Why Leadership and Business Owners Should Take Time for Self-Care?
Do you ever get tired of listening to yourself talk about something you’re going to do… someday?
It’s been 11 years since I’ve been to Tuscany. And on that last trip, there was a genuine longing and knowing that I’d be back. I just had absolutely no idea it would take this long for a return, which breaks my heart but also has fueled my fire to make every moment of this next journey count. I’ve been talking about returning for 11 years, and I’m finally making that trip back.
The need for business owners and leaders to “unplug”…
As a business owner or leader, there is something about traveling, getting away and “unplugging”, that is not only compelling but incredibly healing to the soul. If you are good at what you do and genuinely enjoy your work, it’s an even more powerful need – to be still once in a while and reconnect with yourself. I am drawn to the clients I work with because of their passion and desire to serve others and make a difference in this world, one day and one conversation at a time. I relate to them and have great compassion for them. But I’ve learned that sometimes, in that quest for excellence and service, we lose track of ourselves. This is especially true for the women I work with on a daily basis.
Running a business, running a family, tending to a partner/spouse and the needs of the kids, no matter what their age, maintaining relationships with family members and friendships, always seems to come first. It can derail our personal goals of simple well being. As the years go by I have witnessed my own ebb and flow of a growing coaching and consulting practice while my own children grow and become independent. I became masterful at neglecting my own need to “unplug” and reconnect with myself. And I know I’m not alone.
Returning to Tuscany alone feels like a calling for me, as if I’m returning home. This time feels a little more like a pilgrimage, because not only am I seeking to reconnect with that woman from 11 years ago, and picking up the crumbs I may have left in a couple little towns called Montalcino and Montepulciano, I have set new intentions for making this journey possible for others. It isn’t a coincidence that dozens of people (clients and friends) have shared their secret passion to take a trip like this, to feed their souls and reconnect with themselves. So now, I have a purpose to go back, and I have to jump off this ledge first! (I know, I know…someone’s got to do it!)
Most people don’t know this, but when I purchased my ticket to Florence several months ago, I only purchased a one-way ticket. I had fumbled across one of my Goal Cards, which I had written several years ago, that states, “I travel often and I am able to spend at least 1 month in Tuscany every spring.”
It made me incredibly sad and unaccountable that this goal had not yet been realized. After all, I am a business owner (an Executive Coach, no less!) who is in complete control of my own destiny, right!? The only one responsible for me not realizing my dreams is that girl staring back in the mirror. And I was getting really sick and tired of hearing myself say, “some day….I’ll return to Tuscany. Maybe I’ll live there part-time when the boys are grown”…..
I suddenly had one of those “what the fuck!?” moments, pulled out my laptop, scanned my calendar for the most convenient of all inconvenient times to get away, and hit SEND on the purchase. That was it. I was going. Tears started streaming down my face because I did this in complete isolation. I didn’t ask anyone’s permission, I didn’t tell anyone my plan, I kept this little secret to myself for what felt like a really long time. Feeling a little guilty (yes, I grew up Catholic), I finally told a couple of really close friends whom I knew would champion my idea. I finally told my mother, whom I knew would be worried about my idea. And I asked my for my sons’ blessings, because I’d be away for a short time and needed to make sure they were OK with this idea. Of course….all predictions unfolded, and I got 100% support and encouragement for leaving the country ALONE for a short while. But I still had to purchase my return ticket, which is another story for another time…
I won’t be gone a full month, but a half-month. This was an easy compromise. The return-ticket gives me 15 days to explore and research and write, and pick up some of those bread crumbs I left behind last time I was there. And due to all of the incredible feedback and requests to make this journey with me next time, I’ve decided to create a Women’s Retreat that will be based in Tuscany. The first event will be in the spring of 2018. Might you be there with me?
I know it isn’t only the business owners that I work with who feel this same sense of longing for self-care and reconnecting with that younger, more vibrant, anything-is-possible person whom we used to be. Anyone who is a Leader at home, or at work, and in life, gets it. And immersing yourself in the Italian way of being really present in every moment, savoring a beautiful hours-long meal at a table that is only yours for the evening, standing at a cliff’s edge to admire and take in the remarkable view and feeling the senses that envelop you, these are not just gifts, but moments that help to remind us of this one precious life that is ours; unique and for the taking.
What is it that holds you back from tending to your own self-care and well being? I challenge you to join me in taking your own leap! Who knows…maybe I’ll see you in Tuscany.