As most of you know one of my resolutions for this year was to travel, which I successfully checked off my list! I recently spent a week in Maui, Hawaii on my very first vacation. I know, I know, how can I be 25, verging 26 and have never been on vacation? When I think about it, it's definitely hard to believe. I have traveled, but never stepped away from work or school to actually relax. I've been to London, England when I was 16 but let's be honest, 16 year olds don't need a vacation, life is easy at that age! I did travel south to El Salvador but it was to work in orphanages and juevenille prisons, the one day I did relax it was by a pool because there were no proper beaches in the village I was staying. So at the ripe age of 25 I had my very first swim in the ocean. And let me tell you, I felt like a 4 year old eating candy for the first time!
Stepping away from work as an entrepreneur is an extremely hard thing to do, especially in the digital world of today. Without my amazing team and support system behind me I definitely would not have been able to shut off and actually enjoy the vacation. It also was a mental struggle to allow myself to step away, to know that the show will go on even if I'm not there knee deep in everything.
The time away gave me so much clarity and a better understanding of both my personal and professional lives. Leaving Toronto and not knowing anyone was also extremely refreshing, it gave me space to evaluate the life I've built and how I want to continue growing.
When it comes to my personal life I have more clarity on the friendships and relationships I have and want to have. What type of people I surround myself with is extremely important to my overall happiness, knowing that these relationships should be a two way street, with give and take, has made me realize who I can truly turn to in both the good and bad times. These are relationships I want to invest into as well, to be there for them in good and bad, supporting them throughout their journey.
In terms of my professional life it gave me the ability to trust and rely on others, something I've always struggled with. The people who came alongside me to support the business as I stepped away are invaluable not only to me but also to the growth of my company. These individuals allowed me to see the big picture, that this business is more than just a business but it truly is a community of both women and men supporting each other. Stepping away gave me space to look at what I've accomplished so far and what I still want to achieve. Not only did the time away give me a new perspective but it also motivated me to do more with a genuine passion and excitement in every step.
My advice to any entrepreneur or free lancer that is in need of a vacation or some clarity is when you decide to take that step back, commit to it 100%. When I first planned my vacation I thought I would do a shoot or two, build some content while I had the beautiful scenery. Upon leaving I realized if I were to carve out time to do a shoot I wouldn't fully be stepping back from work and wouldn't be able to get recharged. So I committed to the vacation, to not answering emails - I did check to see if anything urgent came up, not planning to-do lists for when I got back and even ignoring orders that came in - my amazing intern was taking care of those for me. This allowed me to be fully present in the moment, embracing what life has to offer and realizing that all the small things that I stress about are in all honesty, small things. If it's your first vacation - let's hope you're not like me and have been away before, but if it is, then plan to visit somewhere you can check email or take phone calls. This will lessen the stress and anxiety of stepping away. Also travel with friends who encourage you to step away from work, that will push you to have fun and not pick up your phone. And most importantly, let go and just live.
My biggest take away from going away is realizing that I get caught up in my own life too much and that I need to constantly remind myself that there is more to life than work, social engagements and doing better than yesterday. As much as I'll always be a type A person with a strong desire for achievement, I am also going to be the person who embraces all that life has to offer and find more meaning in everything I do.