233: The Truth About Vacations as a Business Owner

19 Minutes Read

Many business owners have issues around taking vacation. They either won't do it at all, won't take as much time as they really want, won't be able to fully unplug, or will feel guilty that they're relaxing while their team is grinding it out back home.

If any of these describe your approach to vacations and unplugging, this episode is a must listen.

We just returned from 3 weeks in Maui and are sharing the good the bad and the ugly of it all. Yes, even in Maui things can get ugly sometimes.

You will discover:

  • The mindset required to take an extended vacation
  • Why it matters to your business and well-being that you take time off
  • How to roll with the inevitable disappointments and frustrations of travel so you don't "waste" any of those precious days off

One of the first steps to taking an epic vacation is making sure your business has the revenue to support it. To get there, join our new 3-day Relationship-Based Sales Workshop. It will help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase your sales in a more aligned, intuitive, and sustainable way. Learn more at besuperabound.com/sales


Episode Transcript

Erin Aquin  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase where business owners like you learn the tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to Episode 233. The truth about vacation as a business owner, Hello, and welcome. We are back from a three week vacation. And I hope that you enjoyed all of the interviews that we had left for you. There were some really good ones, it's been great to hear all of your feedback about our special guests. And today, it's just me and Steve, talking to you about the truth, the good, the bad, the ugly of what it takes to have a three week vacation as a business owner. So even if that's not, doesn't feel like it's in the cards for you at this moment. We have done this every year, pretty much for the past several years. And it is something that I really credit for things like finishing my last book, coming up with some of my most creative ideas and helping us to scale our business and create a million dollars over the last three years, which is really cool. And I do think self care and vacations has a big part to play. So that's what we're talking about today. Hi, Steve.

Steve Haase  1:37  
Hi, Erin. Hi, everybody. And yes, I am so tan right now, feeling so good. That's amazing being in Maui for three weeks. And I love some of those points that you brought up Erin. And I also want to throw something in there that it's not just about creative ideas, revenue generation, even just the self care. It's also what do you want in your life? Yes, a vacation can do wonders for your productivity and your energy levels and all those things in your business. But also, I just wanted to chill out, I just wanted to be on the beach and look at the sunset and listen to the whales. And one day even went swimming kind of out near where the whales were. And then I got freaked out and I came back and like I just want to go on adventures and live my life. And so that was a big part of my motivation for that time as well.

Erin Aquin  2:28  
Yeah, I think that's really important. And it's funny because I still even relate to it. This is kind of the first time I think we've been to Maui seven or eight times. And every single time I promised myself that I'm not going to do any work. And it's not going to be it's not going to be a working vacation. I'm not going to slip some work in there. But I actually think that this particular trip was the first time I've been able to achieve that. past trips, I was actually a yoga teacher when we first started going there. And I remember teaching a workshop, which was very fun to teach at a studio that I had never taught at before. But I remember thinking to myself, like I'm still in work mode, I'm still in work mode until this class is over. I'm still in promotional load. And so for me, it was interesting to just have three weeks where I The point was really to be with you to use the kids. And you of course had some work while we were out there. I actually that's I'm lying. I did do one call. I did one call the first couple of days for a program that I coach in for a friend's program. But for the most part, I was totally off and you were working a little bit. So what was that like? Knowing I was on a real vacation and you were like doing retreats and calls and some things.

Steve Haase  3:53  
Frankly, I was impressed with your ability to just unplug. I tried to pull you in a couple of times. I was like, Hey, I'm thinking about this. And what about that you're like, stop it off, like, Oh, that's cool. And so I respected that and was slightly jealous of your ability to just cast it all away. I was walking around the park one day, and I overheard a guy on the phone. It wasn't hard to overhear him because he was yelling into the thing. He was cursing somebody out about the fact that he had to manage his restaurant from Maui and what BS it was to have to take care of the kitchen from you know, however many miles away and I was thinking I feel bad for him. And he's in a position where he's available and is on the phone like no one is forcing that phone to his ear. And so I think if you want to unplug to the level that we're talking about, it has to start with your intention to do so and stay so you want to talk about how you manage to not get Hold on.

Erin Aquin  5:01  
Oh my gosh, I have so much to say about this. Okay, so first of all, I'm glad it looked like I was totally happy and unplugged. It was really hard. And what I have noticed for me, if it's like a working retreat or a working vacation, you know, I'm going on a beautiful, very luxurious, by the way, retreat in a couple of months to Greece with some of my coach friends. That is very, very different than giving myself unstructured time. And what I have learned about who I am, is I cannot really deepen into unstructured time, and release my need to accomplish and be productive and be creative. I can't do that in a weekend, I can't do that in a week, I can't really do that in two weeks, I have to get to a place where I'm bored board. And that, for me usually happens like the two, two and a half week point, we have in the past taken entire months to go to Hawaii. And I noticed that there's like this deepening that happens at about that halfway point. So it's funny that it looked like I was unplugged. But it was really hard, actually, for me to not get pulled in, have a different response to the guy on the phone. Yeah, he made himself available. But also, as entrepreneurs, the truth is, it's our business, we are responsible. And that guy had to manage his kitchen from Maui, maybe it was because he didn't set up the right team, he shouldn't be in grossmith, he should be in our program grow smooth, where we will help him do that, we're gonna find him, we should have hunted him down. Just given him our card. Besuperabound.com/grow. But it's true that if you haven't set up those pre existing things in your business, even if you have sometimes somebody quits while you're on vacation, you're not on vacation anymore. And that is the gamble that I think every single entrepreneur has to be willing to take. It's one a lot of people cannot stomach. It's the same reason that many people with a beautiful ideas never start a business because they can't handle not knowing what their paycheck is going to look like month to month, same sort of gamble. In terms of like your team, when you get to a certain point, like there's not necessarily more freedom. When your business is at a couple million dollars. There. Sometimes it can actually feel like you're more hemmed in. We have a lot of clients who definitely feel like that is true. And it's something that we are determined to help people do. And I'm very proud to say that there were absolutely zero emergencies in our business. For the three weeks that we were away. Not one of my clients, emailed me, sent me a boxer message, asked me for anything, I was talking to a few of them on Instagram, because I was posting a lot of pictures. And you know, I love their stuff, I've always kind of keep up with what my clients are up to, because they're amazing. But I really did not have to coach anybody. They were all totally fine without me.

Steve Haase  8:31  
It's so true that the preparation you put in place, is going to determine how successful your unplugging is. And something you said, made me curious, what is it about getting to that place of unstructured of really unplugging? Why is that so important to you? Why Why do you take the time and, you know, set up the system so that you can actually get there? What does that do for you?

Erin Aquin  9:01  
I'm gonna say it again, it's painful. I think I said it a different way. But the truth ugly truth is that it's actually very painful to do because I am a person who thrives on creating and achieving and productivity and I like to see like growth and all the time all the time. But getting to a place where I'm not in the business. I'm not thinking about Monday, and it's two weeks into the vacation. And there's another week of totally unstructured time. The work that it takes to get there for me is worth it because it's one of the rare times where I can untether my identity from the business. And I don't say that in like an unhealthy way. I think a lot of people who have vision driven purposeful businesses who really love what they do for those of us who feel like our business is not work. You know, it doesn't feel like drudgery in any way, like I love. I'm so happy to be back coaching our clients this week. But for someone like me, it's so easy for that warm hearted feeling to take over. And for me to forget that I'm also a valuable, worthy human, just by being. And it's been, I think so you know, some of them to get we'll get a little deep here for a second. Some of the biggest work personally, with my own coaches, that I've learned in the last few years, or that I've done in the last few years, is in finding my own inherent worth, untied from the accomplishments, the accolades that like status and all the things that we humans kind of use as our meter sticks. And that has been very deep spiritual expansion for me. And I have to make sure I'm not taking that understanding for granted. And a three week vacation is a really great way to see what comes up. When I take away the meter sticks. And the or the only point of the day is like, what beach? Do we want to go to? What do we want to eat? What card game do we want to play with our kids? It's a very different shift from being back in the flow of like, what are we creating? What are we doing for our clients,

Steve Haase  11:38  
beautifully said, and thanks for sharing. That's my experience of it as well is when you get to that point where you're bored, and you're feel untethered. That was my experience. I'm just like, Whoa, I am unmoored. Right now I'm just a person, I got no other connections, other than the people around me and my own life, then there's room for something else to emerge. It's a really cool experience that sometimes takes time, and can only occur if you give yourself the time and the freedom for that to actually occur. So thanks for sharing. I want to touch on another point, that is a big challenge for business owners. This came up in some conversations that I've had with clients. And that's that if they take too much time, they're afraid it will be not fair, it will be unfair in some way to everyone else, with their nose to the grindstone, right. Let's see, we have to have your team in place. But that team is sitting there working their butts off while the owners like sipping pina coladas. How is that fair? So I want to open that one up, because I think there's there's some real energy in that for a lot of business owners.

Erin Aquin  12:54  
Okay, I actually, I mean, I had that experience a little bit. When I was watching you work. There was one day where I was sitting on the couch, knitting. I was knitting in Hawaii. I did that was my project, I needed two things. So I guess I didn't accomplish them thing. But I was watching you do that. And I was like, Wow, I'm not helping him at all right now. And then you asked me something. And I was like, I'm not answering that question, because I'm on vacation. And I totally had a little bit of that guilt. At the same time, I think because like, of course, you're not an employee, your co founder, you we are business partners. I think where I had to go for, for myself as the CEO, was to say, I made my intention and my boundary really clear. And it's no one else's job to uphold that. But mine. So it's not your job to remember that I don't have a retreat, coming up with a client. I'm not really getting into it. That's important. But I think when it comes to some of our clients who have a team, as long as you're paying them, there's not really an issue. The issue is your mindset. The issue is your own relationship to time and hard work and all of that. But as long as you are paying your people and you're clearly communicating to them what your time boundaries are. There's not in reality, there's not an issue. I know it's not doesn't feel that way.

Steve Haase  14:38  
I think there's two threads on that. One is what's happening in your own mind. And then the other is because they optics, right how it looks for the boss to be away for let's say three weeks in this case. Honestly, the biggest issue usually is in your own mind. It's the how guilty you're feeling over. Everyone else is working away and I'm sipping pina coladas. And that is part of this process of unplugging of finding who you are away from that identity, right? If you're a business owner, you have put heart and soul into that thing. And so to say, Well, I'm just going to step away for three weeks is to unplug from a piece of yourself. But as we're talking about, there's real value in doing that, just to come back to that acknowledgement that who you are, regardless of what you've created in the world is worthy. Right now, as you are even sitting on the couch netting, it's all worthwhile, you aren't you are fully worthy, right now. And so the mindset part is often the main one, and then you'll use things like the optics, or everyone's working so hard to kind of be a shield from having to go to that place of actually letting go of that self image.

Erin Aquin  16:01  
Okay, let's talk about the optics for a second, because I also want to bring in the awareness that our business is life coaching, business coaching, we do a lot of mindset work. So I think kind of in our industry, it's kind of cool to take a long vacation. It's like, oh, yeah, there's so like, one of Steve's family members always says, like, nobody wants a boring life coach. So like, it's cool to show your vacation or whatever. Like, it's totally acceptable within the industry. But I've had clients who are in other industries, where they're like, No, that would not fly with my team that would not fly with my clients like the optics, the optics, the optics. But there's always a way to do whatever it is you want to do. For the good of you and the good of all mankind maybe. Because more than Nobody wants a boring life coach, nobody wants a burnt out life coach. So to me, I in my mind, I am of the actual belief that it's good for my clients for me to take long, extended periods of time off. And, you know, I said, None of my clients, like, reached out with any emergencies or anything like that. I had another person in a similar industry say to me, I could never take so long away, because I wouldn't want my clients to think that they could like live without me. And I have the exact opposite reaction. I'm like, I want my clients to know they can totally handle their life. Even if they don't talk to me every single week. I want we we rented a car when we were in Maui, and it was not a fancy car, it was much less fancy than the car we have at home. It got us from A to B. When we got home, I did not get into our luxury vehicle and think, Well, I could live without this. I thought, oh my gosh, this car is amazing. It was like a brand new car to me. And I treat myself as a coach that way. I'm like, of course my clients are getting by without me. But I know that for many of them the best session that they've had ever had with me, it's going to happen this week. And they're going to remember, like, I'm so glad this person is back in my life. I actually had a client text me and and tell me that that very thing, which was really lovely this week. And I think the reason that that's maybe something people don't consider is too many of us as business owners are operating from a sense of scarcity. We think if we are not available 24 hours a day, we're not responding to people's email within minutes. And we have the audacity to have an out of office responder that says I will not be responding to your email for the next three weeks because I'm in Maui with my family, that somebody's not going to like it. Well, at least for us and our business. I know that that those people aren't for us. We want to work with business owners who want to have three week vacations and who want to have a life and a business that they love. And so we want to be out there doing that loud and proud.

Steve Haase  19:29  
And honestly, it works for pretty much whatever business you have, right? The culture at your company starts with you as the business owner. And so if you say, I want you to be connected with your life, I want you to feel fulfilled in your whole life. But I've never taken a vacation. They're gonna know that that's lip service. So when you say I want you to feel fulfilled in your life, I want this to be a place where you can last a long time and do your best work. And then you take three weeks to do exactly that, then they'll know, oh, they actually mean it. This is a place where I should be taking time where I should be reconnecting, where they don't want me to burn out. Because look, the boss isn't burning out, the boss is taking that time. So maybe, gosh, maybe I can do it too. And so it's not just about what you can take for yourself, it's about the culture that you're creating, so that everyone can feel that kind of spaciousness. Now, maybe they haven't earned that much vacation time, if that's how you do it. Or maybe their role is such where they need to take it in different kinds of segments. What is important, though, is that you are setting the tone for the seriousness of the business, which is, you know, yes, it's serious, we want to succeed. And we're also here to really live our lives, and to get the most from this experience of being in this business. Right. And if you don't resonate with what I'm saying, then you're probably not in the right place, right like this. This is the kind of business that we're looking to create, these are the kinds of cultures that we're looking to help other leaders build into their companies, where your life is what's at the center, and then your business success grows out of that.

Erin Aquin  21:21  
Yeah, I think that that handles any of the old school kind of guilt that many people have. You know, we talked a little bit about preparation. So I want to be super clear that we didn't just decide in January to take a three week vacation in February, we've been doing this vacation regularly. And I let my clients know that this is happening months in advance when they when I'm, you know, setting up their schedule, if they're going to work with me for six months, they will see the three week gap. When someone signs up for a mastermind, and there's a vacation coming up, they will know that there's a three week break in there. I have clients in Europe who will take all of August off, because that's what you do in Europe, and our clients know to expect that. So I think part of the preparation is not only baking it into the culture with your team. But making sure that it's a it's something everybody knows about when when they're working with you if your work is kind of client based, like ours. Okay, I also wanted to, I promised I would share some of the ugly. And we've talked about some of the challenges of of taking a family vacation at a probably an odd time of the year when most people are like, new year new me. Let's dive in. It's only February. But let's let's really dig into some of the things that are not usually posted on Instagram, when you're traveling with your family, with your little kids. For a good amount of time.

Steve Haase  23:18  
Yeah, I think the thing that struck me was that every day there would be some kind of significant hardship. I mean, not like significant significant. But like, when you think about a vacation in Hawaii, you think about just Whoa, isn't that going to be luxurious. And yet every day someone would get burned, or scraped, or some kind of thing would fall apart in our daily daily activities. And if we were expecting everything to be perfect, those little things would put a damper on it. You're just like, ah, you know, our child who's playing in the waves hits a big one gets rolled over and wants to leave 10 minutes into the outing. What are you going to do? We just snuggle right? You just embrace, you roll with the fact that there will be screaming and crying and challenges along the way. And, you know, looking back at the end of the day, you might remember that, but that's not going to be the main thing that stands out. So learning how to roll with the issues that happen, I think was one of the things that that I appreciated from it from the ugly.

Erin Aquin  24:31  
Yeah, I think the thing for me is, is always that I'm still a human, even in Hawaii that our kids are still five and seven, even in Hawaii that I'm capable of disappointment or resentment, boredom, we talked about boredom. I'm capable of listlessness in Hawaii. You know there's sun shining down and I just want to lay on the couch. Sometimes, like, there is so many, like you, and insert whatever place you like to vacation. But as humans, we often hype up the, what the experience is going to be like. It's a magical sheen. And I've done this with our kids, many times. And every time I'm just like, Wait, there's crying in Hawaii. There's no crying in Hawaii. But there is, you know. So I think probably this year, we probably did a little better at giving ourselves and our children grace for, for the things, but luckily, our kids are amazing travelers. And it was it's like the number one question I get from parents, because the, we are on more on the eastern part of Canada. And it's two very long flights. It's a six hour five, five and or six hour time, change. Our children are magic on airplanes, they're wonderful. But at three in the morning, when they feel like it's time to get up. It can be it can be rough, and I think calling it a vacation could even be a mistake. Because it is more about family time, I think the way that I dealt with it, the way I dealt with it this year is I did not this is different from from previous years. But I did not tell myself that I had to like, relax, like I'm going away to relax, I want to let me relax kids, like, of course, my kids are not going to let me relax, they're going to want to play they're going to want to do things, they're going to want to do two different things. At the same time. I really took that unstructured three weeks, and was really clear with myself that the intention was not filling my own cup. But it was not that that that's a beautiful thing to do. But that's like a different experience. This intention was deep time, deep time with Steve and the kids. And, and with you, Steve like deep time where we were not doing business things. Because we spend a lot of time together in business mode and work mode. But we don't actually spend all that time much time hanging out as much as we used to.

Steve Haase  27:40  
I love that shift of perspective on it, even just the definition. Because, yeah, if you're looking to just fill your cup and relax, you're going to be kind of resentful of the times that you're just sweeping and cooking and cleaning and like doing the things like we didn't bring a domestic assistant with us not that we have one. Next time, though we will. And so you're just like, why am I cooking? Again? Why am I sweeping up all this sand? Why is there sand everywhere? You know, and so allowing the full experience to be what it is. And knowing that, you know, there's going to be some highlights, there are going to be some struggles. And in between, we're just going to be together allows it to kind of hit the mark in a way that otherwise you might think, Oh, it's you know, there's something missing.

Erin Aquin  28:35  
Yeah, and everybody eats seven meals a day. When you're on vacation. It's like always snack time, there's always food. There's always like somebody always needs to shower because they've got salt all over them. Like there's just going to be the same or more annoying stuff as there is at home minus school, too. Help out. I think it would be great to bring another adult to be a child support person. But this was not that kind of vacation. This was really just about connecting with our ourselves and each other. And I think it was a huge success. And I'm so glad to be back. That's the other cool thing. I used to dream about this Hawaii vacation every year. It was not because our life was terrible or anything but just because it was like we lived in a small apartment. It was cold. I just didn't have a lot going on. And now it's so cool to be at a place in our life and our business and I really want this for more of you are listening. But to be at a place where I'm just as happy sitting on the beach, watching the whales being in the magic of one of my favorite places on the planet. I can be just as happy there. As I am. At home. I am just as happy sitting on the beach as I am sitting, looking at the fire in our fireplace. And that is something I actually thought was never going to be possible. I definitely was one of those people that thought, like good points of the year happened when you're on vacation. And it's when you're traveling. And like that's where the magic is. But I feel like we're at a point where there's so much magic in our life, that we just change the scenery for fun. And, you know, Steven, I really want to help at least 100 business owners this year, create that potential for themselves. Maybe it's not a three week vacation for you, maybe it is just being able to close your laptop on Friday and not open it again until Monday. So one of the ways in which we are preparing to do that right now is through our upcoming three day workshop where we are going to teach you how to create relationship based sales. This is how we have grown our business so that we can take a three week vacation. We have incredible relationships with our clients. They refer us to their colleagues, their friends, their teams, and we've been able to build a very successful and beautiful business with aligned people. Because of this exact process that we're going to teach you over three days so that you can use it and adapt it specifically for your business in your industry.

Steve Haase  31:43  
You can sign up for the workshop today it is available at besuperabound.com/sales. It's only $47 For the three days. The value is much higher than that but we want to make it available. Everybody who is interested in growing their relationship based sales, having more aligned clients and customers. We can't wait to share it with you. It's coming up very soon. Go over there. Now sign up at besuperabound.com/sales I'll talk to you next time.