In September 2011, my husband and I became “empty nesters” (at least for the university year), and it was time to take a break and do something we’ve always wanted to do. It was time for a two week vacation. So at the end of January, we took a cold (skiing) vacation, then a hot (Caribbean cruise) vacation and it was BLISS. As I reflected upon our vacation, I realized that some of the moments could translate into five workplace lessons from my vacation:
1. Being active is important. I spend a lot of time at my computer so a ski vacation was a shock to my system. Sadly, this picture tells the story! Anyone who spends hours hunched over a computer owes it to themself to get active. Schedule time and make fitness a priority. You experience life and work more fully when you are healthy.
2. Customer service (and good food is important). We stayed at a lovely inn near Le Massif. The service, room, view and food were exceptional. My husband went to the same place for a ski-break with our son a couple of years ago, and he wanted me to experience it. Great customer service and fabulous food results in repeat customers. The owner and staff at the small inn (Auberge La Courtepointe) made us feel like we were at a home-away-from-home even though neither of us spoke French.
3. Sometimes detours result in special moments and discoveries. While on a walk about in the Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, we spontaneously decided to stop at a local library. And to our delight we discovered historical artwork on the walls and ceiling. At work, how often are we on a rigid schedule with no deviation? We are so busy following the schedule and our To Do list that we don’t realize that innovation and discovery come from taking a detour or deviating from the schedule to give rise to creativity.
4. Overcome your fear and take a leap of faith. Even though I was scared, I held a stingray in my arms. What a powerful moment and I would have missed it, if I let my fear rule me. If we stand up to our fear, awesome things happen. If we speak up when we see something not quite right, great things happen. Don’t left fear stand in your way to building a fantastic life, career, relationship, or workplace.
5. Assumptions are barriers to understanding. One late afternoon, my husband and I found a quiet spot to read and watch the sunset. Not far from us was a lady who appeared to be talking to her self. What would you assume? Would you avoid that person? While I went to return our towels, my husband and this lady started to chat. She told him that her husband had always wanted to take her on a cruise but life was busy. He had passed away and she was on the ship taking the cruise that they didn’t take together. She said she was saying a prayer for her husband, and she asked my husband – “Do you think he knows I’m here (on the cruise)?” With of lump in his throat my husband replied, “Yes, I’m sure he does.” How often do we make assumptions about events and people that cause us to close our selves off? Being aware of our propensity to assume, allows us to open our self to moments of meaningful sharing and understanding. Don’t let preconceived assumptions rob you of these special moments.
There were many more wonderful moments during our vacation, but these were top of mind. When you take time for a vacation it benefits you and your workplace. Don’t assume that work will fall apart without you. Work will survive and you will come back a happier, healthier, and more productive person.
What lessons have you learned from your vacation?
Best regards, Joanne