What I learned #3: Get out. Why you need to leave.


Travel is like running your business. You need to leave. Think about the last time you left for a trip. You rushed around trying to get last minute tasks done, knowing you would be there for a few days or a week. You were hyper efficient and even up until you ran out the door to catch the plane, you were still trying to squeeze one last task in. 

The last time this happened to me I was leaving for a 5-day board meeting out of town. I kept finding one more thing to do until I had to get  in the car and hit the road. As I pulled out of the drive way, the feelings of doing one more thing slowly started ebbing. The further I went, the less the pull of those nagging responsibilities.  

Halfway to the airport I felt a shifting of gears to acceptance – I was not going to be in my office for 5 days and I needed to engage in the task at hand. I had to let go of the routines, the habits I left back at the office.  

Routine and rut both start with ‘R”. You need routines, you need habits to be effective in your business. The trick is that you have to make the habits and routines positive so they run your life on autopilot in the right direction. Habits and routines, good or bad, have a way of slipping from view. It’s not really a habit if you have to think about it.  

Once a habit slips from your view, once you go on autopilot, you do the behaviors you’ve trained without thinking. You need to periodically break all ties with potential routines to you can look at your habits, your programmed behaviors, from a more universal viewpoint.  

Do you know someone on autopilot? Chances are, this person that instantly came to mind is not using positive habits. You probably thought of someone who is spiraling out of control and “can’t see it” happening. They are on autopilot to disaster.  

You know THEY need to “snap out of it”, “look around”, “get his head out of the sand”, “wake up” to what they are doing. They need to “leave” their present lives and examine themselves from another viewpoint.  

We can all think of extreme examples. Television makes a mint on cheap shows about people who are on autopilot for eating, doing drugs, spiraling out of control. The uplifting nature of the shows shines when the subjects go to “The Ranch” where trainers introduce them to the reality of their current lifestyles. It makes excellent melodrama. How many times did you sit there and say,“Well duh! You’re 500lbs! Can’t you see that you need to change?!”  

Well, no. They can’t and neither can you. None of us can see the changes that we need to make in our own lives because we live with ourselves everyday. These “big changes” we need snuck up on us slowly over time. That poor contestant didn’t gain 400 lbs in a week! She gained it 1lb a week for 8 years. 

So did you. The way you talk to your wife, the way you hate everything Jane from accounting does, the way you waste time on Facebook at work; that all snuck up on you slowly over time. 

You need to leave. You need to call a time out, not for vacation, but for self-analyzation. You may also need a vacation, but if that vacation is just a “drug of avoidance”, you will returnunchanged to the same routine that caused you to need the vacation in the first place. 

You need to leave to reposition yourself for the next year. You need to examine the things you do on autopilot. You need to list 1 thing you want to put on autopilot for the next year. 

I call it puttering. It’s what I do before I leave on a trip. My wife does it, too. Straightening items on my desk. Checking thermostats. Setting online back-ups to run. Syncing devices. Putting away paper clips. Puttering.  

There’s a time for puttering. Let yourself have it. Just know what it is and that you are just trying to grasp what you can of your old routine and old rut before you know you’ll be torn away from them. Go ahead and putter, then leave.  

Get on the plane. Go to a new coffee shop. Go to a college campus and stake out an unused classroom. Go somewhere else where you don’t have the things you are used to and take time.  

Take time to examine what you’re doing, what you’re doing without knowing your doing it, what you want to be doing and what you want to be doing without thinking about it. 

You need to leave. Your life, no matter how busy, will be waiting for you when you get back, but you might find yourself a whole new person; newly able to tackle it’s challenges. 

Have a great week, 

PS Like the past few posts? Why not become a subscriber to the Maize Quest Insiders Circle – It’s FREE. You’ll never miss a post, receive Insider Circle quarterly newsletter, get exclusive previews to events and discounts on new games and attractions.

Hugh McPherson

“The Maze Master”
Maize Quest

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