next goal, the next adventure, the next obstacle to tackle. And once you achieved that goal, you looked ahead to find another challenge to overcome.

Christoph Trappe in football uniform

That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it will serve you well in a variety of ways. You set a goal to become a journalist, and you did it. You’ll serve as director and vice president for several prolific marketing companies. You get the chance to do what you love for work every day. And spoiler alert: you will achieve your goal of playing college-level football in America.

Not bad for a little kid from Dusseldorf, Germany!

But try to remember, sometimes it’s not only okay to rest, relax and reflect; it’s vital. After all, you’re twelve! There are a lot of exciting things to do, see and feel. In fact, in your little corner of the world in Berlin in 1990, you’ll get to experience the American Bowl at the Olympiastadion. You’ll even get the chance to play a children’s league football game at the festivities. And after that, there will be fireworks, dancing and a big celebration before the pro game.

Before you head off to the big event, I encourage you to consider how you want to remember that day, that experience.

Do you want to remember sitting there, analyzing how you dropped that pass or how your teammate’s final pass sealed the fate of the game? Or do you want to remember the glitz, glamour and fanfare of the day?

Of course, it should be the latter. All of it is part of what attracted you to the game in the first place. After you play, instead of re-living every error or jumping mentally to what the next game will hold, take a moment to pause and enjoy the excitement and wonder around you. Wait in line for autographs. High-five the NFL players. Heck, just enjoy being a kid!

Personally and professionally, it’s important to occasionally shift from full speed ahead to cruise control. Your future job will take you all over the world, often to warm climates with beautiful architecture, fascinating people and lovely natural scenery. Don’t go straight back to your hotel room after a day of meetings. Walk, run or drive and soak in the scenery around you. Life is too short to spend every moment pushing forward. Take time to enjoy the present. Relax, rejuvenate and appreciate the fantastic people and places around you. Your soul – and your colleagues – will thank you.