Value of “Going Dark” on Vacation
My client asked if I planned to “go dark” while on vacation. She asked in an encouraging manner that I appreciated. I was going dark. I had no intentions to check emails, voice mails, or write a blog post.
I just completed my MBA. As a working professional and working on my master’s degree, I had to be disciplined in how I spent my time. I certainly wasn’t alone in the sacrifices necessary to hold it together. What I didn’t realize, however, was the extent of my exhaustion.
It took me four days to unwind enough to enjoy my vacation. On this side of exhaustion, I have noticed a few things about myself.
- My corny humor had returned
- My thoughts were clearer
- My communication was more coherent
- I was more delightful to be around
So where am I going with this thinking? I know you really aren’t that interested in hearing me pontificate about academic accomplishments.
In our post-Great Recession era, we all are working our asses of to do good work or to find work. We’re pulling in late nights, stressing about finances, deadlines, the quality of our work. And most of us aren’t giving ourselves a moment to breathe in and exhale.
We’re depleting ourselves to a point where we’re losing a little bit of the lighter side of our personalities.
This is not sustainable.
It’s not good for those whom we lead. Whom we love.
It’s not useful in creating great work.
In short, we’re running a deficit in passion.
Passion cannot exist when we are less ourselves. Passion thrives on identity. It’s called forth when we have strong insight or vision for the work we’re doing. A tired mind sputters. It cannot create in a sustainable manner what is necessary to explore that insight or uphold that vision.
We must take better care of ourselves. Four days to unwind is unacceptable. I have wonderful people in my life and great plans for the future. A sputtering mind and a half-available and exhausted friend, partner, colleague will not get me to the places I envision or do the work to the level I know possible.
Yes these times are more demanding given the uncertainty of work, jobs, the economy.
However, the person with the advantage is the one who will care for himself so that he is more available to make something of the passion.
And by care I mean taking time to slowdown long enough so that it doesn’t take four days to unwind.
How long would it take you to unwind on vacation? And what about your employees?
It’s time to exhale.
It’s time to pause.
Take care of yourself. Model the way.
Graphic by Shawn Murphy