I write this on a plane headed to California for an 8-day vacation. Feeling equal parts excited and anxious – excited for all the obvious reasons like looking forward to rest and relaxation, time with my beloved family, golf, exercise, and mostly, stepping off the treadmill that is my everyday life for just a bit – but also anxious because I don’t allow myself to step out of my role as CEO (“Chief Everything Officer”) easily.
It is my long-held belief that my world (actually, the whole world, if I’m being honest) spins only because I make it do so. To be sure, I do play a vital role in both my professional and personal lives. I work double duty at Diamond Consultants – recruiter for financial advisors and leader of the business – and I know that my vision, leadership and skills make me a pretty essential character. And plenty of people rely on me as wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister and friend.
I need not kid myself though; my business and my family and friends will do just fine in my absence.
In fact, here’s what I’ve come to learn about time off over the years:
- Taking a break every once in a while is the healthiest thing I can do for myself. It brings balance back to my always busy life, allows me to replenish, and actually fosters a sense of creativity, passion, joy and commitment: Meaning I return to my everyday life feeling more fulfilled, rejuvenated and ready to take on bigger and better things.
- The time I take to replenish allows those who support me to step up to the plate: To shine, thrive, figure things out and be leaders. They can revel in the opportunity to grow, create and become more self-reliant, which in turn gives them a greater sense of purpose and confidence.
- Pressing “PAUSE” means that the universe continues to do its thing whether I’m manning mission control or not. Things unfold as they are meant to. In fact, when I let go, things often have a way of turning out better than I could have planned.
Vacations, mental health days – any time away from one’s regular routine – are about exposing the myth that WE are in control. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am constantly reminded that I can play my part, do my best and make good choices, but the outcome is not really up to me. At the end of the day, whether I close that deal, hit a hole-in-one or win the lottery is a function of a power much greater than the role I play at work or in life.
Sure, I know how to make the right connections and negotiate the best terms so that a financial advisor who wants to move to a new firm has the greatest chance of doing so. I also continue to work on my golf game in order to come even close to having that little white ball land on the green, and I have to buy the lottery ticket in order to stand the slightest chance of winning. Those things are all I can do – my very best in any situation – then I must detach from the outcome. The reality is that in the end, things are going to work out as they were meant to, no matter whether I’ve hit “PAUSE” or I’m in “GO” mode.
With summer almost upon us, I think it’s a great time to unplug, even if only for a day. I have always done my best thinking in the shower and I believe verily that it’s because I am not thinking about work then: It’s generally early in the morning and my mind has not yet revved itself to full speed. In the quiet, I give my brain the space it needs to wander. Invariably, that wandering leads to a creative idea that I am certain I wouldn’t have had at a busier time. If one creative spark can be born in the span of a 10 to 15-minute shower, just think what’s possible in the span of a week away?
So give yourself the chance to hit the PAUSE button. The world promises to continue to spin in your absence. And if it doesn’t, there’s nothing you could have done to change it anyhow.
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