Get Out Of Here
According to my dad, "tired brains make tired decisions."
As I write this I am 30,000 plus feet above the Rockies returning from a week away. Really away, not "check the Blackberry, iPad, talk to the team every hour" away. Away to a remote place, with new adventures, and sun and wind and water and sand and wine and food and pillows. A truly away place.
Sounds great, doesn't it? It was. Not just the place, but the outcome of being in the away place.
I left with a head full of problems. I am coming home with a head full of solutions and ideas. Good solutions that will work. New ideas. I can't wait to go to work.
Like you, when I left there were some neater-than-usual piles on my desk and on the server. I did the requisite frantic triage of what had to be dealt with or put into maintenance mode while I was away. I rationalized leaving a lot of things undone. I ran out of time. The world would have to survive for a week without me. I think the world barely noticed my absence.
We all know we should take time off to recharge. We know it, but we don't do it often enough. We make excuses. We make promises that remain just out of reach in the future. We overestimate our endurance. We ignore the signs of exhaustion. We let financial and egotistical greed— or worse yet, fear— take the rudder and steer us right back into the fray.
When I do take the time to really get away, I am always surprised by how much better I am at what I do after I stop doing it even for a short time. I notice this with my team as well.
You know how you have your best ideas in the shower? Well, a good vacation is like a long shower. Your mind wanders. You sleep and dream. You stare off into space and think about trees and birds and fish and espresso and oysters and beer...and then, poof! An idea appears. It is the idea you've been trying to find to the nagging problem you've not been able to solve for months.
And when this idea starts to take shape, you have the time as you are hiking, or sitting with an unfamiliar newspaper, or soaking in the hot tub, or running in a new park to let it proceed through mitosis. And it takes shape. And it gains form. And it develops a personality. You have time to name it and learn how it works. And it gets better and stronger, and it starts to feed you like an energy source.
It was always there, this idea. It was like a lot of the stuff on your desk, buried under the tyranny of the immediate just waiting for you to burrow down to it. Or better yet, make one big sweep across the top, throwing the clutter to the floor and letting the sun shine on your brilliance.
Solutions to nagging problems, ideas on new service offerings or products, the creative burst on how to market something, or simply how to approach the undiscussible conversation that has needed to occur for some time with an associate; it is rare that you truly don't know what to do. More often you simply aren't allowing yourself the breathing space and sufficient time to really think and look at things from a fresh perspective.
And as long as the chaos that is most offices and the constant vacuum that is most management jobs is draining your every moment, you won't find the time to rest, think, dream, energize and regain your mojo.
So, get out of here. Use that vacation time and really vacate the premises. Get away. Go. Run. Breath. Sleep. Eat. Sit. Watch. Dream. Wonder. Talk. Listen. Read. Pray. Do whatever you do that makes you whole again.
Let go of your corporate martyr complex. Nobody is impressed. Martyrs are boring. They live the lives no one really wants to live. Go live the life you want to live and bring life back to your work. Please.
Rest assured; the you that walks back into the office is a much better version of you than the one that walked out a week earlier.
And the real test: If you are truly a leader, send this to your direct reports and your boss and then go ask them when they are going on vacation...what's good for you is good for the team, and great for the company!
Have a great vacation. You’ve earned it!