July 6, 2011

On Being a Tourist Once in a While

A few days ago I wrote about my trip to Armenia to visit our team in Yerevan in A Tourist in Armenia. For the first time ever, I decided to take some time off while on the road. I thought I would share with you how I came to the conclusion that it was a good idea.

Work Hard, Don't Play

In my business trips I do not take the time to tour. Business is business; this is how I was raised! So in my five previous trips to Armenia, I had never really taken the time to see anything but a few landmarks in the city. Well this time I decided to do things a little differently. I put aside a full weekend to tour the countryside a bit.

Usually when I travel I pack in as much as I can in as little time as possible. I travel about the equivalent of 33% of my time and I enjoy it. At the same time I really love to be home with my family. On the road I'm all business and I drive the machine hard.  I love making business happen, I love meeting with customers and discussing where they see there business going. The days start bright and early and they wrap up late and it's all good.

In February this year I came to understand the meaning of the sentence that Carlos Fox uses all the time, "You're no use to anyone if you're sick or dead!". I had what is called a significant health event; I'm happy to say I'm all good now. Out of this experience came a few resolutions. One of the resolutions I came to with Manon is that it's OK when I travel to not always drive the pedal to the metal.

I have always been a big fan of red-eye flights or doing everything I can to arrive home in time to wake up with the family or leave as late as possible so I can be there to put them to bed. My motto used to be optimize everything so that I can have as much time with the family and the business; sleep is for other people! Well this February's health event put it fair and square in front of me; balance matters.

What Did the Tourist Get Out Of It?

Because of the touring time I allowed myself I was given the chance to:
  • see many wonderful things that many people have not had the opportunity to see;
  • share stories and spend time with some of the people on our Armenian team that I would not have had the opportunity to do if I'd not had this time;
  • enjoy my trip more than before because of the additional dimension I added to it.
The Moral Tourist!

February made us realize, Manon and I, that I was driven by two things:  business goals and family values. Hey as they say, I'm no use to anyone if I'm sick or dead! Amen to that brother.

All that time I was driving those two principles at the expense of allowing my batteries to recharge.  Leading a good life is being good at making decisions for me AND my family, AND my work. My life success has many dimensions, it's my health, it's a happy family, it's full filling work, and they all build from each other.

Nicklaus, the great champion of golf, used to say don't forget to smell the flowers in between shots!
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