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The Power of Summer Vacations

Today’s Tuesday Reading is from Mark Cox, Director of Identity Services and Solutions at the University of Virginia. He may be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

Reflecting on the past year, I realize it was a very stressful year and that I had not nurtured my resiliency very well. It was an action-packed year. There didn’t seem to be enough time to do everything I needed to do. How could I afford time away? However, those are the very times you need to refill your stores of resiliency to take care of yourself.

As MOR reinforces, resilience is an essential quality for leadership. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, stay centered, and maintain a positive mindset. It helps us rebound and cope with difficult circumstances or stressors. While resilience is often associated with professional challenges, its roots frequently lie in personal well-being. I can’t think of a better way to nurture personal well-being than through a summer vacation!  I pledge to myself that I will intentionally plan time away to recharge.

We cannot neglect our own need for rest and rejuvenation. This is where the summer vacation comes in as a powerful tool in support of building and sustaining resilience.

1. Disconnect to Reconnect: In today’s world, it’s easy to feel connected to our workplace, even while on vacation. We often have applications installed on our personal devices that remind us through relentless pings and dings at all hours. However, true resilience requires us to disconnect from the workplace. A summer vacation provides the perfect opportunity to switch off devices, remove notifications, detach from the digital world, and reconnect with ourselves, our families, and the beauty of the world around us. If disconnecting is a struggle, find that vacation spot with little to no connectivity. Stepping away from work allows our minds to recharge, gain perspective, and return renewed.

2. Embrace Novel Experiences: A summer vacation offers the chance to embrace new things, whether exploring a new destination, trying out a new activity, or immersing yourself in the local culture. Stepping out of our comfort zones fosters adaptability, creativity, and a broader perspective.

3. Prioritize Self-Care: Resilience begins with self-care. A summer vacation gives us the opportunity to prioritize our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Whether lounging on the beach with your toes in the sand or simply enjoying a stroll in nature, vacations offer the space to replenish our energy reserves and nurture ourselves. Investing in self-care can better manage stress, enhance your emotional intelligence, and cultivate resilience.

4. Reflect and Reset: Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to lose sight of our priorities and long-term personal and professional goals. A summer vacation offers a precious opportunity to step back, reflect on our journey, and recalibrate our course.

5. Lead by Example: As leaders, our actions often speak louder than words. By prioritizing our well-being with healthy work-life harmony, we set a powerful example for our teams. When employees see their leaders taking time off, unplugging from work, and returning refreshed, they’re more likely to prioritize their self-care and resilience.

Summer vacations are not just a luxury but a strategic investment in resiliency. By disconnecting to reconnect, embracing new experiences, prioritizing self-care, reflecting and resetting, and leading by example, leaders can harness vacations’ power to inspire their teams and thrive during challenges.

So, before the summer’s gone, let’s gas up the car or purchase those airline tickets, pack our bags, leave our worries behind, and embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and resilience to your favorite place or that new spot you’ve always wanted to visit.

Last week, we asked which area of focus is most important to who you are as a leader?

  • 30% said how I treat others
  • 25% said my strategic mindset
  • 22% said my internal sense of self
  • 13% said the results I achieve
  • 10% said something else

There was a bit of a spread in these responses, signifying the importance of each of these dimensions to who we are as a leader. The strongest among these finds its foundation in relationships. Relationships are currency to accomplishing strategic results.