I have the privilege of being a mentor at EntrePrism – an incubator for entrepreneurs – and during one of our group meetings, some mentees wanted to talk about vacations and work-life balance. This theme often comes back with my private coaching clients; it seems that even though one has a lot of success and several years of experience, the questions around vacations and work-life balance are still very sensitive.

During the meeting with the group from EntrePrism, an entrepreneur indicated that she had scheduled some time for her – that’s like magic to my ears! – to finally confess to the group that she worked anyway, ‘but not much, just an email here and there to respond to my clients.’

Another mentor then asked her an excellent question: “So, were you on holiday or on vacation?” The distinction between the two is clear and has a profound effect on your business success.

To be on holiday

Being on holiday means not working according to our normal schedule, but still being in ‘accomplishing’ mode: we think about some business projects, we do some work around the house, in other words, we do things that we never have time to do.

If for a week, we finish renovating the patio, we clean the garage or we prepare the back to school children, it is not a vacation, but it’s a week we’re on holiday! We come back to the office as exhausted as when we left. We didn’t take the time to rest and replenish.


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To be on vacation

Being on vacation means taking the time to take the time. To truly replenish your energy tank. To return to the office really rested, light-hearted, with mental headspace.

Does this ring a bell? If the idea seems foreign to you, you should try it!

If you’re reading this blog, it’s because you are aiming higher, you want to grow your business. But be aware that success requires mental space, your mental space.

Taking a moment to truly rest and replenish allows you to see things more clearly, to look at situations from a different angle, to find original and effective solutions, to have new ideas that are absolutely great.

Often, when I suggest to my clients to take a vacation (a real vacation, not a holiday!), they answer that it’s impossible, for all sorts of reasons: ‘I do not have time’ ‘Who will answer my clients during that time?’ ‘I would like to go on vacation, but I can not afford it.’

But I did not say to go on vacation; I talked about taking a vacation instead.

Forget the excuses

You can always be busy being busy. No doubt you’ve seen the famous video of Stephen Covey, in which he fills a container of stones:

 

Taking a moment to recap, recenter, to stop thinking about daily activities and to think about the future is the pillar of growth. The best ideas and solutions are born when you have the mental space to welcome them. I regularly tell my clients: “The universe does not like emptiness.” If you never stop thinking of everyday things, there will be no room in your mind for new ideas.

The beauty is that it’s easier than you think. Indeed, to replenish you don’t need to go on a three-week retreat in Tibet!

Research has shown that simply walking in nature is one of the most effective ways to recharge your energy tank. In fact, there’s nothing like walking to clarify our ideas, as I explain in this post of my blog (click here). Times magazine has published a very interesting article (to read, click here) on the Japanese concept of taking a ‘forest bath’ shinrin-yoku.  It takes as little as two hours, and it’s free! It has been proven that the water – be it a lake, a river or an ocean – also has this calming and relaxing effect – ok, harder to do in winter, but an outdoor spa works great too!


Watch this YouTube episode
How do I do it all (Business & Life)


You see, it’s not so hard to take a vacation! You only need to set some time aside for yourself, to turn off your cell phone, to forget the files, the projects, the to-do list, the turkey to cook, the garage to clean, and give freedom to your thoughts.

Your success depends on your state of mind. Take care of it.

With that, I wish you an excellent holiday season, relaxing and fruitful!

Sara Gilbert

P.S. When you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you design your success.