My wife and I recently traveled to Georgia for an awards banquet hosted by one of Allied Equipment’s best customers. The trip turned out to be a much needed escape. I learned why escaping from your normal life is a critical and essential step for leaders.
I had been working for nine months straight without a full day of vacation. During this time, the company had grown significantly. I had built a new team, taken on new responsibilities, sold our home, built a new one, and all the while had a 2-year old running around. I didn’t know it, but I was stressed out.
The body can only take so much stress before it starts to break down. Like a stick that is being bent over someone’s leg, it begins to bow, and then splinter, until finally, it is snapped in two. Your mind and body react similarly to stress.
In order to prevent burn out and revitalize your results, you must escape.
- Get Far Away – We have a ranch that is three hours from home. One of my father’s favorite things about the ranch is that if you’d forgotten to do something or were worried about something at the office, you were too far away to do anything about it. Travel far enough away that the travel is just a big enough hassle to keep you from going home too early.
- Take A Book – With laptops and clouds, work is always with you. I frequently try to use any and all free time to accomplish something. I’m always producing. But on an escape, the goal is to accomplish a full system reset. Opt for a fiction novel and leave your work and hobbies behind.
- Sleep – A full night’s rest is hard for everyone. Resist the urge to fill your schedule with things to do. Plan only three or four things and leave plenty of time in between for a full night’s rest and at least one power nap a day. When you head home, your body and mind will be fully rested.
- Turn off – Social networks, laptops, smartphones, and televisions keep you plugged into the fast-paced world. Instead, opt for a walk through the woods, a peaceful moment on the beach, or just a quiet game of checkers in the lobby. It is amazing how much mental capacity technology requires. Try going back in time to a “simpler” time when technology wasn’t at your beck and call.
- Reflect – This is a safe time to reflect on the last several months. Take a physical inventory of where you are, where you wanted to be, and where you’re going in the future. This is a safe time for an in-depth reflection. But remember, you’re too far away to do anything about most of the things that will pop in your head, so write them down to be processed later.
Setting the reset button in life works just as well for clearing up minor problems as it does with an iPhone. Learn to use escapes as a way to relax, reflect, and refresh. Resist the urge to do too much and you’ll come home ready to do more than ever.
Where is your favorite place to escape to?