Best Train Trips To Take Across America

There is no great way to see America than by train. There are endless possibilities for fantastic train trips from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best train trips that America offers.

The first train trip on our list is the California Zephyr. This journey takes passengers from Emeryville, CA, to Chicago, IL. The best part of this trip is that you get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in America. You will pass through the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, giving you stunning views along the way.

Another excellent train trip is the Amtrak Coast Starlight route. This route starts in Seattle, WA, and ends in Los Angeles, CA. Along the way, you will travel through Oregon and California, taking in amazing coastal views. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins swimming near the shoreline!

If you’re looking for a train trip that covers a lot of ground, the Amtrak Texas Eagle is a great option. This route starts in San Antonio, TX, and ends in Chicago, IL. You will travel through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois on this journey, taking in everything from rolling hills to big city skylines.

The Rocky Mountaineer. This trip takes passengers through the Canadian Rockies, giving them stunning views of snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes. The trip starts in Vancouver, BC, and ends in Calgary, AB. If you’re looking for an unforgettable rail journey through some of North America’s most beautiful scenery, the Rocky Mountaineer is the trip for you!

America’s Great National Parks are best seen by train!

Take a train journey on the Grand Canyon and travel back in time to the days of the Wild West. This route starts at Williams, AZ, and ends at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You will pass through forests, canyons, and river valleys on your way to one of America’s most iconic landmarks.

Colorado Rail Experience takes passengers on a journey through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This route starts in Denver, CO, and ends in Winter Park, CO. You will travel over mountains and through valleys, taking in some of the most beautiful scenery that Colorado has to offer.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is the perfect way to explore California’s wine country. This route starts in Napa, CA, and ends in Calistoga, CA. You will travel through lush vineyards and picturesque towns, sampling some of the best wines that California has to offer.

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

Most Important Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

You need to have certain characteristics to be successful in entrepreneurship. It is not enough to simply have an idea for a business and put all of your eggs into that basket. You need to be determined, passionate, and resilient if you want to make it in the world of entrepreneurship. We will discuss the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs.

Determination

One of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur is determination. You need to be willing to work hard and put in the effort if you want your business to succeed. This means that you cannot give up easily, no matter how difficult things get. When times are tough, you need to push through and continue working on your business.

Passion

Another key characteristic of entrepreneurs is passion. You need to love what you do if you want to succeed in this field. If you are not passionate about your business, it will be very difficult to stick with it during tough times. Passion keeps you motivated when things get tough and help you stay focused on your goals.

Resilience

To be a successful entrepreneur, you also need to be resilient. This means that you cannot let failure get in the way of your success. When things don’t go as planned, you need to pick yourself up and continue moving forward.

Adaptability

In the world of entrepreneurship, things are always changing. You need to adapt to these changes if you want your business to succeed. This means being flexible and willing to make changes when necessary. If you are not able to adapt, your business will likely fail.

Decisiveness

As an entrepreneur, you will need to make a lot of decisions. This can be difficult if you are not decisive. You need to make decisions quickly and confidently to stay ahead of the competition. If you are indecisive, your business will likely suffer as a result.

Risk Tolerance

To be successful in the world of entrepreneurship, you need to be willing to take risks. This means being comfortable with uncertainty and not being afraid to venture into unknown territory. If you do not risk-tolerant, your business will likely never get off the ground.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the most important characteristics of entrepreneurs. If you want to succeed in this field, you must have these qualities. Make sure that you develop these traits if you are thinking about starting.      

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

Matt Walker Kansas: Entrepreneur

Matt Walker believes in the idea of controlling one’s own financial destiny. Through his entrepreneurship, he has employed this concept and works diligently to pass it on to his clients. Based in Kansas City, Kansas, Matt works as the CEO and owner of Absolute Retirement Solutions. 

Matt Walker Kansas

Matt Walker’s career began at Legacy Financial Group, where he served as an advisor and manager. While there he began laying the foundation for what has become his immense knowledge and passion for offering financial guidance. Simultaneously, Matt was in charge of leading a group of other retirement professionals. After five years with Legacy Financial Group, Matt Walker decided it was time to start his own venture. In the years that followed he successfully built and sold a number of retirement services companies.

Now, with 16 years of experience in the financial industry, Matt has created an insurance and retirement business that helps his clients to achieve financial independence, while also providing his employees with rewarding professional development opportunities. Matt’s mission is to build projects and systems that benefit the lives of everyone around him, and by harnessing his entrepreneurial spirit he is able to do so. 

Most recently, Matt Walker had grown frustrated with the available software necessary for his businesses. His response to that frustration was to create his own client management system. With the assistance of a coder, he redesigned the programs to be more effective for financial professionals like himself. While originally, the software was designed for his own offices to use, it soon got noticed by others. The client management software provides marketing materials, producer training, and sales scripts. Matt quickly realized how much difference the program could make in the financial industry and decided it was too useful to keep it strictly in-house.

Matt Walker has an innate ability to recognize problem areas in the market and find solutions to fix them. As the world pushes further into the era of technology, it is Matt’s hope that his new software will allow small firms to gain the ability to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the market. 

Never one to stop working and creating, Matt continues to turn his concepts into successful projects within the retirement and insurance industry.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Insurance and annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company.

Our Interview With Matt Walker

Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?

Matt Walker: I enthusiastically seek, find, share, and enjoy all that is good.

Question:  Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.

Matt Walker: Success is moving from one failure to the next with enthusiasm.

Question:  What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Matt Walker: family

Question:  What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?

Matt Walker: Trying to organize everything.

Question:  Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.

Matt Walker: Advisorbranch CRM

Question:  What is your favorite hobby and why?

Matt Walker: Raising lizards – they are so cool and like mini dinosaurs.

Question: What excited you the most about your industry right now?

Matt Walker: Technology making our industry easier.

Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?

Matt Walker: Regulatory unclarity.

Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?

Matt Walker: Creating new businesses.

Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.

Matt Walker: Always being optimistic.

Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?

Matt Walker: Book of Mormon.

Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?

Matt Walker:A whole day with my wife.

Originally published on SurprisinglyFree.com.

Improve Your Remote Team’s Communication

The world has moved from brick-and-mortar shared workplaces to remote virtual offices in the past few years. Companies and businesses are rushing to build communications networks to communicate effectively with their teams. The challenge comes in for companies that have never set foundations for remote working before. With the office changes coming with new challenges, here are ways to improve remote team communication.

Offer Leeway

Companies must recognize that working from home is a new system, and someone is bound to make mistakes. The learning process will take time, especially for teams that generally don’t work with IT and are not tech-savvy. The process needs a mini-goal system with incentives to motivate employees to understand the system. Assurance during the transition period also helps employees feel comfortable enough to ask how the system works and might even offer ways to improve it.

Encourage Human Interaction

Working remotely for many organizations is mechanical, where the employees log in the morning, do their assigned tasks before logging off. The lack of human interaction can fester a spirit of competition since colleagues do not communicate to encourage each other. Help employees stay connected while apart by opening forums where they can talk to each other. Tensions during deadline projects can also lessen, creating a healthy working environment.

Video Meetings

Although various meetings are held efficiently through emails, a few video meetings help employees’ emotional and mental state. Physically apart, they feel more than a number for the company when human interaction is encouraged. Their mental health is also protected as they connect a face to the email and voice, improving the team’s communication networks.

Encourage Non-work Communication

Office communication during work hours should not be just about work; sometimes there’s a need to have personal level communication. Encourage remote team communication on everyday matters touching on their lives. If possible, develop safe places in specifically built apps where they can talk without any consequences.

Invest in Messaging Tools

Emails, no matter how informal the message sent is, always seem formal and professional. Asking questions becomes burdensome to everyone as they have to appear professional even on minor issues, wasting time and energy. Messaging tools help the team communicate better and easier, especially on urgent matters. The addition of other communication channels ensures that the team feels they have more freedom to speak.

This article was originally posted on Matt Walker’s blog.

Tips for Making Holiday Travel Easier

Wherever you are this holiday season, don’t let the people in the world get in your way. Despite the fact that the number of people traveling this holiday season may be less than in other years, many airports are still busy. Even though fewer people are flying, airlines are still consolidating their flights to make them more efficient.

With so many people flying during the holiday season, it can quickly become a stressful time of the year. It’s not uncommon to get stuck in a long line at an airport due to the holiday season. But, in addition to all that, flying for the holidays can be a stressful experience for anyone. Instead of going through the airport’s bag fees, why not just relax and enjoy the freedom of an airport lounge?

  1. Research

Plan an alternative route if traffic gets too heavy. If it’s a scenic drive, consider taking a shorter trip. Before you fly, make sure to check the airline’s policies on bags and fees.

  1. Use An Appropriate Credit Card

It’s not too late to get the right credit card for your upcoming holiday travel purchases. Some credit cards can help you avoid bag fees and earn elite status faster. Some can also give you credits to use inflight for snacks and internet use.

  1. Pack Lightly

If possible, avoid checking bags altogether. It saves you time and stress, and it’ll prevent you from having to wait for your luggage to be loaded. Make sure that all of your important documents and medications are in your luggage. Also, check that your clothes and accessories are in order when you check your luggage.

  1. Consider Shipping Luggage

While it may seem counter-intuitive to check your bags when shipping, it can be a smart move to save money and avoid paying oversized fees. You can shop for shipping for your items from LugLess, a site that lets you save money on shipping costs. It’s also a good idea to allow extra time to prepare for your holiday season’s shipping delays.

  1. Travel During Off-Peak Days

Planning your trip right before or after a holiday can ensure you pay the most for travel and get stuck in the longest lines. If you travel during off-peak days, especially around holidays, you will be able to avoid the masses.

  1. Expect The Unexpected

Your travel plans will rarely go perfectly as expected. Always plan for something messing with your plans. This can mean leaving early for flights or long drives. It can also mean having a backup plan if flights get canceled or weather patterns change.

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

Learning From Hard Conversations

Most people avoid hard conversations with other people. Many don’t want to feel like the bad guy about saying something to someone or delivering bad news. Others just don’t want the stress and discomfort that comes with such interpersonal circumstances.

Avoiding such conversations can cost organizations dearly. Research has looked into this, and the average avoided conversation winds up costing establishments over $7,000. Interestingly, difficult conversations can open the doors to self-development.

It’s better to address things early than let them fester into something bad. Recognizing when to suspend your ego and step in is a sign of tremendous maturity. It means seriously improving your personal and professional skills at the same time. While it might feel awkward at first, it can also mean gaining a lot of respect from your peers.

While some hard conversations need to happen sooner rather than later, it’s still very useful to put in some practice first. Even a token amount of preparation can do wonders for the eventual chat. Prepared scripts can feel inauthentic and even make the situation worse if the other party is offended. What’s better is preparing a list of good questions to ask them so they feel heard and understood.

One danger of hard conversations is how they turn into games of shame and blame. You need to look past what someone might say on the surface and try to understand where they’re really coming from. See past the surface behavior, and try to grasp their actual intentions.

Find teachable moments. Just because a colleague or employee isn’t acting in alignment with organizational values doesn’t mean they can’t be shown the light. It might take time for them to really get it, but they might if given the chance.

Compassion and co-creative solutions go a long way in resolving pain points or issues of conflict between people. As much as you might not want to have a hard conversation with someone, they probably aren’t looking forward to it either. Be proactive and find a way out of these tensions together. You can both come out stronger people but also hopefully have a stronger interpersonal understanding and working relationship on top of that.

Hard conversations might seem like something to run from, but they’re also something that you can grow from.   

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

Top Museums on the East Coast

One of the top-rated travel ideas is traveling along the coastline of either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean. One of the best times to travel along the East Coast is during the months of autumn. The various landmarks offer a wide range of scenery and opportunities to enjoy the fall foliage. A trip along the East Coast is also a great way to explore various towns and cities that are located along the way.

Two popular destinations along the East Coast are New York City and Washington D.C. The cities offer a wide range of dining, shopping, and lodging options for people tripping and exploring. These two cities are also the homes of some of the top museums on the East Coast. There are several museums located throughout New York City. Two of the best, and biggest, ones are The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of National History. Washington D.C. is also homes to several noteworthy museums including The Smithsonian National Postal Museum and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

To read the rest of this article please visit Matt Walker of Kansas’ blog.

Improving Your Networking Skills

Networking is one of the most essential skills that an entrepreneur can have. Good networkers can more easily grow their business and create important connections that will allow them to improve the stability of their company in the future. However, networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so here are some tips for anyone looking to improve their professional skill set.

Form Lasting Connections

Investing in deep, robust connections with a few people is better than having a long contact list of people you barely remember. People are more likely to want to assist you and invest in your future if you build genuine connections with them. Try not talking about business at all during the first conversation; actively listen to them without being distracted or trying to interrupt, and then ask questions about what they’ve told you. Always remember to follow up with people after meeting them, as well; saying you enjoyed meeting someone and remembering them goes a long way towards building a relationship.

Use Your Resources

Utilizing social media ahead of events in order to help you figure out who you want to meet and some basic facts about their background can go a long way towards setting you up for networking success. Having a goal in mind and the resources to execute it makes it less likely that you will be distracted by people you may already know or the general festivities. You can also use social media to keep up with people you’ve already met if you’re unable to meet with them in person or are busy.

Be a Superconnector

One of the most valuable things that you can do for someone else is to help them connect with others who can solve their problems. Taking the time to get to know people and work with them can allow you to successfully introduce them to others who can help them achieve their goals. Part of creating stable business connections is making the relationship a two-way street and ensuring that you also provide value to the people you connect with.

Networking primarily relies on building your social skills and creating a mutually beneficial relationship with people in your industry. Being good at it can allow you to take your business to new heights and make lifelong friends along the way.

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

Hiking Trails to Visit in the U.S.

Hiking is an incredible way to experience the beauty of nature while getting some great exercise. Fortunately, there are many gorgeous trails to visit in the United States that can help you appreciate the majesty of locations you visit. If you’re interested in embarking on a hike in the future, consider one of these amazing trails.

Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park

The Appalachian Trail is a 101-mile long hike through the wilderness, which can be experienced in short sections if you’re looking for a day trip. The 200,000 acres of the park offer gorgeous views of wildlife and undeveloped forests; an incredible place to explore and take in nature’s many wonders.

Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park

If you’re looking for a challenge, consider the Harding Icefield Trail. Eight miles long and gathering 1,000 feet of elevation each mile this journey is strenuous but well worth the effort for those prepared. The trail will take you past glaciers, through forests and alpine meadows, all while providing incredible views of the Harding Icefield. It is a truly wonderful experience for anyone looking to see some unique vistas.

Kalalau Trailhead, Kauai, Hawaii

Part of a much longer trail, taking this shorter hike from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapiai Valley allows you to see fantastic waterfalls and experience the stunning views provided by the Na Pali coast while still returning to the beach in time to catch the sunset or go snorkeling.

South Rim Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is a spectacular sight to behold from any vantage, and the park containing it offers opportunities for hikers of many skill levels to experience its majesty. The South Rim Trail is a relatively relaxed hike, but for those with advanced skills, a rim-to-rim trail is also available. Make sure to bring plenty of water, especially in the spring and summer, when Arizona can get exceptionally hot.

Mah Daah Hey Trail, North Dakota

This 144-mile trail offers an amazing opportunity to experience the wild and undisturbed prairies of North Dakota. Bighorn sheep, bison, and wild horses roam throughout the area, providing many chances to see unique wildlife and observe the beauty of the midwestern plains.

This article was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

4 Ways to Develop Strong Business Relationships

What’s the difference between good and bad business relationships? Good relationships are built on mutual trust, honesty, and respect. Bad ones are built on deceit, backstabbing, and dishonesty.

The following are 4 ways to develop strong business relationships:

  1. Understand Your Audience’s Needs and Goals

Every company and brand has a target audience. It is the job of everyone involved in marketing and sales, from business executives to marketing and salespeople, to ensure that what they are communicating to their target audience is on par with their expectations.

  1. Communicate Ideas Clearly

The most important thing that every employee needs are to communicate their ideas well with others. This is usually done in meetings, but not everyone is good at communicating their ideas through unambiguous words and the ability to paint a good picture through metaphors, analogies, and stories.

  1. Seek Opportunities for Partnership and Collaboration

Leveraging the power of business networking and skill at using social media has made it easier for businesses to communicate with their audiences. However, it is important for businesses to have a defined strategy and know how to leverage the power of network meetings and social media to build partnerships and collaborate on projects.

  1. Break the Ice with Small Talk at Meetings

Small talk is a tough skill to master, especially in business. The most common mistake that people make when trying to break the ice with small talk is talking about themselves.

The best way to break the ice with small talk is by talking about others and getting their opinion on something. This will make people feel more comfortable and not as awkward.

It’s always difficult to get started with small talk during a meeting because it’s rarely clear to know how other people are going to react, but the longer people wait to get to know each other, the more awkward it can become for everyone involved.

Conclusion

There are many reasons people avoid communicating well. It’s hard to strike the right balance between giving and receiving feedback or simply not having enough time. However, mastering communication skills is essential in building strong business relationships.

This blog was originally published on Matt Walker’s blog.

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