Summer is coming soon! For many of us that means our annual trek to the beach, mountains, lake, etc., is right around the corner. I personally have been going to the North Carolina coast since 1990, when I became an official NC resident. We went there in the 90’s with young children, when building sandcastles and deep holes in the sand were the activities of choice. My wife stood guard with her hands on her hips, watching intensely as any (or all) of us ventured out into the ocean. To this day, I can picture her meaningful arm movements indicating that it was time to come to shore, NOW! As our kids got older, we were able to sit a bit more in our chairs, and now that our kids are grown adults with their own children, they have replaced us as builders on the beach. We have graduated to book reading with a purpose, and a certain serenity, I might add.
Oh, I almost forgot…during each of those stages, as a budding entrepreneurial leader, the decision always had to be made as to how much opportunity or desire there was to check in on the business during vacation. For all you fellow entrepreneurs reading this, I think you know exactly what I am saying!
When I started my first business in 1990, smart phones were nowhere on the radar yet and computers were not truly mainstream enough for me to always have one with me. Phone charge cards, you bet (anyone out there remember phone booths at airports besides me?)! Today, well it goes without saying that the signal strength on the beach is pretty darn good — 4 bars, sand and sunshine. Does it get any better?
Well, that’s where we are potentially at risk. As entrepreneurs and leaders, we think of ideas all the time; that’s what we do. When we get tired of something, we move onto something new and exciting. Our job is to think and create, and we can do that from just about anywhere; especially the beach or in the mountains or at the lake…but especially on vacation.
But if we work when we are on vacation, and we work when we are not on vacation, then when do we get some needed holiday time to simply enjoy life outside of our businesses? When do we truly recharge?
As I always admit, I am as guilty as any of you of being drawn to my iPhone, no matter where I am. But regardless of our discipline, tenacity and ability to multitask, we should strive to truly “be present when present on vacation.” For yourself and the others that are with you on your holiday. We need to recharge, and the best way to do that is to allow yourself to be completely away from business.
My challenge to each one of you: Assess last summer now. Look back at what you did on your vacation and write down what you want, and NEED, to do differently this summer. Then commit to the changes. I also challenge you to try real vacation days: an entire day without work (which includes the books you read…I am into a new series of books I never would have read before seeing the value of these recharge days; it also includes keeping your laptop shut and your iPhone at zero bars)!
I wish you the best this summer, and may your next vacation include true holiday time for you and your family, friends, etc.!