The Importance of Taking Time Off
I recently got a notification on my LinkedIn, it was my three year work anniversary at Cave Social.
So in three years, what had been accomplished? We’ve grown our team, opened an office in South Florida, and things look bright for our future. It seems as if our heads haven’t come up since we started the agency. And it’s pretty accurate. For me personally, up until last month I had taken two weeks of vacation over the last three years. Both of those two weeks happened earlier this year. So for essentially 48 months, work was everything – I loved it.
Fast forward to June 2015.
I’m sitting at our partner offices in Vancouver, listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast, and his short episode on How to Earn Your Freedom, and something was triggered. The essays focus on the idea of long-term travel, becoming a student of daily life, not conforming to the standard one-week all-inclusive vacation and the power of vagabonding.
I knew I wanted to go to Asia, gain perspective on the world around us, and I knew it would get harder and harder to go as the business grew, so I booked a ticket to Bangkok for late September – it was official, I was completely detaching from work, and seeing what Southeast Asia had in store for me. I ended up bouncing around Thailand and Cambodia with two friends from university for five weeks.
I’m aware this is a business blog, but I wanted to give you guys some context before I hop into how taking time off helped me professionally, and how it may be beneficial to you.
So what the hell did this trip do for me in business, and my regular life?
I have no right to complain. I was born into a middle-class family in Vancouver, Canada where pretty much every opportunity was given to me to succeed, grow, become educated, etc. Seeing a young child eat off the street in Cambodia will open your eyes pretty quickly as to how lucky we in North America are. So when we lose a client or a talented employee leaves for a better opportunity, I won’t complain. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the end of the world. In the worst case scenario, I’ll go home and eat dinner, watch some Netflix, and have a comfy sleep in my bed – not a horrible time. So if something goes wrong at work, it’s important to be grateful for what you still have, instead of griping about the bump you just went over.
Realizing Everything Works Without You
30 minutes before boarding my flight from Atlanta to Seoul, I was scared shitless. I wrote this in my journal sitting in the terminal:
I actually was anxious for this trip. The unknowns are exciting. What will happen to cave? How will my time in Thailand be? How will it be to see McCloy and Paul? I hope to answer these in the coming pages.
For weeks leading up to the trip, I had been telling myself, “If the business doesn’t operate without you there, you never had a business to begin with.” But the business did operate, we actually picked up two new clients in my absence (maybe I should go away more often). This was me letting my ego go. It’s easy as an entrepreneur to try to hoard responsibilities, but it’s important to hand off certain responsibilities to team members as your business grows.
Reinforced Sense of Passion
Something really interesting was happening to me after about three weeks on the road. I missed work, like a lot. I was feigning it like an addict. I don’t want to say that this renewed my passion, because it was there before I left, but it definitely reinforced it.
Passion is spoken about a lot in podcasts, keynotes, blogs, etc., and it should be. It’s the thing that doesn’t keep you at the office for 60 hours a week, instead, it makes you want to be at the office for 60 hours a week.
The Lights Won’t All Be Green
If you’re waiting for all of the lights to be green before taking any action in your personal, business or love life, you’re going to miss out.
“To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee
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