Are you planning to take a summer vacation this year?
According to one recent survey, nearly half of the people reading this article are not or are seriously considering skipping it. Within the group skipping summer vacation, 60% say they can’t afford it.
While you may say you cannot afford to take time off, I wonder if you can afford not to step away.
Is it Possible to Win at Work and Succeed at Life?
For the last few months, I’ve been working with a coach to grow my leadership abilities. My coach’s company has a tagline “Win at Work and Succeed at Life.”
I’d heard this phrase on podcast episodes, read it in articles, and can even repeat the genesis story of the company and the tagline.
However, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I let those words sink in that I realized I didn’t believe it was actually possible.
An examination of my life over the last few years would reveal evidence of a belief that it is possible to win at work and succeed at life, just not at the same time. I would’ve never said I believed this aloud, but I lived as if it were true. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do is so loud I cannot hear what you say.” My life has been shouting a belief which makes me uncomfortable.
Case in point. During the first quarter of the year, I’d typically go all in on winning at work, only to need to pull back in the second quarter to ensure I’m not winning at work without succeeding at life. I’d burn myself at both ends for an extended time, only to back off so I could get healthy and reset some things personally. This has been my ongoing cycle for years.
I Started Really Listening
I was living as if I could alternate between winning at work and succeeding at life, but not live them at the same time. So, when my coach spoke about this concept during a recent group session, his words hit me in a way they’d never landed before. In a season where I was feeling the exhaustion of trying to win at work while delaying succeeding at life, I decided I’d had enough.
I often use the run-up to summer as my catchup time after I burn my margins in the late winter/early spring. But after my fifth year in a row of this pattern, I’m just tired. And not physically tired, I’m tired of this way of living and leading.
As Jeremy Chandler notes in his recent article, we need to live sustainable rhythms. I’ve realized I don’t just need a new rhythm for the summer. I need a new rhythm for my life!
Not a New Rhythm for the Summer, but a New Rhythm for Life
As we processed our takeaways from our group coaching session, we identified some next steps. One of mine included this personal epiphany and exploring what a new rhythm would look like.
As I explored what it would mean to establish a new rhythm, I went for low-hanging fruit.
- Extending my summer vacation
- Paying more attention to my diet
- Renewing a fitness regimen
- Scheduling monthly retreat days to rest and reflect
- Setting my phone down to connect with my wife and kids
After I grabbed the easy changes, I’m now looking at the harder ones.
- Listening for unhealthy, unhelpful mindsets
- Resetting unrealistic expectations for myself and those I lead
- Accepting my limits
- Having hard conversations with my counselor about the problems behind the pain of my recent rhythms
We Could All Use a Vacation, But We Need More Than a Vacation
Whether it’s an expensive vacation in a faraway place or a few days at home with an away message on your email and distracting apps deleted from your phone, most of us are probably due for a time to disconnect and rest.
But, we also need to identify a new way of living which doesn’t require disconnection and escape for us to survive.
Like my coach, Michael Hyatt, I now believe it’s possible to win at work and succeed at life. But, I believe it’s going to be difficult to build new muscle memory and adopt a new way of living.
But, after the last five years and the feeling I had in a conference room this spring, I know it’s the only way forward.
How about you? Where in your life has the way you’ve been living become unsustainable? What changes do you need to make this summer because you can’t afford to keep living the way you’ve been living?