Have you ever noticed the wonderful and often challenging ideas that appeared naturally when being on holiday? The desires and wishes for your business and personal life that came to you without making any effort? I love my holiday-self. She is adventurous, lives in the moment, and feels both peaceful as well as energetic. When she is around, I suddenly know crystal clear what needs to happen in my life. It feels like magic. However, once I am back in the rush of everyday life, the attention on these new ideas fades very gradually until I often just forget.
Sounds familiar? So what happened? Is it just a fairy tale we are living in when we are on holiday? Is it the French wine that gives us a false sense of clarity? Theory tells a different story. Amy Cuddy (Presence, 2015) shows that when we expand our body into powerful postures (arms up, feet apart), we actually feel more powerful immediately. Our testosterone levels increase and our cortisol (stress) levels decrease, which leads to a greater willingness to take risks. Feeling more powerful helps us to be present in the moment, which increases our ability to connect with others. Peter Senge et al. (Presence, 2005), Otto Scharmer (Theory U, 2009), and Joseph Jaworski (Synchronicity, 2011) all tell us that when we are present and we slow down, when we engage in dialogue with others and suspend our judgment, we are able to drift into the field of flow, of presencing. When we are in this field and we listen in silence, we are actually able to hear and feel the future that wants to emerge through us.
So what does that tell us about the truth of our holiday-self? My hypothesis is that a lot of the things we do on holiday are the exact things that bring forth this different level of consciousness. We are being instead of doing and this helps to listen to the future that wants to emerge through us. When on holiday, we often spend a lot of time in nature. We expand our bodies, we are in silence, we see another country with our curiosity turned on, and we have profound dialogues with the people around us. Suddenly these ideas that come up through our holiday-self do not sound so silly anymore! They might be exactly what wants to emerge and what we need to be doing.
What happens when we go back to normal life and these very good ideas are fading? I believe that most of us immediately go back to our thinking, to our mental capacity. Our jobs and environment ask us to do so. And because our brain is the one that takes care of survival and is hence, very risk averse and anti change, it just loves to get us back to the safe business as usual. It leaves the good intentions for the Christmas holiday, when we will make our New Years resolutions.
What you can do to avoid this cycle? Bring a little bit of the holiday-self to the working life and create your own everyday holiday rituals! Holiday-self will love it and will reward you with wonderful ideas. These rituals could look like this:
- Be aware of your posture during the day: expand your body, dance, open up your shoulders and create space for your breathing and for your heart.
- See your world with fresh eyes: involve in daily dialogue with co-workers and customers, suspend your judgment and listen to what they are saying.
- And perhaps the most important one: slow down and create space for silence every day, so you can actually hear what wants to emerge!
My final question to you is: what were the intentions, dreams and challenging ideas that came to you on holiday? And what is needed to create space to harvest these great ideas?