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Leaders Should Vacation Well

Leaders should vacation well.  I regularly write about a group I am in with some leaders in our local community.  In one of our discussions over lunch, we talked about this concept that leaders should vacation well.  We work hard to perform well in our career, but do we apply the same effort to vacation well? 

Our work worlds move fast.  We run ourselves in the ground to a point where we desire and look forward to a vacation.  In those moments, the upcoming vacation can never get here soon enough.    

The intent of this blog is to help leaders make the turn from ordinary to extraordinary.  If a post can help just one person better others and the world they live in, mission accomplished.  Let me share a little secret with you though.  I write these for myself too!  If I speak it or write it, it helps me hold myself accountable.  None of us want to appear as hypocrites.  I certainly do not.

I write this post from St. George Island, Florida this week, our go to family vacation spot.  Let’s dive into seven things we can do as leaders to vacation well:    

Leaders Should Vacation Well
My View This Week

I Am Not That Important

This may be a news flash to some of you.  It may hurt your ego too, but here it is.  Repeat after me, “I am not that important.”  Say it as many times as it takes for that to sink in.  Coming to grips with this is a good first step in vacationing well. 

We like to view ourselves as way more important than we are.  Here is the reality.  Someone will sit in your seat one day at work.  You will not live forever, much less serve in that position forever.  That should be a humbling reminder for all of us to be present and enjoy vacation. 

Develop, Retain, and Recruit Good People

A great strategy in vacationing well is to develop, retain, and recruit well at work.  If you invest in good people, there is less to worry about while you are vacationing.  Don’t get me wrong, there are catastrophic things that happen that could significantly impact your vacation.  Even when things go wrong, having the right people on your team makes every bit of difference. 

Create Memories

Shannon and I have always prioritized experiences with our kids.  All the gifts that we have given have a limited usable life.  Many end up in the trash or donated in our household.  Experiences that create memories are timeless.  They literally last a lifetime and never fade.   

Vacations are a way to create memorable experiences.  From expensive beach trips to inexpensive camping trips, the memories you take away are priceless. 

Limit Decisions

As a leader, you make decisions, lots of them.  Leaders can suffer from decision fatigue.  This condition wears even the best leader down.

For me, I roll my beach fishing cart out at the break of dawn.  I sit my butt on the beach and really do not do much more than fish, listen to or read a book, and just chill.  No real big decisions to be made there!  In a complicated world, it is nice to be able to limit decisions.    

Be Still

Anytime we go on vacation, the hardest thing for me to do is slow down and be still.  It takes me about one whole day to get to this point.  A good, long nap the first day usually helps gets me there! 

Being still slows things down.  Time tends to pass more slowly. It is amazing how much longer the day seems when you are on vacation.  The fog of busyness lifts and you can see clearly and reflect.  All good things! 

Be Unproductive

High performing leaders can struggle when they are not productive.  The one place you should be as unproductive as possible is vacation.  Go ahead, you have full permission for the first time in your life to be unproductive at something.  Slack off, be lazy, and do not set out to complete any tasks.  It feels great! 

Spend Time With Those That Will Cry At Your Funeral

You have probably heard it said before, but we should always spend time with those who will cry at our funerals.  That is a sobering, yet effective reminder that we should vacation well with those that matter most.  In my world, that is my wife Shannon, my daughter Ashtyn, and my son Grant.  Who are those people in your world?     

Conclusion – Leaders Should Vacation Well

We are on day two of being at the beach and having a great time.  So far, I beat the GPS by twelve minutes, finished Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin on audio book, ate at our favorite pizza place, and caught fish!  I hope that in the future when you vacation, this message helps you.

For now the beach awaits, and remember, leaders should vacation well!

Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection

Got a vacation planned?  Get one on the books!  Do you realize that you are not that important?  Have you developed, retained, and recruited the right people so you can vacation well?  Are you still, unproductive, and limiting your decisions when you vacation?  Are you spending time with those that will cry at your funeral and making lifetime memories with them? 

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