It is a summer Saturday night at dusk in Denver. A warm breeze is blowing, I have a beer in my hand and boots on my feet. The mountains are to the west and the energy of the crowd around is electric. Kenny Chesney is on stage and I see pictures of the ocean, the beach, beer and flip flops on the jumbo-tron. He is singing Reality and I hear these words deep down like I never have before, they went straight to my core….in particular the verse singing “everybody needs to break free from reality”! In that moment I decide I’m leaving town, I need a vacation. In four years since being a business owner of a start-up, I need a break. All the stress, all the risk, all the decisions, the plans, the constant pressure and I knew in order to move forward, I needed to stop and be still.
I had taken trips, but I always worked. I never disconnected completely. A 5 day vacation may not seem like much. However, to a small business owner who has never disconnected from reality, it was a big thing! I had every intention of no cell phone, no facebook, no email, no Internet, no TV, no text , no calls. I planned to check out of my present reality. Forget about everything. No plans, nothing to do and nowhere to be. I booked my first solo trip.
My head is swimming with ideas and thoughts most of the time. I wondered if I could shut that off and swim in the ocean instead. I wondered if I could be alone with only my thoughts for the entire trip or if I would give in and make contact back home. It was my own personal challenge. What a great challenge it ended up to be. I did it. I turned off everything. I felt refreshed, relaxed, and free. I think the people in California wondered who is this chick wandering around town with a HUGE smile on her face, she must be crazy?!
I worked out, I went to the beach, laid around, swam, hiked, took surfing lessons, and bellied up to beach bars. I slept for 12 hours every night and enjoyed every bit of doing absolutely nothing. I asked myself some tough questions, and with nothing to hear but the crashing waves I answered those tough questions. I set some business goals and personal goals for the future. I reflected a bit on my past, what I have learned.
Deep down the most prevalent thought that continued to appear was gratitude. I found myself overwhelmingly grateful for everything and everyone in my life. I felt inspired and motivated to be true to myself, my values, and my beliefs. I was so full of joy and peace; I realized giving up control was OK. I was able to stop thinking about the business and enjoy the present moment.
It was a test to leave the business in the hands of someone else. I passed. I still had a business when I returned. Jobs were booked and completed, life went on as normal. I did conclude I have a lot of work ahead to get the business to the point where I would like. I figure small steps in the right direction will get me there. I’ve also determined those small steps will certainly include more beaches, boats, beers and vacations!