It's that time of year again and most of us are going to take our vacation. Of course, chances are that many of us won't take a long enough one but the chances are even greater that when you return back to work, within as little as 2 days you will already feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and unrecovered. How could this happen?
For most people, we plan the days of our vacation, the location of our vacation, and maybe even the "what" of our vacation. It's like a Formula One race car pulling into the pit stop at a scheduled time, getting two new tires, but forgetting to get gas (or not getting enough). This happens because we forget the 'Why" of our vacation. I know it sounds simple but it happens all the time.
Executives often ask us, "How long does a vacation need to be in order to recharge?" That depends on whether you are really aware that recharging was the reason for your vacation. When a person makes recharging their number one priority, and plans all of the events of their vacation accordingly, they may be able to physically recharge in as little as 5 days. Unfortunately, what happens too often is a person takes a week vacation, thinks their priority is physically recharging, then exercises at a high intensity 5 days in a row and returns sore, exhausted, and definitely not restored. Why did this happen? Their actions didn't connect with the "Why" of recharging. Instead they acted as if the "Why" was to do a cram session/bootcamp approach to try to get physically fit. I'm not saying exercising is a bad thing but I am saying that if your "Why" is recharging, the way you exercise will be completely different.
At Tignum, we believe that the only way to maximize the benefits of your actions, and to win your Peak Performances (in this case the Peak Performance is vacation), is to design them. It's not complicated but it is powerful. If your "Why" for this year's vacation is mental and physical recovery, quality time with the family, to refresh your creativity, to reduce pain, and to reconnect with your spouse, then spending 5 days at a huge crowded amusement park with the family probably won't achieve it. Spending one day at an amusement park, a couple of days reading and playing family games in nature, going for a few long walks, and catching up on sleep may be a better answer.
The point is, if your "Why" for pulling in to this pit stop is to win the race, then just getting two new tires may not be the answer. You may need to get tires, enough fuel, hydration, a quick front-end adjustment, and a quiet moment to breathe and oscillate. This way when you pull back onto the race track you are ready to fully focus, deal with the challenges ahead, and bring your best game.
As you plan this year's summer pit stop, here are a few questions to help you get what you want/need:
_Why am I taking this vacation (e.g., recharge my batteries, reconnect with friends/family, change the scenery, have fun, go somewhere I've never been, cross something off my bucket list, get back in shape, work on my golf game, finish my manuscript)?
_When I return from my vacation, how do I want to feel (e.g., relaxed, energized, pain-free, focused, passionate, creative, in love, reconnected to my family)?
_What would it look like if I felt that way? How would I stand, walk, interact with others, etc.?
_What do I need to do on this vacation to make this vision of success a reality?
Sustainable High Performance doesn't happen by luck or chance, it happens by design. This is why you may want to design this year's vacation to make it the best ever. I bet your 4th quarter results will show the difference. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.