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Holiday Confessions of a small business owner

A holiday. We went away for seven nights to Fiji in late April. Our first official holiday since COVID. A privilege, yes; hard-earned, yes. The significance in this instance? It is the first time in 13 years since I started my self-employment come small business leader journey that I travelled without my laptop. The first time I didn’t respond to emails while on holiday, and the first time I kindly reminded well-intended business text messages that I was on holiday with my family.

These are the six things I learned.

  1. It is not true that small business owners ‘need to be always on, even on leave’. A client has previously commented to this effect, nearly daring me to switch off from them. I finally rebelled. And it was safe.

  2. Because being constantly on is slightly arrogant and very flawed, I’m humbled to know that I add value. However, the world doesn’t need me every moment to survive. And on the flip side, absence does make the heart grow fonder or at least more appreciative. It’s not a bad thing to remove yourself so people realise the resource they have in you.

  3. We ALL deserve time to switch off. It’s essential for our personal and professional growth. In those moments of stillness, we can access our clarity and creative thinking; for a lateral thinker like me, it’s how I tap into reflection and possibility.

  4. The team had my back and stepped up to handle any issues because they were more than capable. They stepped into their power and owned it through the good and the bad. As a reluctant leader in the sense that I’m a natural doer, this was as close to business enlightenment as I can currently fathom. Thank you, team TMB!

  5. And honestly, they probably enjoyed some time without mother hen over their shoulders. Did they probably play up a little, come in late, and leave early? Does that matter if it’s a novelty they can enjoy occasionally? I don’t believe so. Good people do the right thing and recognise the strings they can pull when appropriate. It’s a dance of respect.

  6. And finally, and most significantly. My kids and husband noticed the change in me and revelled in it. The joy my boys (11 and 15) radiated and how they bathed in my presence is a gift I cannot articulate. My husband, who is always my number one supporter, took the time to acknowledge that this was a significant change for me and that he was so happy for me. He has witnessed my dedication to my career and income for over 13 years. He carried my crying and frustration when we took our boys to Disneyland in 2018. We saved and earned this trip, during which I lugged around my laptop in fear of survival, jumping on constantly to put out fires. I’ve done the same for trips locally in Australia. It was never right to do that.

On return, I’m back into it (and yes, over a month on, the catch-up hangover is accurate). Right now, in this era of my life, hard work is okay, it’s inherent in me, and I recognise it is a privilege to have that path as an option. But! Not honouring and appreciating time to rest is of no benefit to anyone in my personal and professional circle. The new boundary is now defined.


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