I just talked with my attorney who told me he had just returned from his first vacation in 8 years!  Like they used to say in the old Wolf Brand Chili commercials “that’s too long”!

It did start me thinking though about why vacations are important.   And it reminded me of a conversation I had with a fishing buddy on a recent trip.  We had gone to a beautiful part of the country to fish for trout for a few days.  My purpose in going was to clear my mind, relax, let go of the stress and tension of work and do something completely different for a few days.

My friend (who is also a business owner) told me before we left that he was really looking forward to our trip for essentially the same reasons.  So, imagine my surprise when, on the first morning, as we drove to the stream he spent half the time texting, reading emails and making phone calls to the office!

On the second day of the trip he found out he had lost a job he was bidding.  Then he had some personnel issues to deal with.  Pretty soon I could see that he wasn’t enjoying the fishing (which wasn’t that great either).  He was frustrated while I was reveling in the beauty that was all around me.

The whole situation reminded me of an epiphany I had a few years ago. 

I had taken my family on a trip to Paris.  Surrounded by the incredible sights, sounds and smells of that beautiful city I was nevertheless compelled to stop in at an internet café to check on my email.  Some hours later I suddenly realized that I had no idea where I was!  You see, my body was on vacation in Paris but my mind was working back home in Oklahoma City!

It was then that I realized that a real vacation means getting completely away from work including all forms of communication.

Since that time I’ve committed myself to taking several restful, rejuvenating periods away from work each year.  I turn my email off.  I don’t take calls.  I refuse to text.  I read only non business books.  It’s remarkable!  I enjoy myself.  I sleep better.  I really connect with my family.  I see and experience amazing things!

And, guess what?  When I return to work the place hasn’t fallen apart!  The business went right on without me.  My employees my confidence in them by performing just like I was there.

How about you?  Have you taken a real vacation lately?  No cell phone?  No email?  No texting? Well partner, “that’s too long!”

It’s summertime.  It’s vacation time.  Go!


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