Why You’re Not Taking A Summer Break

A bunch of reasons just popped into your head from that headline.
 
You don’t have the money, you don’t have the time, you don’t need to, you’re taking a sorta-break, you don’t have anyone to take care of your business while you’re out and so on.
 
All might be true to some degree or the other, but the real truth is that you’re not taking a summer break because you haven’t given yourself permission to do so.
 
Without the permission, there’s no commitment, and commitment is one of the necessary pieces to actually getting anything done, even when the “anything” is setting yourself up so that you don’t have to do anything. (Ever notice how much more work it is to set yourself up to not work than it is to set yourself up to work? It’s a challenge entrepreneurs share with executives.)
 
And, of course, this phenomenon is especially problematic for mom entrepreneurs. Even once you accept that your happiness counts, actually taking a break is hard because you often either get stuck with most of the invisible tasks and family management or accept that it’s your role to do so. A break is often just work in a different form in a different place. Why bother?
 
Because everybody needs a break and a context switch every now and again. Because you’ve worked your tail off to build a business that supports you and your family and it’s time you take advantage of it. Because it helps you get into the practice of forward planning. And, if you do it right, it helps you communicate better.
 
Most of those reasons are obvious, but it’s the last that’s crucially important.
 
As I’ve shared before, we normally confine communication to external communication, but external communication is only a piece of the communication puzzle, and often times, it’s less important than the internal communication we need to have with ourselves. If we’re not really communicating with ourselves, we can’t communicate with others.
 
If you’re not communicating your own needs to yourself, you can’t give yourself permission to take a break.
 
If you can’t listen to your heart and body saying that it needs a break – which likely means that you’ll need to ask for help with the things you normally manage – then you won’t give yourself permission to ask for the help you need, which’ll make it nigh impossible for you to avoid the “working in a different way in a different place” trap.
 
 
 

Use Your Words

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people around you would help volunteer to help you out with taking a break? Wouldn’t it be great if your hubby volunteered to ask his mom to help with the kids and arranged for the lawn to be maintained and prepaid the bills and ….
 
In case you haven’t figured it out, that ain’t gonna happen.
 
Not the least because you may have set it up so that it’s hard for people to volunteer to do those things because you fiercely guard that it’s your job to do it. (You have no idea how many times I’ve had to wrestle with my mom entrepreneur clients about this. Hint: this same behavior is keeping you from delegating and growing your business, too.)
 
You’re likely one of those awesome moms and wives who just know what other people need and just take care of it. The downside to you being that awesome is that other people often don’t learn what it is that you do.
 
Them not automagically doing it isn’t a reflection on their love and respect for you; it’s simply a family pattern and structure that’s been set up.
 
To take a true summer break, you have to alter those patterns and structure.
 
You have to be the one who requests what she needs, for once. You have to be the one who recognizes that your amazingness doesn’t have to be 24/7/365 and that requesting what you need is the single best way to teach the rest of the family how to be loving, wholesome, and mutually-supportive of each other.
 
I’ve seen moms move mountains. Something happened and they resolved to get it done and gave themselves the permission and commitment to do it. In other words, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
 
I know that I don’t have to tell you how to take a summer break from this point. You already know what needs to be done or can figure it out if you took your needs seriously and used your words.
 
The “how” piece is always secondary to the “why” piece.
 
So, instead, I’ll ask these questions:
 
Have you truly taken your needs seriously and given yourself permission to take a summer break? If not, what needs to happen before you do so? (Hint: something external is not the answer to that last question.)

 
I hope you’ll take the time to create a summer break experience that your family will never forget. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself, either.
 
 

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Charlie Gilkey

Charlie Gilkey helps creative people thrive in life and business at Productive Flourishing. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook to get bit-sized slices of mojo, inspiration, and biz advice.
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20 Comments

  1. Charlie Gilkey

    Word!

    Reply
  2. Kalia Kelmenson

    This is great Charlie- and so true- I decided to take some time off this summer in order to supercharge the fun and adventure with the kids. Doesn’t mean I haven’t had my moments of wondering why?? did I decide to do that- Having super clarity about my why has helped me through those moments of self-doubt- And we are having the best time exploring places in our world that we don’t get to during the school year- ( we live on Maui so it’s ripe for the pickin’) !!

    Reply
    • Charlie Gilkey

      Isn’t it odd how we can live in such awesome places – places people pay lots of money to come to – yet we don’t get out and enjoy it? I’m thinking about this as I’m in DC right now and it’s miserably hot, yet it’s awesome in Portland right now. We live in a summer paradise, and you better believe we’ll be spending more time enjoying it.

      Reply
      • Kalia Kelmenson

        Yup- nothing like getting away to realize you love your home – I always love it when friends or clients come to Maui, then I have an a reason to get out there and really enjoy it. My kids are reminding me this Summer, and I must say, I’m loving it!! Portland is so pretty- I love it there too.

        Reply
  3. Khadijah Ali-Coleman

    Thank you for this awesome post. Was the first thing that popped out at me as I logged onto Twitter. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Charlie Gilkey

      I’m glad you liked it, Khadijah!

      Reply
  4. theresa ceniccola

    Thanks for this reminder, Charlie! It’s so easy to forget that we have permission to give ourselves a break – that’s the beauty of owning your own business, right?!

    We typically don’t travel during the summer because we live at the beach and get lots of visitors in the summer. So, I’m taking off Fridays this summer and working NO LATER than 5 pm the rest of the week. Seriously.

    My ‘trick’ for sticking to this plan is to have at least one fun thing planned for every Friday — and I have to TELL MY KIDS about it in advance so they will hold me accountable:-) Try telling the kids you’re going to the beach on Friday and then see if you can get away with sitting at your computer. Doesn’t work so well:-)

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      That’s a great idea, Theresa!! 🙂 Happy Fridays!

      Reply
    • Charlie Gilkey

      Great idea, Theresa! Nothing like having your kids “help” you do something you need to do.

      Rock those Fridays! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Rachel Rodgers

    Heather,

    My hope is to spend our entire summers in France going forward so this was me forcing myself to start working towards that dream.

    I will definitely share pics and other feedback when I get back! 🙂

    Rachel

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Ah, that sounds heavenly! Maybe one day we’ll summer in the South of France together. 🙂

      Reply
      • Rachel Rodgers

        I would LOVE that! 🙂

        Reply
  6. Rachel Rodgers

    This is so important! I realized this earlier this year and terrifingly put a deposit down on our vacation. I have been dreaming about spending my summers in Provence for years. We haven’t been on a vacation in 3 years because I was building my business. Now that my daughter is here, its something I really want her to experience so I just plopped money down (its a good way to force yourself to commit).

    Now we’re looking forward to a little over 2 weeks in the South of France later this summer with some friends and family. I definitely thought about how I could have used that time (or money) for some other more practical purpose but at some point you just got to take the leap and reward yourself for all of your hard work. Life is short.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Rachel!

      So funny you mentioned the South of France – that is quickly becoming my dream after hearing from several moms who are doing that now!

      I hope you have a wonderful time…and I look forward to chatting with you about it when you’re back! Life IS short!

      Heather

      Reply
      • Charlie Gilkey

        Now we’re looking forward to a little over 2 weeks in the South of France later this summer with some friends and family.

        Way to go, lil sis! You really are on a streak, aren’t you? 🙂

        Reply
  7. Angela Keller

    Wow. I think you have hit on so many points here. I am struggling with the forward planning as we don’t have one big vacation planned this summer like usual. So instead I am trying to remember to make the tome and the effort for the smaller things that make up a great summer. The beach, concerts, berry picking, bike riding… Thank you for the reminder to enjoy the journey.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Angela,

      We’re doing the same thing – small things that make a great summer. Berry picking yesterday, beach tomorrow. 🙂

      Enjoy your summer!
      Heather

      Reply
    • Charlie Gilkey

      Angela,

      Awesome name, by the way. (It’s my wife’s name.)

      The beach, concerts, berry picking, bike riding… Thank you for the reminder to enjoy the journey.

      Great thinking. What if every day was something small and special versus 1 week of Disney World? I personally think it’d make a better summer all the way around.

      Reply

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