For many of us, August is a time for some rest, time to cast off.
How about making good use of those few weeks? How can we use our break in order to benefit the most and return to our daily work re-energised, happier and able to connect better and more wisely?
Here, I want to focus on a few things that can stimulate our thinking and increase our focus (and happiness) once we’re back to our daily work after the break:
- Think “people”, not “activities” or “things”: as we spend time to re-assess what we do and how we do it, the summer break gives us a wonderful opportunity to re-think our lives in terms of “people“, not “things”. It’s not what we do that matters the most. Rather, it’s whose needs we address, who we do what we do with. “It’s Not the How or the What but the Who“, as Claudio Fernández-Aráoz’s most recent book summarises so well.
- Re-think our connections and make a list of people that inspire us the most: I often enjoy discussing with my guests about this and ask them: “How many people have you known, in your life?”. Answers to that vary from “A few dozen” to the bravest, who dare say “Maybe a thousand?” Reality, though, is a lot more. Most of us highly underestimate the value of relationship and connection. Someone living their life in professional services, since their mid thirties, is more likely to have known, in the broadest sense of the meaning, between four and in some cases as many as ten thousand people (think about all the people we’ve known during our school life, then the university, then our colleagues at work…). CEOs of large companies have known several tens of thousands of people. We live a life of overexposure to connecting, not the opposite. Hence, we need to sharpen the focus:“How many, of those thousand people, are those I like, those who can inspire me, those I find satisfaction in connecting with?” Let’s write those few names (10 to 20) down, on a piece of paper, in a moment of rest.
- Act on this list and those people, connect with them, let them know they inspire us (and we care): that much smaller and more precious list is a starting point for greater focus (and happiness) in our daily life. I want these people to know they are on my list. These are people I want to connect with regularly, people whose advice and inspiration I want and need to seek regularly, as soon as the break ends if not now. The few weeks of our summer break can thus open up an entirely new element, which we’ve kept unconscious for so long.
People, not what we do, will make us happy. If these few weeks of vacation help us realise this, they can highly increase our long-term happiness and improve self-awareness for many years to come.