Ice cream trucks. Water slides. Fireflies and fireworks and bonfires.
Stop for a second and dream up your quintessential summer. Where in that picture did you fit in humid commutes and to-do lists longer than the longest days of the year?
I know – you don’t actually dream of those things. So instead of fitting a quick trip to the beach into a summer consumed by work, let’s talk about how to fit your work in around your fun this season.
But Lisa, You’re My BUSINESS Coach
Yup. And part of being a successful business leader is learning how to balance what is important to us in work and in life. My goal is to help you build a business that will sustain the life you want, not consume it.
So for this Fourth of July, I’m declaring our independence from the rat race.
There is ALWAYS another level, another contract, another client. I’ve been there with my foot on the gas, fully in pedal-to-the-metal mode with summer in the rearview mirror before I registered it had started.
So rather than staying blindly on the path to “more,” (which we know is not sustainable,) I’m going to challenge you to get clear on how you want to prioritize fun in the next 8 weeks.
I’ll go first.
In The Summertime, When The Weather Is Hot…
I make sure to dig into summer as soon as the weather turns from frost to sunshine here in Vermont – after all, it could be snowing again in a couple weeks! (Ok… maybe a couple months. But summer is fleeting, particularly here!)
To me, a summer well spent means getting outdoors, taking in concerts, and spending time with loved ones and friends.
I had a blast at the Lumineers concert with my sister just last month (and faced some of my residual COVID fears about being in a crowded space) and I’m looking forward to more music-filled evenings on the lawns together.
I’m also hoping to take some long weekends away with family and girlfriends.
And I’m lucky that even if extremely pricey flights keep me a little more local than I might otherwise be, Vermont is a beautiful state to summer in. In my garden, by a lake, on a boat – it’s all breathtaking when you stop to take it in. And I intend to do just that.
It’s a Cruel Summer (Leavin’ Me Here On My Own)
Not to get all Cat’s in the Cradle on you, but I missed a lot of summers, and I regret it.
Vermont will give me another chance at appreciating the beauty of our New England summer.
But I can’t get back the summers with my sons when they were younger.
There was one year I stood on the porch of our new house, looking at our gorgeous and expansive lawn. I realized I had missed the whole thing. My catering business was really taking off, and I was proud of it.
But I truly had barely stood in that spot all season.
Then the year I decided to transition from catering to coaching was also my son’s last summer at home. I nearly missed them all. And Vermont, in all its beauty and wonder, can’t give me another shot at that.
There were years where my sons spent time with me mostly when they worked with me. It’s not an uncommon story to grow up helping with the family business, and they learned valuable skills and saw my work ethic in action. I’m glad they did. And, they became damn fine cooks!
We did vacation, don’t get me wrong. I made sure to squeeze in our family trip to my parents’ camp most Julys, and we even brought along their friends (until spending the summer with parents and grandparents became too unbearably uncool.)
But it was a squeeze. I squeezed out every minute of productivity before, during, and after – toting my laptop along so I could keep checking off boxes and moving the business forward. I never completely disconnected, so I never completely surrendered to the magic of a summer break.
Now I look at friends and clients and I see how they’re able to shape their lives around the memories that matter – trips to the zoo, the water park, the camping trips with their kids. I didn’t create nearly enough of those experiences for myself and my kids, and I don’t have those memories now.
THAT is why I emphasize maintaining balance and getting clear on your priorities.
We’re Cool For The Summer
So here’s your shot. What can you not afford to miss this year?
1. Define your summer break
Summer was handed to us as kids. School let out, we went to camp, we biked to the town pools and lakes.
I have to push you to put a little work into your summer now, because in order to balance your business and your break, we’ve got to figure out what that break looks like.
What is really important for you to experience this summer? Is it the location, time with family, or who you spend it with? Do you want a week off completely or some well-spaced long weekends?
Whether you’re reconnecting with your kids, partner, friends… or your self, take the moment now to pause and get clear on what you want.
2. Good boundaries make great vacations
You don’t have to travel to have a vacation… staycations are super cool too and a big part of my own summer plans.
You do, however, need to unplug and set boundaries around work or other obligations.
So, commit to setting that out-of-office notice and let yourself rest. Give your loved ones, your friends, and yourself the gift of separating your vacation from your vocation.
(One of my favorite tricks, by the way, is to let AAA do the planning by using their Triptiks on a road trip. The key is to get you doing less work on vacation, not more.)
3. Connect to the importance of taking a break
It can seem like a luxury to slow down and relax, but it will, in the long run, fuel you for more energy and endurance for creating more of what you want, WHATEVER that is.
Give yourself permission to fully enjoy what’s important to you this summer!
Here’s to a summer of memories made and wishes granted.
Stay cool and let me know where the season takes you!