How to Make Your Vacation Your Biggest Professional Accomplishment for the Next 12 Months

August 4th, 2015 by Kelly Kienzle

Toes in SandI love vacation. You love vacation. We all love vacations. Why? Because we can disconnect, physically and electronically, from our routines. We can step back and view our world and our thinking differently. We can let our minds meander. We can remember how we used to feel before we got caught up in whatever we’re caught up in.

This shift can feel like only a temporary and self-indulgent escape, yet we can use it for something more sustaining and meaningful. What if your vacation was your most powerful tool for re-setting yourself during the year?

Think about what you gained (or are gaining) on your vacation this year. Here’s what I gained:

  • I remembered the larger perspective on what I do and the impact it has. (I really can take myself a lot less seriously.)
  • I re-remembered how to listen to my kids (without the Top 19 Household Items To Do List whining on in a permanent loop in the background of my head.)
  • I noticed how much better I feel if I eat a meal outside. (And I am more courageous about exploring new foods this way, too. Hello, avocados!)
  • I observed that my hands felt relaxed (instead of keeping them in a sustained, ready-to-pounce posture to bang out another email in 8 seconds flat. Refer to #1 above if that curled-finger stance returns again).
  • I ticked through an almost endless list of good things in my life. (Too many to ever justify another complaint to cross my lips until I’m at least 65 and comfortably retired somewhere along a rocky ocean coastline.)

Remembering what we noticed and valued when we were on vacation helps us at work. It brings us back to that vacation mindset and thus rejuvenates us. We can recall who we are when there are no expectations, deadlines or inboxes. Being relaxed allows us to be so much more efficient and effective.

Note how Katie Ledecky, the US teenager who is blazing a trail as the sport’s most dominant swimmer, responded when she recorded (yet another) record-breaking time at the Olympic Trials yesterday. She replied, “I was barely even focusing on this morning’s swim. I was just so relaxed.”

That’s it. Nothing more is needed when the time to perform arrives and the stress threatens to rise. (Certainly much more is needed in the training and preparation beforehand. But when the moment arrived, she only needed her mindset of relaxation.)

What did you gain from your vacation this summer? What was different about how you talked, thought or behaved? Jot it down and bring it home as your souvenir from the summer. This is the kind of sand you’ll want to keep in your toes until summer rolls around to meet us again.

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