Taking 2 weeks off to go and do some volunteering and training, filled me with both excitement and dread. I was excited to be going to do 2 things I know I would thoroughly enjoy, taking a break and completely switching off. On the other hand, I was worried about taking the time away from work. I am growing my business, so taking 2 weeks off, was the time I could spend on marketing and networking. I asked myself what would fill me with joy, and the answer was simple….taking the 2 weeks to do the things I love. That felt more important to me at this point in time.
Having a break is very healthy. It allows me to recuperate, relax, switch off my brain, allowing me to come back more productive, resilient and creative. I certainly needed that. Evidence shows that we become less productive without proper beaks. Even working longer hours can mean we are not as innovative and can’t maintain the same intensity levels. The inability to switch off and detach from work often comes with symptoms of Burnout. Thankfully I was not near burnout, I have always managed to have a healthy balance of switching off. I think my love of running and nature has helped with that.
Coming back after my 2 weeks away had me full of energy, and I have been really productive since my return. I have completed some online training gaining my “5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team” certification. I have run a workshop “Unleashing your Confident Self” with my InSpark team, and I have continued to work on some future products.
The time off did get me thinking about where I am heading with my business. I have always had a clear picture of my end goals, and now they were really being questioned. I had just spent 2 weeks outside camping, in a beautiful part of the Welsh mountains and the English Lake district and I was questioning how I can combine the world of outdoors with my love of coaching and supporting people reach their potential.
My first week was spent supporting Ultra runners in the Dragons Back Race across Wales. I felt I was amongst my people, my community where we all spoke the same language (ultra running) and enjoyed similar things (outdoors, mountains, challenges, movement). It was hard work setting up the racers tent, building up camp and sorting the runners kit bags, only to take it all down the very next morning and do it all over again a few hours late, further down the road. Giving back to others, in a sport I love, felt so good, so the hard physical work became something I enjoyed. I had tears in my eyes watching the runners on the final day crossing the finishing line. I was privileged to have witnessed the strength, courage and endurance as they got up morning after morning from disturbing camp nights of sleep, as they ran past checkpoints and crossed the finish line each of the 5 days. I consoled those that had been timed out or injured and marvelled as they picked themselves up and ran the next day even though they were now considered as non-competitive. I was inspired by my fellow runners who came from all walks of life, and they showed me that you can accomplish your goals and your goals can change, and the most important thing is to enjoy it and have fun. Their enthusiasm, motivation and resilience has inspired me to enter the race in 2021, whereas, before my volunteering, I was only thinking about it. Perhaps in 2021, I may not be thanking them as I try to push myself across the scary ridge of Crib Goch.
I continued with the outdoors in my 2nd week. This week I had decided to do my Mountain Leader training. This is something I have always wanted to do, and I was a little surprised when the course Director asked us what brought us to the training and I didn’t have a clear answer. My love of outdoors, the mountains, and wanting to be able to lead others to enjoy them, were part of my answer. However, I was surprised that I wasn’t quite sure how exactly I would use the qualification. During and after the course, it is something I have been thinking a lot about. My main aim is to bring 2 things I love together – coaching and my love of outdoors. I love the outdoors and how it brings you back to basics, takes you away from all the man-made distractions and electronics and back to pure nature. It is revitalising and refreshing and I always come back from being outdoors feeling uplifted and in positive spirits. My week honing my Mountain Leader skills did not disappoint, I met wonderful people, laughed alot, walked miles in the rain and came back feeling alive.
My break has been really healthy, allowing me to connect with like-minded people and groups, get outdoors and enjoy nature and switch off from the stress of growing my business. I have come back with renewed motivation and inspiration and a healthy curiosity about my goals. It has given me a path to explore that I had only roughly thought about and had disregarded as I believed I should take different paths, as that is what my profession suggested. I have been searching for my uniqueness and it has been staring at my the whole time. I will combine my passions with the things I am good at and make this part of my business offering. While I am still working on the details of what this will look like, I feel I have made a big step forward and it has been a big thank you to taking a break, to do things I love. I really recommend it.