I managed to make a vacation happen for myself and my three daughters over spring break. It was somewhat of a last-minute affair, but the stars aligned and I made it happen. Due to flight schedules, we spent two days in Key Biscayne and then ported out of Miami for a seven-day cruise.
I learned a few things and made some observations during this time. Some of these things are obvious, but I felt compelled to write about them, anyway.
Here are six things I learned while on vacation:
#1—Save for retirement.
My family vacation started in Key Biscayne, Florida. I felt like I was living life in a Charles Schwab commercial. I saw retired couples walking hand-in-hand on the beach and retired people driving really nice (and expensive) cars. Top that off with sunshine and 70-degree temperatures every day, and you have the recipe for a great end of life. It’s going to be hard to live “happily ever after” if you’re behind or haven’t made retirement savings a priority.
#2—A “screen detox” is a good thing.
I would lie if I said I wasn’t still on my phone. My cruise ship had an app that I could use to make reservations for excursions and dining. My phone is also my main camera. However, I was NOT on any form of social media, nor did I receive or return any text messages or emails. I actually read a book, went to the gym on the cruise ship, and spent some great time with my kids. At the end of the day, social media is a huge “time suck,” and there are definitely more important things in life.
#3—Sometimes you just have to “Give it to God” or “Let go.”
Running a small business makes it difficult to truly “unplug.” I made the decision that I really needed to do so. My wonderful clients were completely fine with facilitating any follow-up interviews or offers that might have happened while I was out. It’s amazing what people will do if you just ask. It’s great to get to the point in life where you realize that 1.) One week isn’t that long, and 2.) As important as you think you are . . . the world doesn’t fall apart if you aren’t available.
#4—We don’t all speak the same language.
While historically, Americans have demanded that people learn English, South Florida is a different story. The young man ringing me up at the grocery store knew very little English. Times have changed; it seemed the expectation was that I should know Spanish. This also holds true in relationships. Sometimes we can’t always expect others to understand our thinking or even our “language.” There is a great book by Dr. Gary Chapman titled The 5 Love Languages. Many of these principles also apply to the workplace. Do you know what truly motivates your employees? Your boss? Your customers? Are you speaking their “language”?
#5—When in Rome . . .
If you don’t like Latin music, then you had better grow an appreciation of it if you travel to South Florida. Nothing gets a crowd in Miami going faster than a song by Shakira or Enrique Iglesias. Again, there’s a business correlation. Maybe you work in a highly professional business dress environment. If you’re visiting with a customer who’s wearing jeans and flip flops, it probably makes sense to “dress down” a little when you meet with that customer. Having the ability to “mirror” a customer and adapt to their environment is critical.
#6—Life is a party.
I love the lyrics to the song I Hope you Dance. Life is a party. Why sit and watch others have fun? Jump in . . . who cares if you look silly. Don’t be afraid! I am not advocating having too many drinks at the company Christmas party and doing a table dance, but why not join your kids on the dance floor for the “Chicken Dance”?