I’m writing this from a cabin tucked deep into northern Wisconsin, with limited access to the outside world. Freeway noise has been replaced by an occasional boat motor and the sound of laughing kids, and I’ve traded in my go-go schedule and constant desire to sneak in “just one more” email, project note, or design. Replacing it are moments surrounded by family, swimming with my kids, playing cards, fishing, golfing, and tending a crackling fire. My fast pace, which I love, has slowed to a crawl.

The people closest to me know that I struggle with slowing down. I love everything about my work. Knowing the impact we create every day for our clients and helping them grow their businesses gets me out of bed every morning. I go to sleep each night excited about the next day, and I even crave the stress that comes with running our agency. Don’t tell my clients, but I would do this for free. To be completely transparent, the thought of slowing down doesn’t always sound like much fun.

My a-ha moment: This trip reminded me that to keep going fast, every so often I need to slow down.

The reality is that physically, mentally, and spiritually, each of us needs to take time to refuel. We need to refill our tanks and sharpen our saws. We need the early morning fishing, fairways and golf carts, ice cream shop trips, Michigan Rummy smack talk, and late night fireside chit-chat. I need breaks like this cabin trip, and so do my wife and kids. This trip has allowed us the time together we needed to stay connected to one other, as well as building deeper relationships with the rest of our extended family who we were lucky enough to share this trip with.

One of the keys to slowing down and recharging has been the gift of being able to disconnect. I have amazing partners and a great team back at OrangeBall who make this possible. When I travel, I have the confidence that the delegated things always continue moving forward while I’m gone. They allow me to keep going fast even when I slow down. I may still sneak a peek at my emails from time to time, but for the moment I can be less religious about my check-ins.

It feels… great.

Trips like this leave me recharged, which is something I need more than I realize. I’ll leave the cabin tomorrow and walk into the office early tomorrow morning to catch up on project status and emails, and get a head start on my day. I’m excited to get back – in fact I can’t wait. I still crave fast. But I’m also excited that I took the time to slow down, and am thankful I was intentional about taking this vacation. What makes me appreciate my trip the most? The look in the eyes of my wife and kids when we’re all together. No phones or laptops… just the trees, the lake, the sunshine, and each other. I have a lot to be grateful for.

The Takeaway

This needs to happen more often, no excuses. Each of us needs to be intentional about creating opportunities like this, even short ones, more often. They pay massive dividends.