We all need “time off.” An opportunity to catch our breath, think differently, let our minds wander, etc.
And, we all have a responsibility to help others take that “time off” when necessary.
Last night, my wife took some time for herself. She got together with a few of her close friends for dinner. She left before dinnertime and got back very late. She had a great evening where she had to think of nothing else but herself and her relationships with her friends.
We owe it to ourselves and to those we love and those we serve, to be willing to take on the extra responsibility necessary when people need a little time of their own. Everyone needs to recharge regularly, and we must make it easy for others to take that time. That means that we need to help others recognize when they need time of their own, and just as importantly, help them to see the tremendous value in taking a bit of time for themselves.
Over the last few years, as I’ve become more adept at understanding that a bit of self-time isn’t a reflection on one’s worth or welcoming of responsibility, I’ve made an effort to encourage others, particularly my wife, to take some time for themselves. That means, however, that when, for example, my wife wants to take that time, I always say, “Have fun;” I never want to burden her with reasons why any given date might not be the best choice (that might simply lead her to think that she shouldn’t take the time to begin with). I also do my best to leave her be. Regardless of what is going on with the kids, or at home, I handle it as best as I can. When we need time, we need time exclusively; we can’t be constantly pulled back into the fold.
The same holds true for in the professional realm. When we recognize that people need their own time, place, and space, we’re showing our confidence in, and commitment to, their continued development as leaders and learners. And, in turn, they are more likely to do the same for us.