Have you noticed that it’s summer? Many of your customers and especially co-workers are taking extended vacations, getting away to spectacular destinations you’ve always dreamed of and never visited while you grind away at the office regularly burning the midnight oil. Sure, you’re knocking off work early every other Wednesday to play twilight golf with a friend. Or maybe your summer schedule is to leave early every Friday to extend your weekend just a bit. That’s not really getting away though and won’t have you rested, refreshed, or recharged.
Well, this week it’s my turn. Along with my mother and her partner, my sister and her family, and my fiancée and my kids, I’m taking an Alaskan cruise. It’s a welcome break from my normal routines and a trip I’ve been waiting for all summer long. I’m not just thrilled about this once-in-a-lifetime journey dog-sledding and whale-watching with my family though. I get how important this trip is to get away to get back on track.
I’ve run half-marathons before, and I even accepted my first triathlon challenge last year. With some focused effort and disciplined training, both of these events were very doable for me. What wouldn’t be doable would be running back-to-back half-marathons or back-to-back triathlons without taking a break. Taking a break from the strenuous activity of the event. Simply taking a break from the rigorous routine of training for each event. In fact, I took 10 months off from swimming after the triathlon last September, and I still haven’t been back on a bike yet to prepare for the race that’s coming up!
So why do so many of us not get away like this to celebrate summer? Especially here in the US, many of our companies even have explicit policies about how their employees can only accrue so much paid time off or rollover X amount year over year because their employees typically do not take their much-needed and well-deserved vacations. If you ask me, that’s a clear sign of a bad leader supervising that employee and a general indicator for poor organizational performance long-term!
I simply don’t have the endurance to keep making hundreds of sales calls or facilitating leadership retreats, for example, effectively months on end without taking a break any more than I can run those back-to-back races straight through from one finish line to the next. More than that, getting away gives me new perspectives that I can never gain by grinding away at the office.
I relish this time away because it gives me a renewed sense of purpose as I reconnect with what is most important in my life, namely my family. I am tremendously thankful for this summer getaway because it gives me greater focus to get back on track with my strategic goals when I return. Personally, I lose sight of that finish line and my Northern Light when I grind away at the office for too long. Well this week, I will literally see that Northern Light again.
Even if you don’t have the money for a full vacation this summer, do yourself, your friends and family, and even your company all a favor and schedule a summer “stay-cation” before summer runs out. Turn off your computer, stop checking your email 24×7, and get away for a while. I promise you just sleeping in a little longer or gardening in the backyard will do wonders to get you back on track when you return. Do you like murder mysteries or trashy romance novels? Read a book. For many, painting or completing some home repairs is what they appreciate most with that extra time on their hands. You’re not doing anyone any favors by grinding away any longer, so get away now while you still can