My wife and I just got back from a week-long getaway to Antigua. It was our first vacation together that we didn’t bring our son, Logan, with us (thank goodness for in-laws). It was an awesome trip, which entailed doing a whole lot of nothing. Our days consisted mostly of lying on the beach, hanging out at the cocktail bar, kayaking in the Atlantic and playing beach volleyball. It was perfect (we stayed at the St. James Resort, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a relaxing, beach vacation). I came back from this vacation recharged and more motivated than ever to get to work…
For obvious reasons, I love vacations. Who doesn’t? Exploring new lands, eating great food and sleeping in are all perks of vacations. But for more than just those reasons, vacations provide tremendous value for my businesses, and I strongly believe that annual getaways should be mandatory for entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur you should never regard a vacation as an expense. You should consider a vacation as a vital investment in yourself, and your business.
You Deserve It
Being an entrepreneur, never mind just dealing with everything life throws your way, is taxing. I love being an entrepreneur, don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t want it any other way, but it can be exhausting. Putting in 60 to 70 hours per week is normal for entrepreneurs, and it needs to be rewarded, otherwise what the hell is the point of working so hard?
If you don’t invest in a vacation every year, you’re certain to burn out, which can lead to potential health problems, and at the very least, it will negatively impact your earnings.
Step away from your venture for at least one week per year to go on vacation. Stepping away for a long weekend simply isn’t ‘long’ enough. It takes about three days for most people to settle in to vacation mode and truly start to relax, so a week must be the minimum duration of your vacation.
Vacations help clear your mind; they allow you to catch up on sleep, and recharge your battery so that when you return from your getaway you are fired up, and hit the ground running again.
Going on a vacation allows to you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and that, my friends, is paramount.
One major reason to get away for a week is to go offline, so to speak. As entrepreneurs we are way too connected in our day-to-day. Whether it be receiving hundreds of emails, phone calls, processing orders online or texting back and forth with employees, always staying connected to one glowing box or another is not good for us.
Now, I know it is vital for us to be connected in this day and age, but you must shut it down, or at least put a limit on it, when on vacation.
If you’re like me, and conduct most of your business online, set a reasonable limit of ‘connected time’ while on vacation. My limit (largely imposed by my wife), is 20 minutes per day. That allows me to make sure the shop isn’t burning down back home, and get back to enjoying my vacation. Don’t use this 20 minutes to email your employees and clients, just use it to make sure everything is okay so you can rest comfortably on the beach with mojito in hand.
Your Mind is Clear and Creative When Relaxed
It’s a fact; when you are relaxed, your mind thinks clearly and creatively. Many of the best and more profitable ideas/innovations I’ve conjured for my businesses came to me while on vacation, in moments of complete relaxation, when I wasn’t distracted by the everyday hustle and bustle.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”
— Alan Alda
Make Great Connections
On this last vacation I met a fellow entrepreneur while playing beach volleyball. Once I learn of someone else being an entrepreneur, I immediately want to find out more about their story, and how they got started. I noticed he had a wedding ring on, but didn’t see his family anywhere, so I asked him what brought him to Antigua. He told me it was a regular spot he and his family went on vacation, and on his last visit to the island he had met a local businessman who was looking to start a rental car company.
This guy owned his own venture capital firm back in Toronto, and funded startups his entire entrepreneurial career. Anyway, from what I gathered, he and this local businessman had hit it off and he was now in Antigua to launch their new rental car business, which would be the only rental car company on the island that provided GPS for free (that is a big deal considering the island had very few street lights and virtually no street signs). He had been the financier of the startup, while the local businessman would be running the operations.
This fellow entrepreneur was in Antigua for the week meeting with some big airliners such as British Airways and Virgin to try and work out marketing deals and travel packages. He and I ended up hanging out quite a bit, and by the end of his trip he had closed a deal with a major airliner. Furthermore, he and I may be working together on a separate venture as it appears we have synergies between two of our businesses.
This example just goes to show that if you keep an open mind, have an eye for opportunity and enjoy meeting new people, vacations can even end up making you a lot of money.
Time to Read
One of my favorite things about beach vacations is that it gives me ample amounts of time to read. I absolutely love to read. It triggers my creativity, and I believe being an avid reader is essential for entrepreneurs. It keeps you up to date with what’s happening in the world, improves your marketing tactics, provides great entertainment, allows you to reflect on what’s important in life, and opens your mind to how other people think (all important for entrepreneurs to improve their businesses).
I work in the publication business. And in order to be a great writer, one must be a great reader. On this last vacation, I finished three books, two of which I highly recommend. They are:
The Health Benefits
Stress can have profound negative effects on our bodies, especially on men. One of the methods doctors use to test healthy testosterone levels in men is in relation to their cortisol levels. If cortisol is high, testosterone can’t be.
Why does this matter?
High natural levels of testosterone have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer in men, as well as disease – like heart disease – while also lowering the likelihood of depression. In short, if you’re stressed, your body isn’t working like it should, and all other areas of your life will be negatively effected, including your ability to focus and work, as a result.
As for women, cortisol also wreaks havoc on their bodies from a hormonal standpoint, as well as their energy. For both sexes, cortisol – a hormone released when we experience stress – needs to be kept in check, and one of the best ways to do this is by taking a vacation, unplugging, and removing yourself from those things that make stress your constant companion.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to throw everything we have at our businesses. It’s just our nature, and it’s not always a bad thing. However, this can negatively impact our personal life and self-improvement. We need to constantly seek balance in our lives. Vacations give us the opportunity to reflect on what’s important, spend time with our loved ones, recharge so that we can be better entrepreneurs, and live a life of fulfillment, not desire. Vacations are a vitally important investment entrepreneurs need to make every year.
P.S. If you have any favorite vacation spots which have given you that rest and relaxation we all need, feel free to share them in the comment section below – I love learning about new places to visit.