Leaders need “Happy Places.” These places are escapes for all of us.
In the movie Happy Gilmore, Adam Sandler plays a character named Happy. Happy is a hockey player turned professional golfer. Whenever things got tough on the course, Happy’s caddie “Chub” encouraged him to go to his happy place. It settled him down and he played better.
For me, my specific Happy Places are Ellijay, Georgia and Saint George Island, Florida, mountains, rivers, and beaches. Then again, any place with the ability to be waist deep in water with a fishing pole can be a Happy Place. When things get crazy, things get fast, and when the weight of burdens get too heavy to bear, I like to go to my happy places.
I had an opportunity to go to one of my happy places this past weekend. A weekend full of solitude allowed for these four reflections on the importance and the need for happy places in the life of a leader:
Leadership is not for the faint of heart. Great leaders pour themselves out completely…daily. While encouraging someone to run from their challenges won’t make many leadership books, escaping is necessary. Temporarily escaping that is! Escapees from confined institutions always make their way back!
Disappearing for a short time is a good thing. We need it sometimes. It allows us to temporarily shed the burdens of leadership, all of which will be waiting upon your return. A key part of this process of disconnecting is remembering one important thing. WE ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT. The worlds around us will continue to move forward, I promise.
Leaders who escape to happy places, return recharged.
My happy places are peaceful. Flowing water, spectacular sunsets, breathtaking views, rolling waves, and fires. Give me any combination of these and I will be at peace.
If we think about peace, there is freedom in it. Freedom from chaos, confusion, and conflict. Sometimes the world of leadership can feel like you are in a tense battle. Wrestling daily with the tensions of leading people, moving projects forward, and the next decision that awaits.
Leaders can find peace in their happy places.
Time is the most precious resource we have. We don’t get more of it, and it seems to move faster the further down the road we get.
The only place time seems to slow down for me is at my happy places. A three-day weekend can feel like an eternity when we are in our happy places.
Our leadership worlds spin fast. That is why it is ever so critical to find a way to slow down occasionally. When we slow down, we see the complicated clearer. There is simplicity in slow. We can see things from a different perspective.
Find a happy place, it slows a leader down.
Bob Buford wrote a really good book called Halftime. I read it about the time I turned thirty, which was when he wrote the book. He talks about the point in our life where we transition from success to significance. The point where it is not about the temporary accolades, but the meaningful moments. When we start making a difference.
Every happy place has a significance. It may have been an intentionally planned moment that created an everlasting memory. Maybe it was an Unexpected Moment that Created an Unforgettable Memory. Significance is found in the people who we love and care for most, our friends, family, and forever soul mates. Whatever the case, significance lies within our happy places.
As leaders, we need to experience significance for ourselves in order to create significance for others. Not just in the workplace, but in our personal worlds. Happy places lead to experiencing significance.
Leaders can find significance in our happy places.
Don’t get me wrong. Home is a happy place. Work is a happy place. Our communities are happy places. Sometimes, we must get outside of those places to be happier in them.
I had the opportunity to hear Jeff Henderson speak at a breakfast before I left for one of my happy places. His talk inspired me to read his book, FOR, while I was in my happy place. He covers four things that we should be FOR as leaders…FOR the customer, FOR the team, FOR the community, and FOR you. Under the heading of “FOR you” he says, “In order to breathe healthy life into the organization, you must ensure you’re breathing it in first.”
He also says, “healthy things grow.” As leaders, we must be healthy. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. Sometimes that requires us to escape to a happy place to discover peace, slow things down, and find significance. Where is your happy place? Have you been there lately?