Work Hard – Play Harder!

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Living a good, fulfilling, and happy life is all about maintaining a good balance between your work and play, which includes large blocks of time devoted to resting and relaxing. To succeed in our work, we need to focus, to work hard, and to work smart. However, our culture doesn’t really advocate that we also need to play hard by taking time to rest and relax. We need to spend time with family and friends, to gaze across a landscape or ocean, to let our thoughts wander. Since we all seem to think that to succeed we need to be “on” 24/7, we lose sight of the need for slowing down, for doing fun activities, or for doing nothing and letting our minds wander.

My family and I just returned from a week in Orlando, Florida with our friends and neighbors, the McCanns and their two boys. Our son, John Robert, is best friends with the McCann boys —David and Ryan. They had a blast together. And the adults had a wonderful, adventurous, and relaxing time together, too.

We had warm, sunny days and very little rain. On our first day in Orlando, the Moms and the boys went to Universal and we had fun running from attraction to attraction. We were able to make it through the entire park because we had a fast pass and didn’t have to wait in any lines. The Dads enjoyed a day at the Kennedy Space Center and a quiet dinner at Cocoa Beach.

For most of the rest of the week, we floated lazily on tubes in the river, slid down the Hippo Slide, played miniature golf, and tried to master the rock-climbing walls. The boys were all great climbers. And in the spirit of relaxing, I chose to unplug from the outside world. No email or cell phone calls. It was wonderful; I felt so free. Of course, I came home to 1400 emails, but I was refreshed from the time off and able to cope with the challenge.

The vacation was a wonderful time to catch up with other friends.

  • We saw Susan Shatzer (from SDT) and her 16-year-old son, Nicolas, and went to dinner at Cracker Barrel.
  • On another night, we had dinner with Janet Dray (from Radi) and her 16-year-old son, at Ford’s Garage.

On the last day, the Moms went to Epcot. We embarked on the flight simulators of the Soarin’ Around the World ride. The journey took us over the Swiss Alps, the polar bears in Greenland, Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, powerful waterfalls in South America, and so much more. We enjoyed visiting the various sites of each country, but we especially enjoyed seeing their movies. We also had a great time with the Go Karts, driving a gas-powered car around sharp bends navigating up and down inclines, and viewing lush foliage. You would have thought the Dads and the boys would have opted for the fabulous rides. But no, the Dads took the boys to a movie at Disney Springs, which is a themed retail, dining, and entertainment center. 

I noticed some new things on this vacation.  

  • First, when you travel with others, you try new things. One night we went out for Thai food and everyone loved it. Another night, we tried Moroccan food, and it was quite tasty. Finally, we had prime seating for the Fireworks show in a designated area in the front of the pond. It was wonderful and the fireworks were fabulous.
  • Second, when you bring friends for your child the kids play together. John and I were even able to go to dinner one night, just the two of us, and celebrated our Wedding Anniversary. A couple of times, we even were able to lounge by the pool and read.
  • Third, unplugging while on vacation is an absolute must. It just makes the whole experience better. If anyone really needed either one of us, that person could contact us by cell phone. Nothing is that urgent and no one is that important. We need to stop kidding ourselves.

I hope that this brief travelogue has inspired you to indulge in a great family vacation. You work hard all year. Summer is the perfect time to get away and enjoy a new scene and view of the world. It’s a great time to sit on a beach, swim in a pool, walk through woodlands, imbibe the sites and engage in the rides of a theme park, or to try new dining experiences or old favorites, such as a BBQ.

Whatever you choose to do, remember it is important to play hard by resting, relaxing, and doing fun activities. This is the way to recharge for workday challenges that await you when you return home.

With gratitude and best wishes,
Lisa Sasso, Executive Coach & Motivational Speaker

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