Finally you took some time away. It was incredibly relaxing or mood-altering. Maybe it was an adventure you’d been wanting to go on and you conquered it. In any event, you heeded the call for a timeout.
You came back to “real life” and found everyone else is still in old patterns. They hadn’t skipped a beat since you left weeks ago. Except it’s landing on you differently because you are renewed and refreshed.
Before declaring the success or failure of this getaway, there is an important choice to make moving forward:
A) You come back and do exactly what you have done before. You go to work, you get sucked into your daily routine. You continue on the path you were on before you left on your trip.
B) You take extra time and reflect on what matters most to you. Then you think about what you’ll do with your insights.
Opportunity for Growth
You have the opportunity for real personal growth for you and everyone under your influence. Don’t waste the opportunity!
I have recently returned from a 200-mile hiking trip across the United Kingdom on the famous C2C. You can read about the preparation and the actual trip here.
Returning to California, I realized that I’m different now. And yet no one around me had changed in my absence. People were still consumed with politics and economics, their job and family issues. But I had made a shift. What was important before the trip didn’t seem as important now. I was drawn to spend time outside, walk, reflect and think instead of sit in front of my computer and ‘get stuff done.’
I also noticed that I felt compelled to reach out to my daughter, who had been on the hike with me, and fellow hikers we met along the way. I wanted to prolong the journey and share with them what it was like to experience all the trip had to offer. As much as I tried, my photographs and my stories didn’t seem to resonate with others as much. They didn’t seem to ‘get’ it.
I am not new to this phenomenon. It is the ‘return’ part of the hero’s journey. First, you are called to a cause, action, or challenge. It could be an overseas assignment, or starting a business, or creating a new business unit. Next, you are actually on the journey. You take the steps and travel along the path. You implement the plan. You fail along the way and you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go at it again. Finally, you arrive — either at the intended goal, or with the knowledge that the goal is not reachable or wrong to begin with. You take all the steps outlined in Stop Making Work All About You and 9 Leadership Lessons Learned on the Coast2Coast.
And you are poised to do it all again.
However, if you don’t take the time to reflect and converse and question your intentions and what truly matters moving forward, you are missing an opportunity for real growth. Let me challenge you to take your post-getaway time to ponder and debate instead of jumping right back in.
Recently I was coaching a senior executive who had attended a high level leadership program at Stanford University. He learned a ton and came back with oodles of information to process and implement. And yet immediately he was pulled back into the routine by his team and his leadership.
Avoid this mistake. You can double the effectiveness of the training, the journey, the project, if you debrief, reflect and hear yourself talk about what mattered and what is worth reexamining.
Again, don’t waste this precious opportunity!
If you truly want to grow as a professional and as a human being, give yourself the time and space to reflect and evaluate. You, your family and your business will be better for it.
If you found this article useful and inspiring, feel free to check out the article about why we were called to hike the C2C. You might also find the article about the actual C2C through hike interesting.