Back in January, I updated my autoresponder to let everyone know I was taking the month off. I specifically shared that the time away was for me to build an overarching strategic plan for the next year as well as plan ahead for each of my companies for the next three years. Not knowing at the time that just a few months later the whole world would be changing, I returned from this time away feeling refreshed and recharged. Obviously much has changed since then, but I still strongly feel the value of this time away. It was not a vacation. It was a much-needed clarity break.
It’s sort of like what often happens when new clients start working with me. Frequently, within a few weeks of beginning our work together, clients come to realize they have been operating on repeat. They’ve been doing the same thing week after week and wondering why they are not growing or achieving different results. They have gotten in their own way, or, rather, the world has. They cannot see the future for the present. In other words, they are lacking clarity.
During my clarity break, I was able to remove myself from the demands of my companies and step fully into my visionary role, imagining the future completely unrestricted. I returned to our vision for the company and reviewed the path we had traveled for the past year. I gave myself time to decide what we wanted to do with the future.
Just like my clients, clarity was exactly what I needed.
For me, that meant taking a month away. Does it need to be a month? Not necessarily, but here’s some perspective. In comparison, I spend 10 months of the year doing. During those months, I allot about 30 minutes every week for reviewing progress and checking in on our strategic plan. I also take a month out of the year for my family. So taking one full month, just 30 days out of 365, to intentionally evaluate, imagine, and create that purposeful strategic plan doesn’t feel like a lot to me. It still leaves me plenty of time for implementation, plus family time and time for myself.
So much energy is poured out in the creation and growth of a company. But when and how does that energy get restored and poured back in? A clarity break is an excellent answer. Taking time away from your company allows you to expand and clarify vision. It also helps shift your perspective on internal operations. By removing myself from the tasks and projects and team communications for a while, I can see where there are gaps in our processes. I can also identify areas where my teams excels without me. Then, when I return with clarity, I can share these insights with the team, and together we can figure out how to improve our processes and teamwork.
If you feel too busy, or if you’re overwhelmed with everything going on right now, it is a great time for a clarity break. Step back, and plan and prepare your company for the next level of success. Decide what it is that will get you there, and make a point to avoid the trap of just doing the same thing day after day, week after week, and so on.
“But Bunny,” you may be thinking, “didn’t you lose clients by being away from your business for so long?” Nope. We actually gained additional clients as word spread that I was taking my own advice, exercising work-life alignment to create strategic business growth. Why? Well, we’ve all heard doctors make the worst patients… that the landscaper’s lawn always needs mowing… that the painter’s house is peeling. Right? Far too often we do so much for our clients and put our own needs last (I know of a website company that has not updated their own web content in over three years – when I asked, they said they were just too busy to do it). When people realized I was practicing what I preach, it reinforced my message. It made people pay attention, and ultimately we got more business because of it.
While you are reflecting and strategizing on your clarity break, don’t worry about the competition gaining on you. Whatever they are doing while you are planning will be nothing but a short term gain. Your success lies beyond a temporary win. It lies in the long term benefit of investing in the strategy of your company.
Not a CEO? You don’t have to be to gain from a solid clarity break. Teams and individuals at all levels can and should benefit. Encourage your team to take time away, and schedule time once they’re back for them to share what they realized and gained. Every company is made of people, and people need clarity and freedom to be the best version of themselves.
Sick leave is to get healthy. Vacations are for family and friends. Paid time off covers both as well as other emergency bases. And clarity time is an intentional break away that allows you to get clear on how you can reach your next level and fulfill your purpose.