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Posted: August 18, 2014

Four lessons from vacation

What you get out of your down time is up to you

Theresa M. Szczurek

This is vacation time. It's a time to break your normal routine and go on holiday.

What Do You Want from a Vacation?

Rest, rejuvenation, perspective, assessment, new ideas, mental stimulation, reduced stress, fun and laughter, physical exercise, adventure, learning, time with loved ones, a way to contribute, ways to make new connections, reaffirmation of your values and more. It's up to you.

I just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip with my 18-year-old daughter to Europe. The trip was part reward for Annie's high school graduation and part exploration of the World Centre of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts or www.wagggs.org).

Four Practical Pointers from Travel

BE OPEN AND BE FLEXIBLE. Annie had been raising money for two years to go to the India Centre in Sangam. She sold thousands of boxes of Girl Scout cookies and wrapping paper, led outdoor skills day camps as fundraisers, and even applied for (and won) a Look Wider International Travel Scholarship from the Girl Scouts of Colorado Council. This council-wide trip to Sangam did not come together as planned. So in February, Annie and I regrouped, assessed the situation, and concluded — why not go as a mother / daughter team to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in the UK? By being flexible with a broader vision, we pivoted and took action to go to Europe. We're glad we did!

Here was the Attraction Strategy at work. Hold a broad intention and be open to opportunities that are everywhere, while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want. How can you attract an alternative solution when you're stuck?

PACK LIGHTLY. Note that packing includes your attitude as well as your bag. Once you've packed your bag, evaluate if you really need each item, and reduce by at least one third. Pack even lighter. Oh how we wish we would have done this on our Europe trip.

We arrived at 7:00 p.m. by train in Bern, Switzerland, the lovely capital, after a long traveling day that started in Iceland at 6:00 a.m.. We could not find the information booth to get a map. With the hotel address in hand, we started walking, burdened with our backpacks. It's not far, people said. Forty-five minutes later, tired and hungry, we searched for a taxi. Finally we found one. As we were about to put our heavy bags in the cab, the driver pointed, "Just walk that way 100 meters." Finally, 300 meters later, as despair was about to set in, we saw our hotel. While indeed we had packed many positive items, next time we will come without as much gear.

Here was the Pack Strategy in operation. When embarking on a path of passionate purpose, pack energizers that encourage you along the way and unpack hindrances that discourage you. How can you lighten your personal or professional load?

ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU PREPARED? Finnish Girl Scouts follow the guideline of "Born ready! Always prepared!" Our goal was to summit Bunderspitz. We prepared with increasingly longer hikes day by day. Using the divide-and-conquer strategy, we started hiking to Bunderspitz around 7:30 p.m. on the first segment and arrived at the Cheesemaker's Hut at 9:30 p.m. where we got a few hours sleep. At 2:30 a.m. in total darkness and silence, we were ready for the assault. We first hiked to the highest barn on the mountain where we ate an early breakfast, then proceeded through the fog to the saddle, and then hiked on through the final stretch to the summit for sunrise at 5:35 a.m.. While the clear, panoramic view we yearned for never appeared, we did catch glimpses of the majestic mountains. Then slowly we descended five hours back to Our Chalet feeling exhilarated.

Here was the Persistence Strategy in action. Mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic. Try tackling your next big project using this approach.

MAKE NEW FRIENDS, BUT KEEP THE OLD. With 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. We share common values of building girls with courage, character and confidence, who can take action. Recently WAGGGS launched a Global Action Theme, "together we can change our world." This awareness raising programme is directly linked to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs or http://www.wagggs.org/en/take_action/MDGprogrammes). One MDG is to promote gender equality and empower women. Seventy percent of the world's 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women, and 45 million girls around the world are being denied an education. WAGGGS believes that "empowering girls will change our world."

At Our Chalet and Pax Lodge, we made new international friends, reaffirmed our values, had fun singing songs, challenged ourselves physically and mentally, learned a new skill, rejuvenated and much more. In addition to precious mother / daughter together time before Annie leaves for college, we even met the WAGGGS commissioner from Taiwan.

Here was the Connections Strategy at work. Build relationships with and bring along on life's journey the proper people and support network and lessen the impact of improper ones. Many participants, staff, interns, friends, and my Radish team back home helped make this trip possible. Who is or should be part of your support network?

Radish Case Study

An entrepreneurial venture can be 24/7. If you don't set boundaries, it will demand an infinite amount of time and energy. This is a recipe for burnout and failure. The end result of a good break was positive for the company, its team and me. I learned that Radish survived while I recharged.

Summary

What about you? What did you get from your summer vacation? How can you apply these ideas to your pursuit of passionate purpose  (check out www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)?

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Radish Systems, is a serial technology entrepreneur. The story of her last start-up, which sold for more than $40 million in less than six years, is included, along with her strategies for success, in the Amazon-bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life. www.RadishSystems.com, www.radishsprouts.typepad.com and @TheresaSzczurek on twitter.

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