cruise ship

Walking the Talk!

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

If everything goes as planned and the technology doesn’t fail me, this article will post while I’m at sea on a vacation cruise to Hawaii. And, as I mentioned in the March Newsletter, I am, uncharacteristically, looking forward to that 15 day vacation as I write. It’s uncharacteristic of me because throughout my career I have been gifted with a deep love of what I do. From electronics engineering work at the very beginning of my professional life all the way to now when I am privileged to coach and mentor business owners and executives. Each step along the varied paths I’ve been on, I have so enjoyed the work that I was doing that I did not want to take time away from it. Why would I? It was challenging, fun and of course profitable. Time off? For what purpose? So we typically took a day here, a day there or at most, a week to go camping or sailing. Perhaps two or three times in all my career did we ever take two weeks at one time for a vacation.  (Wife’s edit:  Twice in 44 years of his working career!)

Time to relax. They tell us that relaxing on a regular basis is good. Leaders are best when they get their rest. That seems to be the real draw for me this time. I have visions of sitting out on the balcony of the ship, warm breezes blowing as we make our way from San Pedro CA to Hawaii, my Nexus 7 in hand with all the books I want to read loaded up and perhaps a cup of coffee or glass of wine, depending on the time of day. I know the reality will be different, but that’s what I’m thinking. Relaxation. Down time. To make things even sweeter, I’ll be with my best friend. And we’re traveling with another couple for whom we care deeply. They like the same kinds of things we do including just relaxing and not being busy every minute. And, to make it more intriguing, I’ll be off-the grid for much of the time. Now THAT’S novel for me, because I’m “always” connected.

Quality TimeSo what’s changed? As I said, I still love my work. There’s more to do than any sane person would want to fit into one day. It’s as challenging as ever, although it’s people challenges rather than process or technical challenges. Here’s what might be the change. I’ve spent more than a decade building my business practice. It’s an intense slog as almost any business owner will tell you. A private practice certainly isn’t as challenging as building up a manufacturing or a many-employee services company, but somehow it’s still more nerve racking than the challenges I had as a corporate executive. And while we’ve taken time off for holidays and visiting family, this is the first time  in many years that we’ve planned a long vacation strictly for ourselves. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to. Time to be alone with her, time to be by myself, time to relax and time to be with friends. What’s not to like about that?

I fully expect that when I get back I’ll have to jump right into the fray. There will be group meetings to plan, 1-2-1 meetings with clients, posts to write, articles to share, networking meetings, telephone calls, etc. But that isn’t going to change if I think about or worry about any of them while vacationing with my bride. I really don’t have to worry about anybody doing my work for me while I’m gone. I’ll still get to do it!

So this is my opportunity to “walk the talk.” To lead by example. I encourage everyone of the business owners and executives with whom I have the privilege to work to take vacation and find time to relax. This is my opportunity to be fully present to my wife and our friends.

I’m not above rising to a challenge though. I’ve been told that it takes seven days to wind down and get out of the work mode so one can relax and enjoy time away from the job. It is my intention to blow that “record” out of the water. In fact, I find I am pretty much in vacation mode already even though, at the time of this writing, we won’t be boarding the ship until 11 days, 1 hour and 3 minutes from now. But who’s counting?