What do your holidays tell you about your life?
I’m currently planning my next holiday. The usual process in the last few years has been for me to essentially research a range of possibilities that all incorporate a beach break. My wife and I are both inherently beach bums rather than the adventurous types. Things like camping, hiking and kayaking are not for me. Give me a sun lounger, cold drinks and a nice beach any day of the week.
But the other reason I always looked for a beach break is that by the time we'd go on holiday I would be paralysed by exhaustion and in desperate need of a vacation.
This time round, however, things are different. We’ve had a longer gap than usual since our last trip abroad. However, I’m not exhausted or even particularly tired. That is despite an emotional roller-coaster that accompanied serious complications at our child’s birth. It is also the first time after 12 years in the corporate world that I’m going it alone - with all the anxiety that brings around building a successful business, the future and giving my family a comfortable life (it is an exciting time but those that know me will know I’m naturally a very anxious person). So I thought I should be exhausted.
One thing has become clear for me, however. The common denominator during previous holidays - where I was so knackered that I spent the holiday just getting back to being human again - was that I was in a career that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Granted, it was a well-paid, stable career with a lot of interesting stuff and one that played to my interest in cut-and-thrust politics. I’m enormously grateful for the opportunities I had. However, I had no emotional investment in it. I wasn’t passionate about it and couldn’t relate to it. I didn’t care about how things would pan out for our organisation's stakeholders. And I’d felt like this for a fair while.
Over time, that would catch up with me. The cumulative effect of, at best, not looking forward to going into work every day, and, at worst, sometimes dreading it, caught up with me - physically, emotionally and mentally. It can be quite tiring having that feeling for over 250 working days a year, for years on end.
I don’t have that now. I’m not suffering the cumulative effect every day of doing something that has no real meaning to me. Therefore, on a day-to-day basis, I have more energy and I’m less tired. I’m more motivated to work hard, and most importantly I actually care about my most important stakeholders, i.e. my clients. The difference in the commitment I have for my work now versus the work in my previous career is astounding.
I knew that I’d made the right choice in becoming a full-time life coach. However, something as simple as looking for a holiday has given me another lens through which to see just how much of an impact it’s having on me.
So here’s a thought - next time you’re gagging for that holiday - that week off - enjoy it by all means. But ask yourself, "why am I so desperate to get away"?
About the author
My clients are higher achievers but they approach me feeling stuck either professionally or personally - and often both. I have helped them drop the "what-ifs", achieve life-changing outcomes and become genuinely fulfilled.
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