Take a Break. Be Vulnerable. Listen.

It’s like running a marathon. Sometimes the last mile before the finish line can be the toughest. In business, for example, we run marathons all the time:  landing that next sale, or onboarding that new team member to free up your time. 

After the marathon, it’s important to recover, stretch, take a break, and have fun. Sometimes I need that reminder too. 

One Saturday morning after an intense week, my own guidance on how to take a break came back to me from my eight-year-old. During the family time after breakfast, we each talked about what we wanted from the day. When I said I was going to do some work on my passion project my son said, “What?! You’re not going to use the computer? You worked so much last week!”

I shared how much I enjoy the work I was about to do. “Okay,” he said. “Why not work one hour, then take a two-hour break?”

I chuckled in agreement. I couldn’t argue. That’s what I would have said to him or one of my teammates. 

It can seem easier to keep the “go-go-go” program running: it may even be comforting. Keep going, work hard, and accomplish those goals. It takes practice to stop, reflect, and restore. 

My family sometimes coaches me. They remind me when I’m pushing the limits without breaks. When they see my listening and acknowledging their observations without being defensive or feeling guilty, our bond is reinforced. 

I was able to hear their thoughts…because I asked them. I asked us to all share what we wanted out of the weekend. I was vulnerable and open to their input and concerns. 

We ended up having lots of fun, and my passion project got done. I didn’t have to fit my work into the day; my family helped me create space to do it guilt-free. I love this quote from Brene Brown:

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive substance and strength from the relationship.” 

I practice this connection with family and the teams with whom I work. When we courageously connect on this level at home and at work, we grow. 

If you need to force-fit tasks in a day, I encourage you to ask your family what they want and share what you want. The secret? Be vulnerable. Express your needs. Listen to theirs.