Adventures with integrity of being excellence – the vacation
Today was day three of vacation with the family. As a creator who both declares himself to be excellence, and loves what I do, I find myself with tons of ideas and a sense of urgency to get them down on paper. My body almost vibrates with excitement to get something useful for work done. But I am on vacation. I have a son who is at a farm near the ocean and who is even more excited to pet the pony and jump in the sea. I have a wife who is desperately in need of some silence and relaxation. With this backdrop, I feel a sense of frustration that oozes from deep within me: a frustration about not being able to make concrete my ideas, not be able to write, or produce a video, or do some research - but again, I am on a planned vacation.
I expect this is a situation that many people find themselves, especially entrepreneurs. The question that most people tend to focus on is “How do you find appropriate ways to get work done while on family vacation?”. But this is the wrong question as many of the answers are just about justifying your thoughts and making you feel better about your behaviors.
These answers include:
1. Wait til the kids take their naps, and send your wife to a class or something and then do it..
2. Send the kids with their mom to do some fun activity, and then do it…
3. Stay at places with other kids so your kids will be having fun and busy, and your wife can go to a yoga class or get a massage, and then you can do it…
Each of these ideas is more about finding a way to have an excuse to get off the hook – off the hook from being excellence on vacation with your family. One of the easy mistakes with a declared being of excellence that can turn itself into a terrible trap, is to think excellence is around execution of professional goals, or to think it is about keeping your promises on things like helping a friend move, or fixing something around the house. Or one of the most deceptive is that you are doing it for your wife and kids, so they can be safe, comfortable, etc, etc, etc.
When excellence is a declared being, it applies to all things equally. This means, when you are on vacation with your family, the other thoughts driving your emotions and behaviors are in your way – even if they disguise themselves as excellence.
If you are honest with yourself, you realize that it was you who decided, or agreed to go on vacation. It is you who planned or helped plan this trip. It is you who had a family. If you were truly excellence, you would have made it so that you had no serious issues to manage while on your scheduled vacation, or that, in case there were issues, you had ways to get it managed automatically. If you were truly excellent, you would understand that this vacation is going to be full of priceless moments with your children and wife that will be etched in everyone’s mind and will never be able to be repeated again. Your children will never be that age again, and chances are, you will never return to that same place again – and if you do, it will not be the same place since everyone will be older and different and the experience will not be the same. If you were truly excellence, would you be missing out on such important things? Would you be allowing your brain to come up with such devious excuses to keep you from this once in a lifetime experience?
When this happens to you, it is critical that you stop and ask yourself the following questions. So, what does excellence look like when on vacation with your family? How does it exude itself? How will others (your wife and kids and that weird stranger that feels the need to observe you and say something about it) describe you when you have full integrity with a declared being of excellence on vacation? These are the appropriate questions to ask yourself. And there are no pre-set answers to this. That being said, my own answers to those questions are as follows.
For me, me being Excellence on vacation looks like cultivating an internal sense of enjoyment while doing things with my family, which means pushing out any oozing frustration from my automatic brain. It exudes itself by being with my wife and kids and redirecting my creative wandering brain towards being present with them. It looks to others like a lack of computer and phone use. It looks to others, and feels like to me that I am in a special bubble with my family that is isolated from the rest of whatever is happening in the world…and then maybe, if I have the remaining energy, it looks like me staying up late at night, after everyone is exhausted, and writing down my ideas, and maybe writing a blog exactly like this one in the hopes of inspiring others to find and go beyond their sneaky brains deceptions and allow them to have integrity with their declarations and live a life they love.