Strong and Majestic

I’m not big into fishing. Over the last several years, I have joined a group of men from my church to go on an annual fishing trip. I do it, not for the fishing per se, but for the opportunity to be in fellowship with some great guys, get away from my day-to-day routine, and the stress that sometimes goes with it. As I have gotten older, I think this has become more and more important. The chance to revisit the memories of trips past, plus creating new ones is so helpful for my overall happiness and mental health. For me, I think this creates an opportunity to be open to new ideas and inspirations that I can bring back, which can be much more life-changing than the fish that were caught (and, by the way, we caught our limit!).

This year, we decided to level up the experience by booking a trip to a fishing resort in Ontario, Canada. Anderson’s Lodge, near a town called Sioux Lookout, provided an all-inclusive, guided fishing experience on Lac Suel Lake. Other people I know have visited this lodge or others like it, so we were all excited for what was to come.

Fishing Trip crew from June 2023
Fishing Trip Crew, June 2023. From L to R, Zack (our guide), Dan, Brian, Jim, and Matt

The experience did not disappoint. Having a guide, who knew how to navigate the lake and understood where to find fish was critically important. Lac Suel is a huge lake, with many islands and bays, and it would have been challenging to do this without our guide Zack. Zack is a young guy, who really loves the outdoors, and approached his job as a guide with great passion and enthusiasm. While we were on the lake he was in continuous motion, driving the boat, checking our jigging technique, making sure we had bait on our hooks, helping us to land our fish, and cooking our amazing shore lunch from scratch. Not to mention the over 200 fish we caught over two amazing days on the lake.

Zack was also great at engaging us in conversation. Over our two days on the lake, he shared many stories about fishing on Lac Suel, and his experiences as a guide. I learned a lot from him. He told one story, which I heard only part of, about a fellow guide. This man was from the Ojibwe nation, and one morning on the dock Zack asked him how he was doing that day. The man responded, “I am strong and majestic.”

This simple story stuck with me throughout the whole trip. I was inspired to unpack it a bit. The more I thought about it, the more I feel that this mindset could be useful to me in my work and life.

This is what the Agile Best Self Intention Canvas workshop is all about – putting into words how we might regularly show up to work and life. Take those words and apply them to a situation asking ourselves, “How might I show up as strong and majestic in this situation?”

This is also an application of Agile Best Self Principle 12.

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

What might happen if I chose to show up “strong and majestic” more frequently? That’s the experiment I can’t wait to get into when I return to work next week. Will the outcomes change? Will my energy level change? What about the quality of my inner dialogue? I predict good things ahead.

Another key point about Principle 11 to look at is the intentionality about setting the stage that lets these insights and inspirations enter our minds and hearts. It had a lot to do with the fact that I was relaxed, away from my day-to-day happenings, which created the conditions where I could receive the gift of inspiration where otherwise it just may have been missed.

Thanks, guys, for a great trip. May we have many, many more.

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

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