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Leadership Thought #397 – Vacations Matter

August 13, 2012

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I’ve always felt that vacations should be mandatory.  Everyone needs some time away from their work to recharge and reflect.  There should be moments where it is about having fun and enjoying life without the constraints of the work week.  You never just want to narrowly define yourself by what you do for a living.  We are all so much more than that.

I am fortunate that I genuinely enjoy my work and the people I work with.  I do look forward to the weekends, especially the increased time with my children, but I am never bummed out on Monday mornings.  I even need some time away from work every now and then.   I find that when I am away for a bit, I appreciate what I have even more.  I’m also able to step away from the “busyness” of my typical week and think about things with a different perspective.  If you always have your head down moving forward, it is too easy to get stuck in a rut and/or operate on autopilot.

Work is only a part of life.  It is not the reason we live.  I’ve seen people give up decades of their life to their job taking minimal or no vacations.  Being a workaholic takes a toll on them and those around them.  I’ve had many conversations with people like this who finally reach a point where they wonder what happened and why their life has become so one dimensional.  Sadly, they have also usually adversely affected the important relationships in their life as a result (often beyond the point of repair).

Some of my happiest memories from childhood relate to family vacations.  I imagine many of you reading this feel the same way.  There is a certain level of family bonding which takes place when you are away together that is hard to duplicate in our typical daily routine.  Part of being a parent (and spouse) is creating experiences that our loved ones will cherish for a lifetime.  It’s one of the few things we do which is all about having fun with the important people in our lives.  Of course, we shouldn’t wait for vacations for this to happen, but it is one of the rare times where we have so much concentrated uninterrupted time together.

Vacations matter!  I hope you have taken or will be taking a nice vacation this summer.  Don’t try to squeeze in too much activity, but instead focus on downtime with the people you care about. Allow yourself the opportunity for spontaneous fun.  Work will be there when you get back…