What I Learned about Motivation on My Summer Vacation
I’ve just returned from a two-week vacation in Israel, Jordan and Spain – and I am writing this email saddled with incredible jet lag, some squishy new love handles made from gelato, falafel and Manchego cheese, and many beautiful memories to last a lifetime.
What made this trip so special for me? My sole travel companion was my 15-year-old son, Jacob.
I knew that we would both enjoy sampling the local cuisines (luckily, gelato is always a local cuisine), taking history tours, shopping, swimming, and just wandering around. And I also knew that this trip would benefit from planning beyond flights, excursions, and lodging. It would require us to shift from a task focus (the what, where, when, and how of getting the trip off the ground) to a relationship focus (the who we were — separately and together – and why we were choosing to do this together.)
Admittedly, it’s that kind of focus that busy, driven people who are motivated by getting things crossed off their to-do lists often neglect — and the costs of that neglect include the loss of connection, collaboration, ownership, engagement, and meaning.
I didn’t want to look back on this trip and only be proud of what we did, where we went and how we got there. I wanted to look back on this trip and be proud of who we were and what we built together.
Can you think of a partnership or team you work on (or live with) that could benefit from a little more of that?
Here are 10 questions I asked my son and myself before our trip that you can bring to your next staff meeting, board meeting or Labor Day vacation.
- What’s our purpose for doing this?
- What could we do that would have each of us jump out of bed in the morning with excitement to get started?
- What would make each of us want to crawl back into bed and say, “I’ll pass”?
- What have we done in the past that we want to make sure we repeat?
- What have we done in the past that we want to make sure we don’t repeat?
- What do we each want to learn/get better at/get smarter about?
- How might we veto something that one of us really doesn’t like/doesn’t want to do?
- How should we let the other person know when we’re feeling stressed/sad/tired/overwhelmed/frustrated?
- How should we ask for personal time/space without it feeling “personal”?
- What would we want our sound bite about this [project/task/challenge/opportunity/trip] to be a month after? Six months after? A year after? 10 years after?