Get away to work on your business

Get away to work on your business

It was not long after 9/11 and I was sitting in a square in Nepal watching two small children playing together with sticks. They had few possessions, but they were happy.

Taking time out from my hectic life as an executive in a global role gave me time to think and reflect. I wasn’t going to take the trip; I was too busy. I am glad I did go.

I had a good high paying job, an MBA, a great team but I wasn’t happy or passionate about what I was doing. I decided that I would set up my own business to inspire others to lead the lives they want to live.

Fifteen years later I am still following my passion. I have several successful businesses and, while there are ups and downs, I am enjoying life.

I read a report recently that said many Australians are afraid to take leave. That is a sad and short-sighted state of affairs. If as a leader, your organisation has that culture, this is something you need to address.

As business leaders we know we need to work on the business, not just in the business. When we hold a strategic planning day we know we should take ourselves out of the office – away from distractions, so we can focus.

Often business leaders or small business owners fall into the trap that they cannot be away from the business. You need to be away from the business to work on it and to make sure your staff and systems work without you. That could just be working from home or closing the door for an hour. Or it could be a holiday or a purpose-based trip.

For many Australians, including corporate groups, walking the Kokoda Track has become a popular and effective way to learn about a part of Australia’s history, but also to put life and business in perspective.

Purpose-based travel is a great way to take yourself out of your comfort zone and give you time to renew and think clearly. You can combine work and business.

Having being born in India, but spending most of my life in Australia since the age of 11, I wanted to reconnect with my homeland. After a significant birthday and a hectic couple of years in business, it was time to take another trip.

While in India I came across an amazing charity called Barefoot College that helps women and girls to lift themselves out of poverty.

I met a young girl, aged 13, who was the student president of one of Barefoot’s night schools for girls in rural India, who have been taken out of school either to marry or to work to support their family.

Her story again put my life in perspective, but also my business. One of my passions is empowering women to lead the lives they want to live. Taking the trip allowed me to stop and discover something that has now become an important part of my life. I am now on the global Board for Barefoot and fundraise for them whenever I can. I went back to doing more mentoring and coaching of women.

So make time in your diary to take time out to work on business or on your own energy levels and reserves. Purpose based travel may be something that helps.

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