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Rest, recharge, and repeat

I just conducted an Internet search to see if an old boss of mine was the originator of a quote he repeated back to me years ago. While I never found my answer, the quote resonated with me.

I was just 24 years old and already struggling with my work-life balance—which sounds trivial now since that was well before the spouse, kids, and mortgage came along. During a heart-to-heart conversation with this old boss, he said a mouthful of words that have stuck with me ever since: “Never come back from a vacation without having your next one planned.”

I remember thinking that was good advice because it gives you something to look forward to. However, that is easier said than done, but a good goal to shoot for. The reality is, hours of focused work turns into days, which turns into weeks, which turns into months. And before you know it, life can get out of balance and you become a prisoner of your own business. Admittedly, there have been times where I have been guilty of this.

No clearer the revelation was when my 6-year-old daughter came home with a school project to proudly deliver to me for Father’s Day. On it were a series of questions that she answered describing her father along with some colorful artwork. It was a cute piece that I could tell she put a lot of work into. Sadly, I got down to the prompt of “My daddy likes to:” and the answer instantly filled my eyes with tears.

She had written down in her awkward 6-year-old handwriting, “W-O-R-K” and my heart sank. This isn’t exactly the memory I want to leave my daughters with. I had to stop and ask myself, “What am I doing?” I knew then something needed to change.

We, as a family, decided to take our “off time” a bit more seriously. We now have family meetings around the dinner table to discuss our plans for the summer and I find that just the discussion helps me stay grounded and keep things into perspective.

I also try to do the little things as well, such as working out of my home when I can, being home when the girls come home from school, or taking five minutes to actually walk them into school. These little things are a big deal for both of us, and I hope it’s making a difference.

As it so happens, that advice I heard when I was just starting my career turned out to be pretty good after all—I guess I just forgot the real meaning for a while.

Rest, recharge, and repeat.


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