Last week I was sitting on the beach and the thoughts of a lady I once worked with came to mind. When I met her she quickly let me know she had not taken a vacation in more than 20 years. She boastfully shared this way too often as if deserving of a prize. She was certainly proud of the fact she had given weeks of vacation back to the company she worked for.

While she proudly spoke of her commitment to her career it didn’t take long to see there was another side of the coin. Her health, both physically and emotionally had diminished over the years. Her personal life was shambles. She had family issues with her children and friendships were few and far in between. While great at her job, everything else had fallen apart over the years.

To be effective leaders we must schedule regular down time to recharge. When we don’t we are not doing ourselves, teams or family any good. Rest is an essential part of being successful. Relaxation goes much beyond sitting on the couch in front of a television for a few hours at night. It is important to take time throughout the year to truly checkout from the day-to-day schedule. Turn off the smartphones and email; totally unplug.

When we pass from this world to the next no one will talk about the number of hours we put in at work. The minister won’t speak about anyone being the first or last out of the office each day. There is even a very slim chance anyone will talk about the positions we held or degrees earned.


What will be spoken is how each person made a difference in people’s lives. To do that we have to take care of ourselves; eating, exercise and disconnecting are all essential parts of being a person who is able to pour their lives into others.


Are you unplugging?

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