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Grant yourself a license to chill

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I’m sitting under a beach umbrella, staring miserably out at the Gulf of Mexico, with sand in places there shouldn’t be sand.

I don’t have time for this, but my wife insisted. Something about kids and memories and the last summer before the oldest leaves for college. I don’t know what the big deal is. He’ll be back soon enough. They always come back.

She doesn’t know I brought my phone out here. It’s on vibrate. With every buzz I’m falling farther behind. Deals are falling apart and every one of my clients is leaving me for the competition. Every. Single. One.

So I hope she enjoys this vacation because it’s the last one we’ll ever take. There’ll be no more money, and the kid will definitely be home from college because we won’t be able to pay for that either!

Vacations are for people with no responsibility. Those of us trying to make a better life don’t have time for it. I’m going to sneak away later and return a few calls if I can find a quiet place that’s not blasting that @%&! Jimmy Buffet music…

You ever have a conversation like that in your head? It’s easy to fall into the trap. We convince ourselves that the world will collapse without us; that the office cannot function if we’re not there. But that’s a lie.

I once got into trouble because I told a group of executives that within five years after they retired no one at the office would remember their names. I wish I’d said it differently, but here’s what I meant: The office will adjust without you. And vacation is only for this week. Whatever the issue is, it’ll keep. When you take time to rest, you come back better prepared for the challenges and you become a person people really will remember in five years.

Piedmont’s business is growing at an unbelievable pace. The annualized premium that we manage has grown 4,900 percent in the last 2 years. You read that right. Good times, huh? And for the first time in years, I’ve found myself needing a vacation. I won’t pretend I completely disconnect, but I’m much more intentional about taking a break.

I’ve learned that taking a break isn’t just a “work hard, play hard” thing. It’s a necessity — now more than ever. We’re connected in ways our predecessors never dreamed of. We need to disconnect so we can reconnect in a positive way.

It’s June. Let’s renew our License to Chill this month or next. Let’s not complain about what we’re missing at work and be present in the moments of rest. Go ahead, pour you somethin’ tall and strong, make it a Hurricane before you go insane. It’s only half past 12, but we don’t care… It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

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