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October 12, 2021

Thinking Vacation

"Flash forward 15 years later and one amazing wife to hold down the fort, I finally took a mini thinking vacation (36 hours) and escaped to the Crossroads Hotel."

I am an extroverted introvert. On the outside I absolutely crave people, excitement - some may call it chaos and I'm driven to please others. At the end of the day however I love my alone time and am more comfortable than Britni would like, being by myself. I sit here on a Sunday afternoon typing away as everyone is napping and if I had a personal 'happy place', sitting at this table with my books, computer and music would be it.

This is why for over 15 years ago I've been fantasizing (wrong word I know but hear me out) about taking a thinking vacation. Me, books, legal pads = glory. I originally read about how Bill Gates famously takes a trip out into the woods each year for up to 2 weeks where he has no contact with the outside world aside from an assistant who brings him lunch and dinner. This was at the time the leader of one of the largest companies in the world (still one of the largest companies in the world, he's just no longer leading it) who placed such a priority on focus time I figured there has to be something to it.

Flash forward 15 years later and one amazing wife to hold down the fort, I finally took a mini thinking vacation (36 hours) and escaped to the Crossroads Hotel.

It was everything I could have dreamed of yet there were some surprises. Most notably, it took tremendous resolve to disconnect from the world and connect with yourself. I struggled the first 6 hours of the day turning on and off airplane mode on all my devices. I found myself wanting to 'do' much more than 'think' which is what the target of the exprience. I started at Whole Foods which is a very productive place for me and I was rev'd up. From there I checked in to my hotel and then got to the real business of reading, note taking and writing.

I'm usually early to bed yet found myself reading until 11pm (which is insane if you know me). As those who regularly get up early know, there was no sleeping in and I was up and running a bit after 4am as I had to get back and coach a couple classes. The retreat resumed again at 7am and rolled until 4pm on Friday.

Here are my takeaways. - We all need to disconnect to reconnect. To my surprise, you really don't miss anything by being 'off grid' for a while.

- I check email way too much

- Focused reading time is a gift from God we should all embrace

- Airplane mode should be turned on when you're engaged with the people around you

- If I did not book a hotel room (financially invest in the day), I would not have followed through. Meaning I would have put it on the calendar and then found excuses to fill up the day with appointments or would have said 'yes' to too many things thus pushing off the opportunity for solo time.

Grit, Meetings Suck, Never Lose a Customer, and listened to Drive + started Sea Stories. This would otherwise be about a week of reading for me (I try to average a book per week).

My original thinking after learning of these “thinking vacations” was “I cannot afford to take that time away”. In as much as I want to be around as much as possible, my major take away is that I NEED to make time for myself. The plan going forward is to find pockets of time - Take 2-4 hours off of my calendar, turn off the phone, grab a legal pad, a book and just let it pour out.

We may not be able to take 2 weeks off like Bill Gates however we can all afford 2 hours to clear our heads, read a book, and press the reset button.

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