You have to disconnect in order to connect

Last month I flew to Salt Lake City, covered in snow, for a couple days of a conference. While it’s true I went to connect with some people, and to deliver a talk on diversity, those aren’t the reasons I chose to go to the conference in the first place. I chose to go to Salt Lake City because it was time to disconnect from the daily huddle at work.

After the final months of work, we’d just launched a new product – weeks before the conference. I’d been working on the product for a year. The launch effort had been months of work. The sales enablement work has been massive.

I was tired but the work had just begun. Now we had to hit our targets for sales, get on calls, do demos and more.

When the days, weekends, weeks and months start to blend together, I’ve learned a great trick from the leaders in my life. They take a break. They disconnect. Not to quit. But rather, to help them connect better.

These days I plan breaks quarterly. Sometimes it means going to a conference. Other times it’s a vacation. Still other times it means changing where I work from and adjusting all my regular calls.

But the goal is always the same – to disconnect in order to connect better.

When the days, weekends, weeks and months start to blend together, I know I’ll lose my ability to see the big picture, to make strategic decisions, and to evaluate longer-term consequences.

So I take a break. I disconnect.

And it always works.

A change of pace, context, schedule – it all works to get my head in a different place and see the world (and work) differently.