Summer holidays are wonderful times to reflect, reframe, refocus and re-energise in order to be our best performing self for the rest of the year and onwards.
Here are 10 performance boosting lessons which I think are great take-aways from holiday time-out;
Dipping your toe in causes hesitation
Have you ever noticed that you or those around you have a little habit of dipping a toe in the pool water before you get in? Just like with our projects, conversations, new ventures etc. if we just dip our toes in it’s a great start but it gives way to hesitation and can even send us in to retreat. Now, treading carefully is good, caution does no harm, but we all know that when we eventually get into those cold swimming pools we suddenly find it’s not as bad as we thought. In fact it’s actually much warmer and quite comfortable once we get submerged!
Lesson one – Keep going and push through any hesitation no matter how cold things feel initially when you start. Lead yourself to push through the fear and you’ll eventually feel more comfortable.
Try before you say you don’t like something
These words have been on repeat all holiday to my children. Introducing them to foreign tastes, new activities such as kayaking and persuading them to visit yet another castle has often been met with ‘but I don’t like it’ or ‘I won’t like it’. It’s not just children who jump to these responses. All too often we all get caught out by our limiting beliefs and existing habits which stop us from trying new things. We put up barriers. But with every bite of a new French cheese and now memories of cruising along the river with a smile, my children (and me ‘I hate water!)’ have broken down our barriers and built confidence in things we thought we couldn’t do and didn’t like.
Lesson two – If you don’t try you’ll never expand your repertoire and build your confidence. Fear does not go away until you lead yourself to give something a go.
Mindfulness not mindlessness
Whether you are on an action packed adventure holiday or just crashing by a pool there will be moments during any holiday when you feel peace, calm and tranquillity and started to ‘breathe’ properly. As we release tension on our holidays we often adopt the art of mindfulness without realising it. We zone out, focus on the moment and find our mind and body nourished by the benefit of physically and mentally slowing down.
Lesson three – Silence, breathing and space will help release tension and slow us down, allowing us to lead ourselves to mindfully tread through the week ahead rather than mindlessly.
Even the slightest change cannot be underestimated
No matter the size of change it can cause mayhem with our emotions and our mind. We had to move between gites during our 2-week French escape and when it happened there was a noticeable shift in our emotions. We felt out of sorts, phased and unsettled. We were still in the same vineyard, still had the same pool and were only opposite the original gite. Yes, we had new neighbours as well as a new place to rest our heads, but this change although only slight meant we’d lost our routine, our bearings and our rhythm. Our emotions went into override – Anxiety – was this place going to be as comfortable as the other gite?, frustration – why didn’t we just push for staying where we were when we booked? and sadness – at the loss of something we’d started to feel at home in.
Lesson four – Even the smallest change can have a negative impact. Planning, acknowledging feelings and engaging the leader within to self-correct the negative thoughts with positive thoughts, are some key things to remember when managing even the slightest change.
Be curious – turn off the sat nav and the smart phone whenever you can
We have become very reliant on technology and it’s impacting on how adventurous and how much we experience for ourselves. On holidays sat navs and smartphones but they are another way we quash our ability to just go with the flow and be curious. Being led to the right place and in the quickest time is is great but what could we be missing? What’s more, when we get to our destination we’ve already immersed ourselves through reviews and websites that we don’t allow ourselves the luxury of exploring for ourselves and experiencing the unknown. Not being able to step away from being led by technology allows others to lead us and who is to say their route or their opinion is the right one for you? Yes, you may get lost or take a little longer to get to your final destination but along the way, you will grow and feel richer.
Lesson five: Curiosity is a key foundation for great leadership, for idea generation, for teamwork and for personal effectiveness. The more we can encourage and release our curious nature the greater our personal growth and ultimate successes.
Happiness is healthy
Vacation time makes us happy. With every laugh, giggle and burst of adrenalin we boost our happiness levels. Being happy has been scientifically proven to improve the health of our heart, lower our blood pressure and boost our immune system. Throughout holidays we create constant happiness by doing more of the things we love, spending time with the people we want and experiencing more of what we enjoy. We don’t accept boredom and misery when on holiday. During holidays we always seek out ways to correct the mundane, we look for ways to avoid repeating poor experiences and we prioritise our happiness.
Lesson six – Don’t limit happiness to holidays and lead yourself to make it a key component, a personal success criteria and uncompromising part of every day.
You are nicer when you are on holiday!
It starts to come with the sun, through the enjoyment of great food and the relaxing atmosphere but mostly it comes from the release of tension and the elimination of our stress and pressure. Simply put we’re all better people to be around when we are on our holidays! We’re better company because we smile more, we ooze more positivity, we snap less, we talk about more interesting things, we’re more approachable, we have more patience and acceptance and we find less fault in others. Being nicer results in positive wellbeing and energises us. It has a ripple effect too.
Lesson seven – Leading ourselves to manage stress and pressure more effectively is not just important for our health and our output, but also for our social connections and interactions.
Remember why you go to work every day
Holidays are a reward for hard work and effort. Time off, whether big or small, is a welcome reminder of the life we are working to create and working hard to enjoy. It’s also the time when we often suddenly find a light shining on an imbalance and we realise that we don’t enjoy enough of our life and the energy which that brings.
Lesson eight – Don’t just promise yourself to find greater work-life balance after your holiday but actively inspire and influence yourself to achieve greater balance for greater energy, focus and daily reward.
We need R&R – no compromise
This year’s holiday for me has been pottering around French towns with the odd burst of activeness. This is a total comparison to last year which was a non- stop roller coaster 2 weeks of Florida adventures and mayhem. But both holidays resulted in one key thing – rest, relaxation and greater energy. Switching off and engaging in new activities, new surroundings, being with friends and family, no matter how busy you are whilst doing it, will leave you in an amazingly effective and inspired state to be your best when you return to work.
Lesson nine – Don’t leave ‘Rest & Relaxation’ to holidays – lead yourself to build more self-care and time out into every week of the year. Ensure you can unplug and re-energise more often.
The world of work survives without us!
It’s not just because you left fantastic hand over notes, had projects at a great point or no issues arose whilst you were away. The fact is that our work can survive and keep ticking when we take time out. That doesn’t make us dispensable or that we’ve put unnecessary pressure on others, it’s simply a fact of life and example of how resourceful and effective others are at managing our absence when they have to.
Lesson ten. Accept the world of work still turns effectively without you and don’t let the fear of absence prevent you from enjoying and planning downtime.
If during the summer break you have found yourself reflecting and reviewing your career, productivity, balance and decisions why not get in touch to find out how coaching can help you deliver more clarity, create plans and take action. Book a FREE coaching discovery call today here