I was about to take a 6 months vacation from my business and my team leaders Rachael and Carmel were a little surprised and perhaps a little nervous, when I told them that they would be in charge. The business had been open for 5 years but the truth was that I was making more money renovating and flipping houses than I was from the business itself. My brother Rob was getting married in Ireland, and I was to be the best man. I thought that after working hard getting the business started that it was time to take a break. I was exhausted from working in the business and a 6 month vacation was going to do me good.
The truth is that most business leaders will never take 6 months off from their business
in their life. Many are lucky if they take a couple weeks off per year. I was talking to one business owner recently who told me that every time she took a rare holiday, she had to tell her staff that she was taking a business trip because she felt so guilty. Another took a Friday afternoon off to golf with her daughter and felt the same guilt. If you feel guilty about taking time off you are not alone. Some studies show that approximately 55% of people feel guilty about taking their holidays.
If you own a business or manage an organization, you need to start taking holidays and
here are 5 good reasons why! These are:
1. Protect your Health! As owners and managers of organizations, we can push our bodies to physical and mental exhaustion. Taking a holiday and resting helps revive our adrenal glands and allows us to give ourselves a break from the ongoing exhaustion associated with the running of a business. Without proper rest, our bodies get to the point where they can’t take anymore and shut down at inopportune times. Taking a vacation ensures that when we need to be mentally and physically at our prime, our bodies are ready for it.
2. Get Away from the Stress! The ongoing day to day activities of the business can cause us stress. The thoughts of having to make ends meet, deal with customers, staff and suppliers can be stressful for us as business owners. This means we must turn off our phones and stop checking our email when we take a holiday. Taking a break from the day to day activities and stresses allows us to really rest. Weekends often aren’t enough time for us to decompress and relax from the stresses of the business. Vacations that are 2 or 3 weeks in length, give us a chance to forget for a few moments, about our daily business problems and spend happy times with our friends and family away from the rigors of work
3. Recharge and Revision! After I took my 6 months off I was ready to come back and really get the business going. I had some ideas that could take us to the next level and the energy to implement those ideas. But it doesn’t have to be 6 months! Sometimes it only takes a break of 6 days or 6 weeks for owners to get really focused and recharged. I love driving long distances on holidays, because I can mull things over in my mind as I drive and get clarity on what I need to do in the business. Without taking the time to re-vision, leaders seem to forget their purpose and as a result end up charging blindly off in all directions. If you have lost your clarity and purpose, a vacation is a great way to find it again.
4. Empower Your Employees! Once Rachael and Carmel got over the shock of me leaving, they became empowered to run the business with the help of the other staff. Going on vacation means that someone needs to be in charge. Employees who are empowered become invested in the organization. They get a sense of meaning, and understand that they are important to the existence of the business and the service of customers. Without empowered, invested employees, our businesses are lackluster and as owners we end up doing all the work. If you would like to have a team that really supports you, take more vacations!
5. Find out What Doesn’t Work! One of the best reasons to go on vacation is to find out what doesn’t work in your business. As business owners we need to have systems to ensure that things run smoothly. Taking a vacation is one great way to find out what systems need fixed. If you are getting calls on your vacation because you are the only one who knows how to do something, you have a problem. If you have a week’s work on your desk for every week you took on your trip, you have a problem. Your first job when you get back shouldn't be to do the work, but to implement systems so that you won’t have the same problems next time.
Vacations are beneficial in so many ways. Not only can you have better health and better relationships, but you will be able to have a better, more valuable business by implementing systems that will enable you to have a stress free organization. Not taking a vacation is harmful to your health and your business. Book yours now!
Dave Fuller, MBA is an Award Winning Professional Business coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. When not on vacation, Dave can be reached by email email@example.com.