I’ve long subscribed to the importance of “sharpening the saw,” Stephen Covey’s seventh habit of highly successful people. This habit is all about taking care of one’s self by embracing balance through physical, social, mental and spiritual renewal. To me, it’s simple logic that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.
But if I ’fess up, I cannot say that I’ve nailed this habit. In fact, I’m far from it. I admire colleagues and friends who are good at self-renewal. They seem to have a combination of the desire, knowledge and skill required to be truly present in the moment.
As this blog goes live, I will have been out of the country and away from the office for a total of three weeks—a definite first for me. Two of these weeks will be a vacation. Now, it has never occurred to me that taking vacation is a skill, but I think there is some truth to that. To truly leave one’s work behind does not come naturally to all of us. Growing up on a farm instilled in me a hefty work ethic, maybe a bit too much for my own good.
This June offers me the opportunity to learn a new skill: how to truly be present while on vacation. Will I be able to:
- Visit the Sistine Chapel without thinking about the next blog post that I want to write?
- Tour Cinque Terre without wondering how a particular adviser is doing with a difficult challenge?
- Ride the gondolas of Venice without anticipating the emails awaiting my return?
- Enjoy authentic pizza without being anxious of changes made without my input?
You have probably figured out where I am going for vacation. I’ve wanted to go to Italy for years. Now that the opportunity has arrived, I don’t want to just physically travel there. I want to be in Italy with all of my being. I know why this is important and have the desire to be fully present. I just have to develop the skill set.
I am fortunate to have a sophisticated staff who I know will handle things while I’m away. Any interference in my being fully present on this vacation is all between my ears. Sharpening the saw, self-renewal, whatever you want to call it—it’s a skill set that many active, busy, passionate professionals need to get better at. Stay tuned to hear how I do!
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network