“You are doing it all wrong.”
I was standing on the beach in Mykonos, Greece, chatting with a few locals we had met, when the conversation turned to vacation. It was August and most Europeans were enjoying the entire month on holiday. I was mesmerized upon discovering this approach to August for the first time. The entire month?!
Like most Americans I never managed to take the vacation time I received. In fact, only about 28% of Americans plan to max out their vacation days this year. A recent piece in The Economist says workers in the U.S. are doing it all wrong by taking short holidays — which can add even more stress — or taking none at all. Instead, it says, it’s important for employees to recharge their batteries for lengthier periods.
It’s important to understand the art of a mini-sabbatical. The seed was planted for me that day in Greece. Today I have adopted the European summer model. During August I organize the most expensive vacation of my life.
I actually consider this one of the most important investments I can make. It’s an investment in me.
The August offseason has become a sacred ritual, both personally and for our business. It gives me time to reflect, rejuvenate and get intentional about the direction of our work for the next 18 months.
Working on myself and the business (as opposed to just “in” the business) is how I ensure that I am building a business and life I love.
“You wake up one day at the top of the ladder only to realize it’s against the wrong wall.” —Paul Chek
The future I imagine is only going to happen if I am intentional about designing it. That’s part of what I will be spending my August doing.
I also know now that it’s important to pause the “doing” in favor of just being. It’s easy to stay distracted by doing. Our culture rewards achievement and teaches us to take pride in all the doing. We can keep busy in our actions and move from one thing to another, without pause for reflection or celebration. We can fill our minds with thoughts and stories that keep us doing more in the pursuit of external validation.
Connecting from the inside has helped me to understand value doesn’t come from proving or doing — it’s felt every time we see and accept and love who we are. That is enough.
In case I forget, here is my little self-reminder how to “just be” on this sabbatical.
That is enough. It always has been. It always will be.
I am off to Costa Rica. Wishing you a wonderful close to summertime.