It’s taken me years to realize how much a holiday feeds the soul. Within a few hours from home, schedule, to-do lists, household & work admin, you approach the world from another viewpoint.
I’m writing this from Spain where I’m staying with a friend who is training to be a Life Coach. Along with our personal catching-up, we’ve spent hours talking about energy influences, anchoring, choices and how as educators, we are often very skilled at enabling the growth of those in our care, yet often omit applying the same ‘needs based’ standards to ourselves!
As I type from the shade of a rooftop balcony, with mountains in the distance and bird and cricket song bounding off the walls all around, the ‘distance’ from my regular schedule calls me to capture some of what, after just 2 days away has transpired.
So a holiday = total stop, or does it? I wonder what it means to you?
When I’m on the road, I find that I like to write and it is often during the R & R when ideas solidify. ‘Mental space’ is created which allows words to flow, once I’ve had some new sensory and environmental input.
The concept of ‘changing perspective’ by being in a different environment is powerful here I think. Before I headed off on vacation I was talking through a new project, which viewed through my own eyes, created a single vision. When I talked about it someone else in the role of ‘soundboard’, it provided me with some refreshing key questions that added to my own vision of things.
I was encouraged to add in an extra step – to physically change place. Simply changing chair to the other side of the room while talking, to ‘view’ my ideas from another angle was amazing. It engendered an instant shift in my positional thinking – bringing new perspective.
Lately, I’ve been reading quite a few travel and digital nomad blogs. Travel, in my experience has always widened horizons, bringing with it insight into various cultures and values.
However, ‘new horizons’ don’t necessarily require transatlantic journeys! They can be a new cycle route, drive to work, or neighborhood café. By taking a different path from familiar ones, with an open mind, will always bring something new to your day.
Sometimes a random or unexpected change from any given ‘path’, be it professional or personal, brings a better event. I’ve always held onto that while travelling, when accommodation or plans change, especially in far-flung lands, it has, without fail, resulted in a new adventure that brought enrichment. In a professional context, taking risks, also creates metaphorical new paths.
At work we have an invisible saying above the entrance [©DP 2014] that reads ‘Only imperfect people work here’, acknowledging that it’s a community where mistakes are OK, and encouraged. What we’ve learned from the somewhat tongue-in-cheek motto, is that open dialogue about ‘the didn’t works’ helps to celebrate some of the next steps and reflection that happens as a result.
Being flexible in ones thinking has a similar effect. With students we talk about closed mindset and growth mindset, which over a couple of years has embedded into visible behaviors and active vocabulary. Just wonderful!
So, back to the balcony: our discussions have deep dived into ‘assumptions’ and how we humans make these in a heartbeat, often within the 1st 30 seconds of meeting new people or situations. At airports and sitting on Southern Spanish terraces, I admit, I have to fight assumptions!
Focusing in on what our internal voices tell us is fascinating – if you haven’t ever done so, block yourself a half hour slot to try this, or start with 5 or 10 minutes.
Over dinner one evening in a local restaurant, we featured in the waiters assumptions: we were speaking in the main in English, I spoke to the restaurant team in Spanish about our food, they joked with us and later asked me where I was from. Their assumption was that we were British holiday makers so were surprised to hear, a) one of us lived in the village where we were dining and 2) one of us spoke Spanish, was from UK, but lived in the Netherlands.
The unpredictable backstory always makes for an interesting conversation!
So, every now and again, take a break, move around and look at what’s on your plate with fresh perspective. Sleep, good food, the inimitable impact of #bluesky, and, in my case two weeks catch-up of online coursework on film education, will also help!