Taking R&R

Indian Shores, FL, January 2023

My wife and I just took a vacation. This trip was different. Our typical vacation up until now, especially because it included our children, was usually filled with a full agenda of fun activities that led to cherished memories. This particular vacation was truly about R&R, which in the military means rest and recuperation. To fully rest and recuperate, it was necessary that I fully disengage from work, and I focused considerable energy to make sure my team could carry on while I was away. That was our focus, and we were indeed successful. It was worth the effort to disengage and embrace all that came with R&R mentally.

Investing time in R&R is an excellent application of Principle 7:

Agile Best Self Principle #7: Investing the time in yourself is the primary measure of progress.

Since getting back into the realities of my work world, I have spent some time thinking about the return on that investment and why I should start planning the next R&R trip. Here is why I think it’s important to plan this into your year and stick to it even if you get busy. Actually, especially when you get busy.

  1. Improved job performance: Taking a break from work can help increase your productivity and job performance. Time off can help you avoid burnout, reduce stress, and increase creativity and motivation. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, taking time away increases the likelihood of getting a job promotion.
  2. Better health: Regular time off can help improve physical and mental health by reducing stress, improving sleep, and allowing you to engage in physical activity and relaxation.
  3. Better relationships: Spending time with loved ones and creating memories can improve personal relationships, foster stronger bonds, and lead to a more fulfilling personal life.
  4. Increased life satisfaction: Regular vacations have been shown to increase happiness and overall life satisfaction. Taking time off allows you to pursue your passions, try new experiences, and broaden your perspectives.
  5. Better work-life balance: A busy schedule can often lead to a lack of work-life balance, with work taking over other aspects of life. Taking time off can help restore balance and give you a fresh perspective on the priorities in your life.

So, when are you planning to take your R&R? I am already planning my next one.

I hope this inspires you to get your calendar out and start making plans. Just the activity of planning helps me by putting that date out there and looking forward to it.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

You Are Awesome

Not too long ago, I had the privilege of reconnecting with some great friends as a part of a larger community focused on a worthy cause.  I had not been in the same space with these people since 2019, the summer before the pandemic.  We were playing in a golf tournament using a scramble format, which means all four of us hit from the tee, and then the team plays from the spot of the best shot, and so on until the team holes a putt.  When the team is on the green putting, you ideally don’t want to put pressure on the last person to make the putt.  On this day, for some reason, we were jokingly referring to this problem as making the others superfluous by holing the putt.  At first, I couldn’t even successfully get the word out of my mouth, probably because I was already giggling before I finished saying the word. Not the best form in front of two of my teammates that are professional executive communications coaches. 

What a fun day. I laughed a lot more than I have in a long time, and it felt great.

July 2022 – BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation Golf Tourney with my friends (L to R) Chris, Tim, and Chad

The word superfluous stuck with me over the last few days as I observed that the world we are living in hasn’t gotten any less volatile, uncertain, complex, or ambiguous (as an acronym, it is commonly known as VUCA).  The velocity of VUCA has not slowed down, and it likely will not anytime soon.

I have wondered lately if, at times, people feel superfluous, and vulnerable.  I know it has happened to me as of late.  The inner critic is at work again, like a soundtrack playing in the brain. It led me to decide to change the narrative to create my own inner advocate.

I decided to apply Agile Best Self Principle 12. For our Scrum nerds reading this, it was my own retrospective. The point of the activity was building my resiliency by reconnecting to who I am and how I have impacted others. You could even try it with a team in a sprint retrospective.

Agile Best Self Principle #12: At regular intervals, reflect on how to become your best self, then tune and adjust.

I think it’s really important to start from a position of strength, over vulnerability or weakness to build our resiliency. Personally, I started collecting my strengths and impacts I have made in other people’s lives. In doing so, I realized that no matter where I am, there is something I can do to “make the room better” rather that thinking about what I can’t do. Using your North Star, from our Agile Best Self North Star workshop really helped because that added authenticity to it. Think about filling in the <blanks> to this statement:

I was <your North Star> when I <showed up authentically in some way> and as a result this <awesome thing> happened!

Example: I was a light when I shared an Agile Best Self North Star with Michaele to my co-workers and one year later “Jane” shared that she still uses the drawing she created to connect daily with her North Star.

Now imagine reading a longer list of these statements, isn’t that powerful? It helped remember my ability to make a difference by showing up as my best self. Quite the opposite to feeling superfluous. Even in VUCA times, there is much we can all do to make a difference with others.

I hope you give it a try.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

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