Yesterday afternoon, I returned home from a 5 day trip to Big Bend National Park to celebrate my birthday. It was a magical adventure of trail running, glamping, good food and heart centered sharing with a buddy. As we were driving home, I was reflecting on how scared I used to be about really unplugging from work and how many recent conversations I’ve had with clients and colleagues who really struggle with this (but LONG to have more rest and adventure in their lives).
Acknowledge the Concerns
In many modern economies, especially in the US, we are working more than ever. With the increase in technology and the accompanying “constantly connected” lifestyle, I think it’s natural for us to have some hesitancy about taking a break. On top of that, as entrepreneurs, most of us don’t get paid if we’re not working with clients. Not only do we not get paid during our break, but we also can lose traction in our marketing and even clients if the people in our networks expect us to be on all the time.
I’ve recently talked to entrepreneurs who make $10,000 a year AND entrepreneurs who make 7 figures each year who struggle with this. So if you’ve had a hard time with giving yourself a break, I want to encourage you to be kind with yourself. There are both cultural and economic layers to what you’re working with.
Remember the Why of Vacation
In his wonderful book Start With Why, Simon Sinek teaches us to pay attention to WHY we’re doing something when we want to make a change. So instead of jumping to the HOW (some helpful strategies which I share below), I want to encourage you to connect with the heart and soul benefits of taking a break to help you through any hurdles you might be navigating.
For me, this break was about:
- Time in nature
- Time with a close friend
- Re-booting my fitness after getting off track with my diet this winter
- Celebrating my birthday
- Reconnecting with my sense of purpose
When I “get” my why, I tend to much more easily navigate the fear induced resistance I often experience about setting up a break.
3 Strategies to Taking a Break with Ease
In addition to remembering my why, I’ve found 3 tips that can help me take a break with much more ease:
- Bunch appointments before and after the trip. If your break is 2 weeks or less, I’ve found that I can usually bunch appointments quite easily before and after the trip – with little or no disruption to the outcomes my clients come to me for.
- Leverage the power of technology. Over the years, the technology I use in my business has increasingly included features to schedule for the future. For example, for this trip I had the week’s podcast episode scheduled in Libsyn, a post on my website, and multiple social media posts. You do the work in advance and then use the scheduling feature to keep your business present in the marketplace even while you’re unplugged.
- Trade with a colleague. If you have been following me for some time, you might know that I have another business coach, Jason Stein, who is my “mastermind buddy”. Over the 6+ years Jason and I have been connected, we’ve covered services for each other numerous times – it’s one of the ways we support each other in living a sustainable lifestyle as entrepreneurs.
You Got This
If you’ve been someone who has struggled with taking a break, I want to again suggest there’s good reasons for this. And invite you to practice self compassion.
At the same time, I want to encourage you to come back to your basic humanity. Humans aren’t meant to work for very long periods of time with little or no breaks. Our bodies, hearts, minds and spirits suffer when we try.
With some attention to why you’re setting up a break and a some simple work to enhance or create simple systems, you can find a way to take more breaks. You’ll return a more inspired, more creative and more resonant version of yourself. And that’s good for business.