Vacation vs Work: Why You Need the Same Mindset to Win at Both

POST DATE Apr 26, 2017

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

Like many of you, I go on vacation with my family every year. For some people, otherwise known as workaholics, vacation is a struggle. But most people love going on vacation and spend a lot of time planning the perfect annual holiday. Some people spend more time planning a vacation than actually experiencing the vacation.

If you travel with others, you know that every detail of the trip is up for debate. Everyone wants to maximize their vacation time and take advantage of every free minute. That can take a lot of planning, and a lot of discussion and compromise to please everyone on the trip.

If a vacation is well-planned, most of the time everyone returns happy.

Stop! Think about what I just said: well-planned and happy. What a concept. Don’t you wish more businesses did the same thing?

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Often, the first thing I notice about a business is that there’s a general lack of planning going on. Not in all businesses, but most. My definition of proper business planning is taking a proactive approach to executing business decisions. Instead, I see many businesses execute activities without planning beforehand.

Usually the results of this are either less than desired, or a total disaster.

It’s like a poorly planned vacation: everyone comes home in a bad mood, someone might have a broken limb, and someone else may have contracted food poisoning. Not a fun time.

Related: Signs Your Company is Failing and What to Do About It

I wonder why many businesses don’t take the time to plan for the future. Some act on the spur of the moment, without consulting any key stakeholders.

If you’re married or have a significant other, then you know doing a vacation this way would not go well to say the least. Nothing good is going to come of that. 

I have always been a believer in being proactive. I mean, what’s the alternative? Believing in doing nothing? Who wants to stand for that?

Be Proactive Today, Save Your A** Tomorrow

While even the best laid plans may go awry, usually if you take a proactive approach, you can avoid true disaster. Thinking of risks, mitigating them and planning the fine details of how to get to your goal will 99% of the time result in a successful outcome.

On vacation, you can’t always mitigate the risks effectively, such as ingesting that one ice cube that’s going to keep you in the lavatory for long periods of time, or swimming in the crystal clear water until a jellyfish stings you. These things happen, and they can ruin a vacation.

The same applies to your business.

You may not always see the jellyfish coming. It could be a crash in the economy, a competitor releasing a new and improved product, or a long-term customer switching to someone else. But with careful planning, all of these things can be overcome with planning and strategic action.

The next time you need to make a business decision, treat it like a vacation. Think about all the possibilities and make a plan. Your results will be much better with a clear goal in mind.

Oh and by the way, it’s always a good idea to pack an extra roll of toilet paper… both on vacation and at the office. You never know when you might need it!

Author: Udo Jahn

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