Our vacation is all but at an end, as is our time together in the US. My family has had three weeks rest and relaxation – I worked the first week. As ever, time has gone past in an instant. But as I sit, take a moment and think about all the things we have done, the people we have seen and the fun we have had, then I smile and I feel good. These are precious times and precious moments. And I get to spend them with people who are most precious to me.
Vacations always surprise me – it never ceases to surprise me that I only realize I need a vacation when I am actually on vacation. Prior to that moment, I tend to be focused on whatever work and opportunity is in front of me…so much so that I don’t engage in thinking about being away from work, let alone being on holiday!
I always give myself goals for my vacations…although I have to admit my vacation goals don’t tend to be very SMART since they only involve sleeping more; eating better; being outside longer; having more fun and – above all -making time for people. A big part of my vacation is the opportunity to re-connect with my family. They are on vacation as well and so all of us relaxing, talking and being together is both easy and good.
And although there is always important and interesting stuff going on at work, it is important and interesting to see how well that stuff is handled by colleagues in my absence. Of course it is easy to remain connected these days. And rightly or wrongly I have long since given up worrying about keeping an eye on my email once or twice a day when I am away. And I find that I am more able to relax better at the other times.
But I do also consciously give myself distance from work, and from projects going on at work. And when I do, it never ceases to amaze me how often this space- combined with more time and different stimulation – allows me to think in different ways about projects, ideas and opportunities. For example, I found myself thinking about change over these past three weeks.
And I came to a not very startling conclusion – that change is different from uncertainty. Uncertainty is when we only have limited knowledge of future outcome. Conversely change only starts when we have additional knowledge of the future. This seemed obvious but it also seemed to be important…not least since I find coping with uncertainty to be harder than coping with change.
My learned approach to uncertainty is to first accept that most everything I do is associated with some degree of uncertainty. I don’t know what time I will wake up tomorrow morning let alone the specifics of how our company will look in a year. Yet I know that when faced with uncertainty we so much waste time and energy worrying about things – big or small – that we can neither influence nor control. I always try to focus my efforts on events or activities that I can influence or control.
And I have also realized that I like change. Change can be exciting, full of challenge and packed with opportunity. Change brings new colleagues and friends with new ideas, new ways of doing things and new things to do. And above all change always brings unexpected events that turn out better and more satisfying than predicted.
Change provides opportunity to grow, to develop and to deliver.