What do mountains of ice, helicopter flights, dog sled rides, crab baskets and white whales have in common? How do you describe native people to a seven year old? How do you help her get excited about something she has little to no reference for? Pictures, of course. So it was with that thought that we bought our daughter a travel guide with tons of pictures in preparation for our upcoming Alaskan cruise. Two months and 8 days until we sail to Glacier Bay.
Wow, the pictures are fabulous and there is nothing like it to help a 7 year old get her head around the concept of a mountain of ice. She has a few special pages marked already: the Eskimo girl being tossed in the air (can I do that?); the Glacier Bar outside of Fairbanks where you can get a Coke (or Martini) in an ice glass while sitting on an ice stool at the ice bar; a grizzly bear holding a salmon, and a restaurant with a sign out front that reads, "cheap beer, lousy food." Hmmm, sounds promising little girl! Looking through the guide lately has provided me with the break I need at the end of the day.
Some days though, the pages of a guide book would just not be enough. Some days, I need a lot more. How do I know? " Woe is me" is my signal to myself that I have gone passed the point of a little stressed. It shares the stage with, "am I the only competent person in the place?" Both thoughts are warning signs that it is time for me to think before I speak, assess before I react, review messages before I hit the send button and maybe even consider if everyone would be better served if I just turned my car around and went home instead of coming into work.
Did I always know this? No, but time, experience and lots of coaching have taught me well. A quick trip to Glacier Bay may not always be feasible but a day off, a walk around the building, venting with a trusted colleague or a emergency phone call to a mentor or coach may very well be.
While I encourage you to think about what will reenergize you, I offer that you may be better served by first taking one step back and asking yourself the question, "how do I know when I need a break?" and then taking the time to consider what you discover. There are so many things that happen around us that we cannot control. We can control how we take care of ourselves.
Hey, if cheap beer and lousy food will help the cause, you may seek me out!