It’s mid-summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that here in the Washington, D.C. area, we are experiencing the full combination of heat, humidity, and holidays!
The heat and humidity are easy to find; just open the door to experience them!
The holidays are less visible; there seem to be fewer meetings as people are away on vacation over the summer. And there’s one’s own break to prepare for, enjoy, and then, all too soon, to long for once again.
This palpable sense of a shift in energy from the routine and pace experienced during the rest of the year reminded me of this saying:
A change is as good as a holiday!
I disagree with this statement. Especially If it is understood to mean that a change (in routine, in habits, in roles) brings the equivalent refreshment and rejuvenation of taking a holiday.
As a change practitioner, I want to offer a different take:
Holidays are good for change!
We all work hard throughout the year. Sometimes, this is due to the context of our work and the professional roles we play. We are all too familiar, in the age of smartphones and the ubiquitous internet, with the challenge of really stepping away from our work.
And sometimes it’s due to more personal drivers… Our ambition, our sense of quality, the trust we have in others, our willingness to delegate or ask for help.
I want to embrace this idea that holidays are good. They are good for us. And they are good for change.
This is not about ‘leave’ or ‘Paid Time Off.’ It’s about deliberately taking time away from work and all our routines and habits, from following the patterns of what we do when we stay in a familiar place.
Holidays are good for change. Having different experiences, being in new places and situations. Free from the demands of the clock and the internet. Having time to get lost, or to follow an unmarked road to see where it leads. Not rushing to ‘get’ somewhere, but instead allowing time to ‘be.’
Do you have holidays like this? What do you learn in these experiences?
I have been fortunate over the last two summers to visit two very different countries on holiday… Mexico and Greece. In both settings, I was out of my element. I did not speak the language in either (I could barely read the signs in Greece!). I chose a local base in each country and explored nearby places, rather than attempting to cover a broad region.
These holidays brought many unexpected delights. Experiencing local cuisine. Exploring unfamiliar landscapes. Meeting new people. Encountering novel flora and fauna. Being introduced to places I did not know of, and appreciating the slower pace of life.
Having recently returned from time in Athens and Crete, I’m left wondering… Why do we so often restrict these experiences to our holidays? Why don’t we invite our inner explorer home with us? How do we make space throughout the year for that part of us that loves to sit and watch the sunset?
Can we extend this spirit of inquiry and questioning when we return home?
Do we look critically at how we spend our time at work and ask ourselves… “Why do we settle for this? How can we invite greater appreciation, more exploration, a slower sense of time, more enjoyment?”
Because then we can really begin to value this statement:
Holidays are good for change!
They enable us to not just be refreshed (rested), but also rejuvenated (renewed, to be made youthful, to have vigor again). To see things with fresh eyes and to have the energy to disrupt old patterns and to establish new routines and habits that will serve us throughout the year.
How are your holidays ‘good for change’?
Drop me a line and share your experience!
Until next time,
I’m enjoying taking some time to read some new books and revisit old favorites. I think you will enjoy them too!
Karolin Helbig and Minette Norman (2023) – “The Psychological Safety Playbook: Lead More Powerfully by Being More Human.” At last! Accessible, practical, and relevant, this short book is filled with practical exercises and tips for building a workspace that promotes psychological safety—the foundation of trust and many other enablers in effective organizations and change processes. (Amazon link)
Tsedal Neeley (2021) – “Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding From Anywhere.” An in-depth exploration of what enables remote work. Based on extensive research, this practical book tackles the questions and concerns of managers and team leaders to reveal how to succeed with remote work. (Amazon link)
Kursat Ozenc and Margaret Hagan (2019) – “Rituals for Work: 50 Ways to Create Engagement, Shared Purpose and a Culture that Can Adapt to Change.”
A wonderful introduction to the power of Ritual at work – a structured, repeated activity that has symbolism and meaning for a group. Explores 50 different ways rituals can be used in meetings, in conflict, for performance, building teams, and during times of change and transition. (Amazon link)
James Clear (2018) – “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones.” Small, repeated, actions can lead to remarkable results. This book provides resources and tools to help sustain us on the path to developing new ‘good’ habits and helps us understand and limit the influence of ‘bad’ habits. (Amazon link)
William Bridges and Susan Bridges (2017) – “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.” 4th Edition. A classic and an evergreen favorite! Shows how change begins with letting go (of the old), and is frequently followed by a time of uncertainty, waiting for the promised new to arrive and prove itself. (Amazon link)
Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnson (2015) – “Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders.” Accessible introduction for leaders who work in complex, ambiguous situations (i.e., all of us!). They illustrate how three simple habits can have a powerful effect on how leaders guide their organizations in times of change. (Amazon link)
If you’d like help leading change, please drop me a line and we’ll set up a meeting to see how Randel Consulting Associates can help.