If you follow me on any of my social media channels, you probably know I spent 10 days last month on a trip-of-a-lifetime to Greece. It’s the most breathtakingly beautiful place I’ve ever been, and the adventure, food and friendship were also unforgettable – so of course there were a lot of photos!
Since I returned home, the pace of life has been quite different. My husband and I recently took our daughter out East for her freshman year of college. Our son is away for his junior year. So, yes, we are empty nesters – a title I have dreaded ever since they were little. I won’t lie, it has been a tough transition. My friends who have been here tell me it WILL get better; it just takes some time.
In addition to this major life change, my days and nights have been packed with work since I returned from Greece. There was a lot to catch up on, and many new business opportunities to pursue for my growing company.
Between adjusting to this new phase of life AND an insane workload and schedule, I can almost forget that I really did live those ten magical days in Greece. It’s so easy to fall back into stressful routines. But I refuse to let that happen! Instead, I vow to keep the memories and inspiration with me each day, to lift me up during any difficult times I might be having.
My trip to Greece was life changing and inspired me in so many ways. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of occasionally taking time to unplug – and I mean REALLY unplug, not just for an hour here or there!
Since starting my company six years ago, I have never felt comfortable backing away for long. Sure, I’ve been on family and friend trips and have tried my best to unwind. But Mekky Media has always been an email or call away. On every vacation, I’ve been known to spend at least a few hours a day working and responding to emails at any time of day. My business is my third baby so this is understandable!
I’m sure many of you can relate – especially if you lead a business. We tend to feel a deep sense of responsibility and, perhaps, have a fear of letting go. Plus, there’s always so much to do!
But this time was different, for two reasons. First, I truly needed and wanted a real break, and I was lucky to have my good friend Lisa encouraging me to not only come along with her to Greece but to make the most of every single minute. She created the ultimate itinerary, which I’ve called “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Greece,” and we really couldn’t have done it justice if I had to stop and check email every hour.
Second, I have assembled a Mekky Media team that I absolutely trust. Even though the company is growing and there are so many moving parts, I know my staff members have the skills and drive to make sure everything is moving along while I’m gone. So, yes, I did check in a few times a day – briefly – and handled any major issues where I was needed. But my team did a beautiful job of taking the reins so I could have that time. I am so grateful to them!
For my fellow business leaders, I can’t stress this enough – it’s essential to take the time to build and train your team so they can step in when you can’t be there, or simply when you want or need a break. In fact, I feel this is so important that I plan to devote one of my upcoming Forbes blogs to this topic alone – stay tuned!
Now that I’m back and dealing with my newly empty nest, as well as fully immersed in my many responsibilities, I can see how much I benefited from those two (primarily) unplugged weeks. Of course, there are huge rewards to simply relaxing, having fun and unleashing our inner explorer. But also, taking time away allows our brains the space and freedom to open up and think creatively in ways that we can’t possibly do when we’re running from meeting to meeting and constantly focused on making the next deadline.
As humans – certainly as busy professionals – it’s important to occasionally tap into our creative side. For me, this meant doing some thinking and planning around the life changes I would be experiencing this fall AND the direction I’d like to take my business as we continue to grow. For you, who knows where your unplugged time might take you?!
Of course, I know not everyone has the ability or freedom to go away for two weeks. It certainly took me a long time to get to this point. So you have to think about what unplugging can look like for you. It might mean a day or afternoon of shutting down all devices while you walk around a nearby lake and take some time to meditate. Whatever it is, just remember to be present and tap into what’s inside of you that you can’t connect with when you’re so busy every day.
Side note: If you think a trip to Greece might be in your future, feel free to look at my Facebook posts for planning tips. My friend Lisa is a master planner and put so much thought into each and every detail of our adventure. Also, because we are both storytellers (even on vacation!), we made sure that every post painted a detailed picture of that day’s experiences and how they affected us. In addition, Lisa is passionate about capturing beautiful photos and making people feel good about themselves. I’m grateful for the pictures she took that will help me remember the joy I was feeling in those moments.
It was such a blessing to be able to experience Greece and to do it with Lisa. As I often say, life is short, and I’m beyond thankful for opportunities like this!n