I Ruined Our Honeymoon
I ruined my honeymoon. Well, that’s not quite the truth. I actually postponed our honeymoon. For nearly 15 months.
When I got married years ago, I was working insane hours for a company that was in the middle of a divestiture. I was the only human resources executive, and I didn’t feel that I could be out of the office during such a tumultuous time.
When the divestiture finally happened late in that same year, I found myself neck deep in managing both businesses – again, as the lone HR executive – and the hours remained insane.
The following June, my husband of one year said that he was ready for our honeymoon and that “no” was not an option. So, we spent a few months planning:
A 5,000-mile roundtrip excursion on our motorcycles with only one thing in mind:
camping in Yellowstone National Park.
I can hear you from here. 5,000 miles on a motorcycle??? Yes! Don’t feel sorry for me. My husband and I met on a motorcycle ride, and, though it took us a while to be able to say it out loud, it was love at first sight. Every moment of our honeymoon and (almost) every one of those 5,000 miles were glorious, and I loved him even more for his “get on your bike” stance.
I made my husband the sole focus of our honeymoon, and it was truly the greatest trip I’ve ever been on. We did everything we wanted – and a few things that were not on the agenda (ask me someday about my husband almost falling off a mountain cliff) – and thoroughly enjoyed each other. We grew closer together, we bonded more deeply than I ever thought possible, and our love grew deeper. I was reminded that I married a really good man.
Despite that, when we got home, I went right back to the crazy hours.
The truth, in my defense, is I thought I was being an example to other leaders – dedication, commitment, leadership, discipline. And I was.
The second truth is I failed to realize during the first 18 months of our marriage that I was showing everyone, including him, that my husband was “second”… Second to long hours; second to that job (which I left just a few years later); second to business owners (PE-ownership) who didn’t care whether I was dedicated. Or committed. Or disciplined.
The third truth is, in my dedication-commitment-leadership-discipline, I had unnecessarily taken on myself the burden of the divestiture. I didn’t see that the company lacked the support, guidance, and team to make the transition successful and that nothing I did or didn’t do could change it.
Those truths have provided some valuable lessons.
Build your team. If you can’t hire a team, strategize with your boss on how to train a back-up for those times when you deserve to be out of the office.
Develop a cross-functional working environment. Provide opportunities for others to grow into other disciplines. Let people experience different projects and events.
Let it go. When you are on vacation – or your honeymoon! – learn ways to let work go. I would argue that continuously thinking about the day-to-day job and what you “might” be missing shows poor leadership. Micromanaging while remote sends a clear message of lack of confidence, respect, and trust in those on your team who are handling the work while you’re away. It shows your loved ones that they are not a priority; it also reveals where your self-care stands as a priority.
- The greatest lesson I learned was to be present. Completely and totally present. That’s a gift that every leader must learn. And it’s a gift that must be shared with family and friends first, even while building the skill into work relationships. Spending quality time with the ones you love brings great joy and energy to life.
Yes. As business leaders, we have an obligation to take care of the business. We all understand that. While we’re taking care of business, let’s work to remember the difference between dedication to work and overwhelmingly committing our time and effort at the expense of ourselves and others. The line between them can be as broad as we will allow it to be.
There are so many things in life more important than work. Family, relationships, health, well-being, and taking care of ourselves, to name a few.
Need help with prioritizing the important things in life? Take the initiative and touch base with me. I’ll help you find what’s truly important and how to engage in those things more deeply. You’ll learn to be more present. And we’ll have fun on the journey of discovery.
Let’s move forward. Together.
P.S. Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!
P.P.S. With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader. My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching. I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.