Transforming Talk at Work | December 2016

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Dear Reader,

I have a confession to make. I went on a two-week vacation to southeast Asia. By myself (mostly). No spouse. No kids. I’ve never done that before.

And, I’ve never been on a two-week vacation. Ever.

My trip was not entirely solo. The first four days and the last two days I was on my own. In between, I had the delightful opportunity to vacation with one of my closest friends, who is an expat in Malaysia for a few years.

And while I was away, my brain was washed.

My brain was seriously cleansed. It was as if a power washer shot sudsy water through all of my neuropathways, rinsing away the cobwebs, the thought patterns that don’t serve me well, the beliefs that hold me back (yes, I have those, too!).

And at every turn, I was fully present. Not half-at-work, half-on-vacation. Totally, 100% present and checked-in in vacation mode.

Bargain hunting at markets in Bangkok.
Cocktails on a helipad in Kuala Lumper with a beautiful view of the Petronas Towers.
Beautiful sunsets on the beach in Borneo.
Scuba diving off a remote island in the South China Sea.

The experience served me well . . . and I can’t help thinking it would serve you well, too. I disconnected with my everyday life like never before and went “all-in” in vacation mode.

This is so counter to the way Americans usually vacation (picture a laptop at the beach and a smartphone on a trek through the jungle!).

And here I am, several weeks on the other side of my vacation, and my brain is still (mostly) clear. Now that I’ve had this massive reset, it is easier to catch counterproductive thoughts or behaviors as they begin to emerge . . . and kick them to the curb.

My wish for you this holiday season is to for you to get some brainwashing of your own. Whether it is truly a two-week vacation like mine was, or whether it is time you cherish with your family, or even simply an hour or two building a snowman with your kids.

Let go of everything else.

Be completely and utterly present.

Whether you can check out of your regular life and into vacation mode for two weeks, two days, or two hours, carve out the time to make it happen.

You’ll be glad you did!


Digest This: Why You Need a Vacation

The Data Driven Case for Vacation Harvard Business Review
Americans are foregoing their paid vacation days at an alarming rate. And, it is hurting their careers. You don’t get ahead by staying late at the office every night and working weekends. In fact, people who use 11 or more days of vacation are more than 30% more likely to receive a raise.

Use Your Paid Time Off: It’s Good for You, Your Company and Our CountryForbes
Each year, Americans fail to use all their vacation time, amounting to over $52 billion of earned benefits down the drain. And most of the companies they work for don’t even have the use-it-or-lose-it system from days gone by (just 25% of companies do). Your unused vacation is a financial liability for your organization, as well. So, take the time off and refresh yourself, spend down some of your accrued time off, and stimulate the economy – here or abroad.

The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off Entrepreneur
Worried that time away from the office will put a damper on your productivity? It is quite the opposite. Draining your resources, day after day, results in depletion, stress and potentially burnout. Productivity? Down the tubes. It may be counterintuitive in our non-stop culture, but a vacation will bring you back to the office refreshed, recharged and with new ideas – that would have never shown up, even if you had worked the weekend!


My Treat:

A Sweet Treat for the Holidays

Need a quick hostess gift for a holiday party? Or just “a little something” instead of dessert? Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans hit the spot. They’re only around this time of year, so get them before they are gone!


Transforming Talk Format Change for 2017

The Transforming Talk newsletter has followed the same format for the past two and a half years. In entrepreneurial years (think dog years), that’s a looooong time.

Watch for a new format, coming in January 2017!


Until next time,

Janel Anderson, PhD
Workplace Communication Expert and CEO of Working Conversations

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