How a trip to the beach sourced my leadership

This weekend, the couple I live with and I took their three dogs to the Toronto Islands. Now as a nature lover, living amid a big sprawling city, this was such a delight. These islands are just off the shores of downtown Toronto on Lake Ontario and can be accessed by a quick boat trip across the water. The views back across the water to Downtown Toronto are fantastic:

Finn, the dog and me

Finn, the dog and me

And on the far side of the island, all you can see is miles and miles of water. The beaches are sandy and no cars are allowed on the island. So, locals ride around on their bikes and can be seen travelling home from downtown laden with wooden carts to carry their groceries. Quite an unusual sight amid a city!

I had the best day. 

I came home with sore feet and as a proud ginger, a freckle filled face and slightly red nose. 

The day before, however, I'd been on the fence about going.

The reason being that I felt as though I had so much work to do and there are a lot of results I want to achieve. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have the usual 9 to 5 that a lot of jobs create nor do I have a guaranteed or set salary that flows every month. And given that I enjoy what I do and want to keep doing it, I often feel as though taking time away from my business could mean it will all fall apart.

What if I don’t respond to those emails? Will my client think I don’t give a shit or that I’m lazy?

What if I don’t finish that project I had going by the end of the week? If I don’t work on it now whilst I have the time, I might not get the chance to do it tomorrow?

For me, taking time away from my business often feels like I’m being lazy, ill-disciplined and as if I should feel guilty.

I got stuff to do and going out for the day means I won’t be doing it.

However, I also know that time off is time to re-charge our batteries. And as a trained life and leadership coach, I know it's foundational to everything. In fact, I'm trained to believe that being a leader requires a greater level of care than the care required for those who are not a leader. And as a coach and entrepreneur, I relate to myself as a leader. 

So I went. And I'm 100% glad I did. 

I came home after that day feeling completely reinvigorated with more energy and ideas to put back into my business than I'd had before the trip.                                                                             

My prior relationship to time off: I have to keep going before I can take a break. I don't deserve a break until I've achieved a particular result.

My new relationship to time off: To not just take time off when I feel I've deserved it or when I think I need it but to relate to it as the oxygen my business and leadership need to breathe. 

How about you, what's your relationship to time off? To your well-being? 

If you were to imagine who you are as a leader in your life and the world five years from now, how would you be taking care of you? What would you be doing and who would you be about your self-care on a weekly, monthly and daily basis? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!