Leaders: Unplug to Recharge
To unplug or not to unplug?
That is the big question.
I’ve always been pretty darn good at taking vacations and setting boundaries around them. In the early days of the Blackberry, I didn’t own one so it was easy to disconnect from work–especially since I like to travel to more remote locations. I also stayed away from computers while on holiday, figuring my email could wait until I got home and my friends would still be there.
Isn’t the idea of a holiday to get away, relax, recharge, experience something new, and shift perspectives?
If we are on email, our attention is back at home. Why bother leaving? You may think me selfish, but I don’t even send postcards. I want my full attention on my holiday, on my traveling companion and on wherever I am.
Unlike most folks in the US, I was known to take 3 to 4 weeks of holiday at at time. My work colleagues seriously asked, “Aren’t you afraid they’re going to realize they don’t need you if you’re gone that long?”
Others admired me.
For me, the value derived from getting away was greater than the any potential downside. I played, explored, rested, relaxed and enjoyed. I returned to work recharged with renewed vigor, filled with new perspectives, and was a more easy going, better version of me.
As an entrepreneur for the last 5.5 years, I have been presented with a whole new set of challenges. New technologies have emerged to dare even the best holiday-takers to unplug.
Sunday, I leave for a trip and I am determined to stay away from email and social media.
Can I do it? Twitter, FaceBook, Linked, G+, Pinterest have become indispensable tools to grow and sustain my business and visibility. What happens if I am not Retweeting, Tweeting and posting on Facebook for several days? Although I have my team to do some social media posting for me, I won’t be there to interact.
The amount of preparation involved in order to be able to leave and disconnect, has multiplied. Blogs have to be lined up to be posted and newsletters pre-written to go out while I am away. And on.
Can any of you relate to this?
Yet, I remain undaunted and determined to prove to myself that I can unplug. The world will go on and my business will continue to grow and flourish.
The temptations are great with WiFi available in hotels. But as leaders of organizations, as colleagues, as spouses, parents, partners, we owe it to one another to unplug and recharge. It’s a bit of an energy oxymoron, no?
We demonstrate respect by giving our full attention to our traveling companions, to our experience and to the world around us. The person who returns will be a rested and relaxed; a person who has had space to breath, space to reflect on and make meaning of everything that has been going on the last many months. The person who returns will see work and life in a new light.
Holidays offer up creative time … with new impressions, new perspectives, new experiences. We have the opportunity to think differently or come at a situation or problem from a different perspective. This is precious time that will serve you, your organization and those close to you.
With that, I bid you adieu.
Wish me luck on my commitment to stay unplugged and I’ll be back in the Saddle on September 12. I look forward to sharing my new insights and to learning about your experiences unplugged!
Please comment–for the sake of all of us.