When I wrote a chapter in my book about the biggest fears that impact on success, the one chapter that my publishers were not sure that was right for the book, was this one. “Is it really that big a fear?” they asked. And that fear, is the fear to take time off.
And I bet there are many that read this article that think “I go on holiday, fearlessly, what are you talking about?!?”
The fact is over many years of working with people looking to achieve more, so many fear actually stepping away from work and being in the moment. But what is the big deal?
Why do you need to turn your phone off to succeed?
Why should you leave the laptop in a different time zone?
5 reasons to leave it all behind;
- With over 11.7 million days lost at work due to stress related conditions in the UK alone, if UK businesses could find a way to keep people physically and mentally well it could be worth billions to the UK economy.
- Studies have shown that after only 6 days on holiday people can experience physical and mental benefits for up to a month
- The Chinese government invest billions into Research and Development every year and one of their big concerns is that their industries lack creativity. Creativity has long been the “thing” that can’t be forced with scientists even allegedly turning to Sci Fi shows of the 60’s to come up with new and ingenious inventions. What’s that got to do with me taking a holiday? You ask. The fact is ideas need space to grow and that comes from having a brain that knows how it likes to work. Rarely do people take the time to understand and appreciate the way that their brain likes to process problems, ideas and opportunities. It is when people work with me they learn that behind every successful person is their own “science” of what constitutes a great way to think. While some benefit from that 5 am alarm and an hour to hone their success, others are far happier with a spreadsheet than a blank canvas and a pack of coloured pens to spurge their ideas out and create a mindmap. Holidays enable our brains to have that space that they crave to process everything that has been thrown at it. Imagine your brain is like a huge old fashioned filing system. Whether you realise it or not you are throwing questions and problems at your brain all of the time, and even if you didn’t really mean to ask “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why can I never find my keys” your subconscious is still going to spend precious brain space metaphorically wading through filing cabinets looking for the answer.
- Holidays create brain space, which enables new ideas and solutions and that is worth a lot in any commodity to your success.
- Productivity declines when we do the same thing. However much you love your work if you are working every day, you risk damaging your productivity. Ever noticed that sometimes your heart is just not in it? Or as I like coaches like to say have you ever noticed how you don’t seem to flow at work? That is your mind’s way of letting you know it could do with doing something different for a change. Still not convinced. Think back to the last time you were sick. Really sick. So ill you didn’t move from your bed for days, and then you got up too early and tried to get back to things and were floored again with strict instructions from a “doctor/partner/Mum” to “Go and rest or you will be sick for longer”. Now think about that enforced rest. How frustrating was it?Remember when you could get back to things and how revved and raring to go you were? That’s because your brain has had a chance to think, process stuff and wants to get going again. Holidays enable us to do that. (Oh and if you are ill, there’s a good chance you didn’t listen to your body and mind saying “is there any chance of a few days off, we’re are exhausted?”. These things like our bodies have a habit of enforcing rest if we don’t take it.
So do you still think its pointless to turn off that phone and disconnect from the work place?
Do you still question the benefits to your success of riding the bike, building the sandcastle or prodding a barbecue?
If I’ve got your attention and you know you should turn off your business for a few days, and then find yourself answering “Just this email honey, then I will be there, promise” then here are my top tips to actually being in the moment. Turning your back on your business and fully engaging in something else for a few days of R n R, relaxation, no results fun.
Top tips to dealing with the fear of taking time out;
Know your success. To be able to walk away, first of all need you to appreciate how awesome you are. In my book we use this tool in a different way to power up your success, but here by accepting that you do achieve. That you do win. That you do know how to get what you want, you are able to see and accept the successes you’ve had.
Now if your version of success turns out to mean you’ve worked 17 hour days, 7 days a week and will hand on heart tell me that “it’s the only way it could be done” 2 things – Firstly it’s a long term recipe for disaster, because you are not a robot and your body will make you rest at some stage. The old adage that there’s no rest for the wicked is not one you want applied to you. Or if you are one for the saying “rest is for when you are dead”. Reframe that one because too many people’s lives are cut short because stress, overwork and a lack of time for health and relaxation were not part of the game plan for success. If you really fear taking time out, think of a time when you failed astronomically. How did you get over it? The fact is if you take 2 weeks off and you came back to discover your worst case scenario had in actual fact happened, you have the facts that you could overcome that level of adversity and still be a success. (See below on how to ensure worst case scenario doesn’t happen!)
Trust you will get the results you want. And to do this you need to know what those results are. However you choose to do it you need to take the time to plan your success. Whether you love a vision board, a written plan, a mindmap or a diary with time scheduled to work on your success, you still need to know what your success looks like. What does success look like to you? What goals have you planned? By when? Knowing this helps you schedule in time for time out.
Your Success/Business is in good hand. When someone fears taking time out and I challenge them on that, they often realise that in their mind I’m suggesting they walk out of the office right now and stop work for 2 weeks without planning. As with all things connected to your success it needs to be planned. This not only ensures you come back rested and happy it ensures that those you work with don’t throw things at you on your return! Just as you would plan your holiday – plan what will happen while your way. Who is in charge? What protocol is to be adhered to? What constitutes an emergency to contact you? If you own a small business you can automate your social media so that people think you are still in the country at your desk. (The only downside I’ve found to this, and you are hearing from a holiday lover who had 42 days holiday last year and couldn’t even tell you where her phone was! Is that LinkedIn and Facebook have not yet set up a holiday message for messages. You can for your business page, but not (as yet) for your personal page.) So respect your team, customers and suppliers, talk about your plans well in advance so that everyone can ensure they have what they need from you. And they in turn will respect your time off. I read about a CEO who never checked anything on his phone after 7pm. Everyone in the company knew this and respected this. Why? I wouldn’t mind betting it’s because every single action that the CEO took every moment of every day was respectful to the staff, the board, the share holders, suppliers and the success of that company. Everyone agreed that he deserved that time to himself for whatever purpose he wanted.
Lastly ask yourself. What kind of a role model are you to your friends and family? You may love 24/7 work but it is not good for you whether you like it or not and what kind of ambassador are you for success?
Are you in effect saying that unless you work 24/7 you can’t be successful?
Have you ever considered that those around you could possibly be suffering trying to keep up with your insane working hours? Not everyone can work 24/7. What levels of guilt and inferiorty get created by someone at work who never seems to take time off?
Success can be made easier and faster with the right actions (trust me, it’s what I do for a living!) but by not taking time off you could be showcasing that the only way to success is back breaking, soul destroying hours. That’s a belief that says to achieve, it has to be really really hard work. Why not try a new belief that says, “I can easily plan for my success and get what I want and still nurture my mind, body and soul and respect the ones that I love.”
Your mind is powerful tool, and if you tell it that it needs to be very hard work and near on impossible to achieve success, your brain will go out its way to prove you right. Be a role model that the next generation can look to and think “Wow a great career, a happy life and people that love them, that’s awesome!” Too many people sacrifice marriages or relationships in the name of success and it doesn’t have to happen.
The fact is that if you plan, automate and cater for holidays then it truly can be an opportunity for your success. While my phone has been switched off I’ve won awards, had free PR in the national press, gained new clients, new sales and even speaking engagements! Now that is defining how you want success and getting it on those terms!
I hope this proves a useful guide to getting a guilt free time away from your career, however it is not time away from your success. Savvy people know that taking time out is a critical part of their success. Do you?