You May Need a Pit Stop!
How to get away from your home, your phone, and technology to avoid burnout.
Vacation planning has the same level of critical importance as a race car driver who is seeking the win of an Indy 500. The driver knows he must make pit stops. In fact, they know exactly when they need to pit for fresh new tires, add fuel, and when to keep hydrated. Shouldn’t this be the same in your life?
In the workforce, you need to model this same behavior so it won’t create a detriment in your performance. If you continue to operate at worse and marginal levels until total burn out hits, the crash could be very costly. Imagine trying to drive your vehicle with bald, worn out tires in a winter storm. You’re just begging for an accident. We need to have that same consideration when we look at ourselves.
This comes from the same awareness as when the battery is dead in my smoke detector and starts to beep. Only then will I change it. Maybe instead you could say… every year on my birthday I will change the batteries in my smoke detectors whether they’re bad or not? You can do that with most other things in your life. Maybe before I burn out in six months, I will plan a vacation to recharge my own battery. Put it into your schedule just like we would the annual review meeting with your boss.
If you’ve waited until you’re exhausted, then you’re no longer able to maximize that vacation because all you can do is sit on the beach. Your kids want to go horseback riding, surfing, parasailing, and there you lay on the sand.
Great athletes and race car drivers measure when they need that break. They have applied science and measurement to determine: here’s how long I know I can get out of this set of tires. Here’s what my fuel mileage is. They know when they need to come into the pits at the right time. What form of measurement is used to be able to determine when you need to plan a vacation or personal pit stop? You need to apply measurement to be able to assess: am I ready? Is it soon? Or has it gone past that time frame. When you’re able to do that, then you’re able to get ahead and coordinate with your bosses, your clients, your family, and your school district to work out schedules.
Each of us may have unique measurements to where we need to pit stop? Some may need a 2 week break once a year, and yet for somebody else they might need 3 days a month? If you are married you should always take a measurement for each of you. The mother of 3 that handles the kids and the housework may need a pit stop more often. It’s important in a relationship that you both work together to keep the machine we call a partnership just as finely tuned as a racing car so it too does not fall apart.
If you’re in a high stress industry or business, you might need more frequent shorter breaks. If you are somebody, let’s say your profession is a school teacher, you might need less at periods of time because they’re already baked into the school district’s curriculum. It’s also important to know when not to pit stop. If you’re in an industry, let’s say tourism, in sunny Florida or the Caribbean, you probably don’t want to be closing your business in the winter when everybody from the cold north wants to come down. That would be one of the factors to consider when you measure and asses for your needs.
Here is a checklist of things you can use to figure this out?
Keep in mind we all need different types of breaks. When a race car driver comes in and pits, they don’t always change out tires. They may just refuel.
Let me define the difference between a vacation and a trip? A trip is when it’s you, your spouse, and your children. A trip with your family can be busy, but it’s quality time to regain and strengthen relationships with your children. A vacation is you and your spouse, no kids.
The third type of pit stop, is just you and people from your same gender. For example, a girl’s trip? Or a guys trip? I believe it’s important for you to connect to your energy — masculine or feminine energy and those breaks are healthy for your marriage and relationships. So, it’s not just about the need to go in for a pit stop. It’s about, do I need a vacation? A trip? Or a man-trip or a girls-weekend kind of thing? The type of pit stops you take all serve different needs in maintaining high-performance. A “Staycation” is not a Vacation!
I’m going to give you some quick measures, of how to know characteristics which will provide the true measurements for your pit stops. Let’s use some human measurements to see where you are on the scale of being present vs. stressed?
· On a scale of 0–10, where are 0 equals drained and 10 is fully energized? You would write that number down.
· Unhappy vs. happy. Unhappy being 0, Happy being 10.
· Empty vs. fulfilled.
· Impassionate vs. passionate.
· Stressed vs. peaceful.
· Inauthentic vs. authentic.
· Tense vs. relaxed.
· Heavy vs. light.
· Out of the flow vs. in the flow
· Accepting what you get vs. getting what you accept.
· Do you tend to say yes and settle with what you get vs. requesting and not agreeing until you get what you accept? If accepting what you get is the norm, it might be time for you to take a break.
After you have all your numbers, add them up and divide by 100….
Let’s say you wrote down a bunch of 4’s and 5’s and your score is around 50, you need to pit stop!
I would like you to do this every week if possible. Doing this on a random basis cannot create an accurate baseline to measure when you need breaks. If one week you are on a really hard project at work, that week things might measure at a 20. You may only need a spa day pit stop not a week-long vacation, but doing the exercise once a week will give you a baseline.
For me, because I’ve been doing this for years, I know that every eight months I burn out. I take a vacation every 7 months. I know that as I continue to push and push the limits of my abilities, I have found I need vacations or breaks more frequently. I have found in order for me to keep my numbers at high-performance levels I may decide to just take off and go hiking for a few hours, camping for the weekend, or go fishing with the guys for the weekend. Maybe it’s a special day that you go pull your kid out of school and go do something with them. Pit Stops are about being able to sprinkle moments throughout your year and have it planned so that when you continue to do these in small continuous doses, both persistently and consistently you don’t reach the point of fatigue.
Let me take it one step beyond. It’s also important to determine what type of recharging you need. If you know your purpose, then the pit stops you choose will include what do you want to feel from the experience? If you say, I want to go to Hawaii or I want to go to Steam Boat to ski, ask yourself what you want to experience and feel in that destination?
Maybe your budget won’t currently allow you to go halfway around the world to Australia, but what you want to experience is adventure and connecting with your family and seeing something exotic. Maybe you have an amazing national park within driving distance, and fits within your budget, your time and availability. You need to plan these longer trips out ahead. Make sure you have enough vacation time, enough saved in your budget, the kids are out of school, and you spouse has the same days available from their job. What you want to experience will determine what vehicles will be best suited for you to have that experience you seek.
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