It’s Time To Do Your Dream

Think about the power of putting action behind your dream.

To walk through the possibilities, let’s start with a “small” dream – taking a vacation. For many people taking a vacation seems like a dream out of reach.

“Work will fall apart without me.”

“We can’t afford it.”

“The clean-up when I get back to the office just isn’t worth it.”

Etc. Etc. Etc.

However, when we decide to follow our dream, each of these can be rebutted and actions taken to support the desired end result.

Work will fall apart without me. First, I’m only buying this one if you’re a one-person shop. You aren’t that indispensable and if you are, then perhaps you do need to leave so that others understand all that you do – but that’s a post for another day! Back to following the dream… if this is true, steps can be made to mitigate potential problems. This is your dream! Plan in advance; recruit others to help you; hire administrative help. Whatever it takes, you’ll get creative because you have a dream.

Can’t afford it? Give something up and start putting that money aside for your get-away. My sister-in-law once pointed out that just $50 a paycheck set aside would get her to a tropical island within a year. Or maybe your trip is a gift to yourself when you get a bonus or pay off a credit card. Again, with focus you could overcome this obstacle as well.

Clean-up not worth it? Well, I’d argue that it always is; but if I can’t convince you of that here’s a creative idea for those of you who live in an email centric world. I heard about someone who put on his out-of-office replies that all emails he received during his time away were headed right to the trash bin and if it was important, please send the email after he returned. Do you love this?!

All of these things take conscious effort. Without the dream as a guide, either the vacation might not take place or the concerns may actually be realized, reinforcing that vacations are tough to take, afford and return from. The dream helps make it better all around.

Now, think about the power of putting action behind your dream. Buying a lake home. Having a baby. Retiring. Changing careers. Buying new furniture. Going to college. Starting a business. Cleaning out the garage. Volunteering in Africa. Planning a family reunion.

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Do your dream.

Coaching Challenge: Dreaming

It was a short week for blog posts so today’s coaching challenge will be short, too.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging, though!

Here we go….

  • Identify a few of your little dreams that you’ve been pushing aside because they seem insignificant.  Or at least not important enough to prioritize.  Now, prioritize them.  Set some time aside in the next week to get one or two of these done.  And then, enjoy accomplishing your little dream.
  • Create a bucket list.  If you have one, update it.  Put it up in your office or cubical.  Prioritize the items.  Pick one to shoot for in the next year.
  • Ask someone else what is on his or her bucket list.  You’ll have a fun conversation.  I promise.

Whether you’re dreaming of something to do three years from now or next week, dreaming, like setting goals, gives us a sense of direction and purpose.  Move toward your dreams, both big and small.

Bucket List Dreams

When I have the opportunity to speak on goal-setting, I always begin with a “Bucket List” exercise.  These dreams are long-term goals in disguise, which is why I start here.

Usually only about half the participants have thought about what they want to do, where they want to go, or things they want to acquire before they kick the proverbial bucket.  Regardless, every group dives in with amazing energy as they discuss, share, and compare their dreams.

There are always wannabe skydivers, fiscally responsible debt-payers, and sightseers to every corner of the planet.  There are also unique dreams which surface, too.  Either way, I’ve never seen anyone embarrassed by these dreams, common or not.  Instead, as ideas are shared everyone is challenged to grow their own list further.

Perhaps it’s a silly exercise.  After all, most of us will likely only be able to complete a portion of our list.  On the other hand, I’d rather have something to dream about; something to remind myself that I’m doing what I’m doing today so that I can fulfill a dream tomorrow.

Yes, some dreams are small.  But it’s fun to dream some big, bold dreams as well.

Checking an item off my bucket list in a hot air balloon over Sedona, AZ.

Dream A Little Dream

Not all dreams need to be big ones.  In fact, some of our smaller dreams keep us motivated, delighted to do what we can to achieve them.  It’s often these little things that are ours alone.  Goals others might deem strange or at least not very dream-worthy.

So what.  Dream them anyway.

Planning a night out with friends.  Cleaning out that one closet or room.  Finding time to make a favorite seasonal dish.  Organizing your desk.  Having the greenest lawn on the block.  Spending a day at the spa.  Making your own cleaning solutions.

Whatever your little dream is, figure out a way to make it happen.  These little things give a sense of accomplishment that we just won’t get from anything else.  These are the things we do simply for ourselves.  Sure, someone else might also benefit.  But really, we’d be happy even if realizing our little dreams didn’t affect anyone else at all.

Go ahead.  Dream a little dream.

What Relaxes You?

Sure, we all know we need to relax.  The next thing to do is to figure out exactly what that means.

This was brought to light as I discussed yesterday’s post with the teen mentioned there.  He said he relaxes all the time when he plays video games – and then proceeded to tell me which ones relaxed him the most.

Sigh.

Then again, maybe he’s right.  After all, who am I to say what will lower his stress levels?  Perhaps gaming really does do that for him.  I know there are plenty of things that other people do to relax that I would never, ever do to relieve stress.  Gaming would definitely cause me more stress than relief!  Golf is another example.  Just holding a club makes me tense up.  Others find it to be a perfect release.

Like happiness, success and so many other things, relaxation is yet another thing that we need to define for ourselves.  Whatever those things are for you, the key is to make time to do them regularly.

What’s Your Hobby?

Turns out that the topic for this week ties into the ideas of Stephen Covey discussed here yesterday.  The last few days have been dedicated to sharpening the saw, so to speak.  How so?  Through a hobby I have.

As Covey reminded us in his work, “sharpening the saw” is when we take the time to balance and renew our resources, energy, and health to “create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.” (Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how a hobby can take away the worries of the day, bring on a challenge, and provide new learning.  Oftentimes hobbies are purposeful as we create a tangible outcome – like jars of pickles, a renewed chair, or a beautiful photo album – or meet a particular goal – like finish a marathon, complete a kayaking journey, or summit a new peak.  This sense of purpose brings meaning to our lives and enriches us.

Unfortunately, hobbies find their way to the bottom or our priority list too often.  These activities can seem frivolous, even selfish.  They are, however, important to our self-development, to our learning more about ourselves, and to ensure that our lives are multi-dimensional.  We are more than our work.  We are more than our family.  Our lives are a tapestry woven with many different threads, and our hobbies provide some of the brighter strands.

While I committed a crazy amount of time to my hobby this week, I will reap benefits from this commitment for months to come.  I learned a few new things and enjoy looking at – and consuming – the outcome of my efforts.

Been a while since you spent time on your favorite hobby?  I leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie:

Today is life – the only life you are sure of.  Make the most of today.  Get interested in something.  Shake yourself awake.  Develop a hobby.  Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.  Live today with gusto.

Coaching Challenge: Play

Remember when it seemed like all you did was play?  Particularly in the summer months when schoolwork didn’t interfere with all the fun you had every day with your friends.  Or even on your own.  Of course there were times when you were bored, but mostly, you found something creative to do.

Today, let’s tap back into those memories and figure out how to bring more play into your adult life.

Here we go….

  • Recognize the play you already have in your life and be sure that it is made the priority it should be.  Don’t let this stuff fall off the schedule.
  • Identify a new activity you’d like to add to your calendar.  Learn a new instrument.  Join a group exercise class.  Find an instructor to teach you to knit or to carve wood or to fence.  Buy a kayak.  Whatever it is that you’ve been thinking you’d like to do and haven’t.  Yet.
  • Bonus points if the above item helps balance out how you spend your time at work.  Do you spend every moment with people all day long?  Play on your own.  Are your days filled with strategic planning and seeing the big picture?  You’ll find balance from an activity that focuses on detail.
  • Right now, go to your calendar and add an hour of play into next week.  For American readers, this should be EASY given that next week has one of our most playful holidays in it.

Now that I think of it, maybe that’s why I love Independence Day so much – because it really is a time to gather with friends and family to play and to celebrate the incredible freedom we have.  I hope you are able to do just that.

Enjoy!  And I will see you back here after the holiday….

Play Goals

We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Happier people make time for playing in their lives.  Children are natural players.  Unfortunately, as we age we forget how to play and most of us rarely prioritize it.

Why bother with what seems like a frivolous activity?

In the book Creating Your Best Life, Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch describe the benefits like this:

Playing games and being spontaneous make us smile.  Play goals also often involve learning new habits, making friends, getting fit, laughing, and exploring the world.  Psychologists note that humor is one of the most powerful antidotes to discouragement and pessimism.  Play also often puts us in a state of “flow” – where time stands still and we are completely engaged in the challenges in front of us – and it helps us restore our equilibrium and simply unwind or recharge our batteries when we need it most.

Play goals?  When I first read this – and even now – those two words stood out for me.  Who sets goals to play?

As I think about how I could bring more play into my own life, a few ideas have come to mind.  I’ll share them in hopes of getting your own creative ideas flowing.

I miss playing a musical instrument.  When I was a kid, I bounced from lesson to lesson, learning to play everything from the piano to the bassoon to the bass guitar.  I could set a goal around relearning to play – or I could pick up a new instrument again.

My workouts have become routine and a bit like work.  What could I do that would make working out more fun?  I’m going to do some research.

My teenager plays all the time – but mostly on his XBox.  I’m sure there are ways that we could play together as a family if we put our minds to it.  He’s always asking to play Monopoly! Maybe it’s time to establish a family game night.

Setting play goals.  Sounds odd, but perhaps it’s something we should all do so we don’t lose the playful spirit of our youth.

Balance Work And Play

Hey! Forget about what you think I’m going to say here. You’re thinking that I’m going to tell you to schedule more play time, do less work time. Well, that might be a good idea, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. Turns out that the type of play you choose can help you out at work. Intrigued?

If you’ve gone to college, been away at a retreat, or spent much of any time in the business world, you’ve likely taken some sort of self-assessment that has labeled you as “ENFP” or “Yellow” or told you that you have a “Driver” personality. And while that is interesting, particularly in relation to how those around you differ from you, what else did you learn to do with the information? Unfortunately, in the context of these learning events there is rarely time to delve much deeper. Here’s one way to take it a step further to apply it in your life.

In the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment I am the above mentioned ENFP. The E = Extroversion which means that my energy increases from being around people. My job, however, rarely requires me to be physically around people. This is actually OK because it gives me opportunity to exercise part of my self/personality/brain/spirit in a way that I wouldn’t naturally be drawn to – and it causes me to grow. It also means that my job can drain my energy more quickly than if I was around people in a more consistent way.

Enter PLAY! What I choose for my leisure activities can impact the energy that work takes from me. In assessing this pattern, I know that I should schedule “play time” that includes people. And so I do! When I get my energy adequately from my time outside of work, I’m loaded up and ready to do my job even when there aren’t that many people around me. Now, if the reverse was true, adding leisure activities like reading, taking nature walks or playing solitaire would challenge me to grow outside of my comfort zone.

Are you someone who loves detail and spends all day looking at the big picture? Add needlework to your relaxation time or volunteer to do the books for your favorite charity. Do you enjoy spontaneity yet spend your days doing the same tasks over and over? Don’t schedule your free time – just pick a location and go there when you have time to explore.

And so yes, I think you should include plenty of play time in your life. Adding play that gives you something different from what you do at work might bring more satisfaction to both work and play.

To dive deeper into this topic, check out Work, Play and Type by Judith A. Provost, Ed.D.

Playful Summer

Preparation for winter begins this week as I select the first of summer’s harvest to stash away for winter.  Summer just began a few days ago and as I blanch spinach to freeze, I am reminded again how fleeting these few precious months of warmth and sunshine are.  Almost in a panic, I realize that I need to get out and play.

Yes, play.

As adults we enjoy recreation.  We socialize.  We relax.  We exercise.  But how often do you get out and really play?  Do you remember the last time you let your playful nature take over?  Maybe you were tubing on the lake with your kids.  Or you created some silly game, spontaneously.  Or perhaps it was when you got the giggles with your close friends.

You know the difference when you begin to play.  Lightheartedness takes over.  Appearing a little ridiculous matters less.  Cares drop away.

It’s been a while since I was playful.  This week, I’m looking for the opportunity.

Take A Vacation!

It’s June!  It’s summer!  Where are you going on your summer vacation?  What?  No plans yet?  Yes… you can take a vacation.

You know that vacations improve your health, create stronger connections with your travel partners, and expand your view of the world.  There are those of you who know this and travel; there are those of you who know this and think you can’t.

As I’ve said here before, there’s little else that makes me crazier than hearing “I can’t.”  Here’s a few ways to help you consider how you can.

  • Vacation where you are.  Sure, the “stay-cation” is the latest trend… but there is something to it.  Almost everyone neglects some interesting things in their own city or town that tourists check out when they visit.  Within 100 miles of your home there are bound to be museums, historical sites, hiking or biking trails,  or unique eateries that you haven’t yet explored.  Take a day or a long weekend and check them out.
  • Plan.  When my sister-in-law decided to put away $50 from each paycheck, she had enough money to go to an all-inclusive resort in the tropics within 12-24 months.  Each of her family members did this and they were all able to go together.  Even small amounts add up over time.  Give up your daily coffee or eating out once a week and put it in a travel account.
  • Be prepared.  My husband traveled to Europe for the first time FREE because he had his passport ready to go.  Another friend traveled to China at a reduced cost because a friend asked her to join her on business travel.  If you don’t have a passport, you’ll never get out of the country.  If you do, you might.
  • Make vacationing a priority.  I mentioned this week that my parents were fans of extensive road trips (from Fargo, ND we DROVE to South Padre Island, TX and to Banff in Alberta, Canada – and we’ve done this with our kids as well).  Growing up on a farm, the only way my parents could escape work was to physically leave.  So we did, whether we had money or not.  Years without money included very rustic camping and some hotels we’d rather forget.  But we also created memories that last a lifetime.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, I encourage you to figure out a way to take a real break from the day-to-day.  Because yes, you can take a vacation.

Mood Boosters

In support of this week’s suggestions that you can, and should, choose to be in a good mood, here are a few ways find your way out of the doldrums.

  • Music.  This post in PSYBlog shares all the ways music can lift our mood.  But you knew this one, didn’t you?
  • Physical exercise.  A search on “Exercise and Mood” will return thousands of results supporting that exercise makes for a better mood.  One of my favorites is this one from USA Today citing research that found that the good mood created by exercise actually sticks around for up to 12 hours.  12 hours!
  • Pick up (or click on) a photo album.  Caroline Adams Miller shares in Creating Your Best Life that savoring happy memories makes us happy.  This one is great because so many of our happy memories are easily retrievable now on our phones or on Facebook.  And who can stay grumpy when the faces of our loved ones are smiling at us?
  • Smile.  “According to many experts, smiling may not only be an outward manifestation of a happy feeling. It may actually be able to cause a happy feeling. It’s the exact opposite of how most people see the smile-happiness connection, but with a growing body of evidence supporting the effect, it seems there may be something to it.”  Does Smiling Make You Happy? ~TLC
  • Figure out what is within your control.  As mentioned on Monday, discovering what we are able to control and taking steps toward getting there provides a sense of direction and tosses worry out the window.

There are many, many more ways to boost your mood.  Figure out what works for you and do it next time a bad mood comes around.

You can find all books mentioned in this blog online at the Coach Carolyn Store.

Coaching Challenge: Friendship

This week is going to be a short one.   Today will be “Friday” for this week’s blog and we’ll meet up again next Tuesday to spend some time thinking about New Year’s resolutions (of course!).

I’ve never met anyone who would confess to be a perfect friend.  Nor have I ever heard anyone say, “I spend way too much time with my friends – I really need to cut back.”  No, friendships seem to be hard to prioritize for many people.  With this in mind, here are a few challenges for you to consider:

  • Make a date.  Call up or email a friend you haven’t seen in a few months and schedule time to meet.  The slow week between Christmas and New Year’s is a perfect time to catch up!
  • Send a note to a friend far away.  Use pen and paper!  How lovely it is to receive a card telling us that we’ve been thought of.  Don’t just sign your name.  Write a few lines as well.
  • Phone a friend.  Next time you’re in the car waiting for a kid to get done with a lesson or practice, call a friend.  If you get their voicemail, be sure to leave a message.
  • Be a better friend. Pick one thing from yesterday’s list to try out on your friends.
  • Think about making a Friendship Resolution.  Ready to be a better friend in 2012?  Next week we’ll talk about how to set a resolution that works.  Seems like a more fun resolution than losing weight or working out, doesn’t it?!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!  Enjoy every minute of your time with family and friends!

Make Time For Friends

There’s a lot of talk about spending time with family during the holidays – and our focus is often there.  That said, it’s also the time of year when we gather with friends because we have the excuse of holiday parties to meet up after weeks and sometimes months of not seeing one another.

We had the opportunity to join our friends at one of these events last night.  As our friends arrived all at once, the feeling that breezed into the house with them was so loving and warm.  It made everyone feel cherished and blessed all at once.

This sort of closeness doesn’t happen by chance.  We’ve been hanging out for quite a long while and we’ve all made a commitment to these friendships.  We’ve supported each other through cancer, divorce and loss.  We’ve made meals.  We’ve held each other and cried.  We’ve traveled together.  We’ve celebrated weddings, birthdays and graduations.  And we’ve laughed.  A lot.

I’ve never understood when people say that they would like to spend time with friends but they just can’t find the time.

Make time.

Not just because you will need these people sometime in your life – because you will – but because it’s to your benefit to have them in your life every day.  According to the Mayo Clinic, friendship

  • Increases your sense of belonging and purpose,
  • Boosts your happiness,
  • Reduces stress,
  • Improves your self-worth,
  • Helps you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one, and
  • Encourages you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

So why is it that you don’t connect with your friends more often?  What will it take to make them a priority?

Make time to be a friend.

Gift Giving

So much press has been given these last few days to our collective spending and while that is economically interesting, our focus should really be on giving instead.  This may be a little late for many of you, but for those who are like me and have yet to purchase a single gift, here are a few thoughts…

  • Give only what you can afford.  Giving gifts beyond our means not only hurts us when January rolls around, it simply isn’t authentic.  Part of who we are is our financial situation and when we represent ourselves as having more than we actually do, we create an image of ourselves that is inaccurate.  Be truthful to yourself and those around you.  Stay within your means.
  • Consider consumables.  My friend Melissa over at Ms. Simplicity is a big fan of giving gifts that don’t hang around to clutter the home later.  Her recent post on giving experiences has a lot of great ideas as well.
  • Remember that the gift is for them, not you.  Make sure that when you’re giving someone something that you love that they will love it, too.  Even those gifts that seem benevolent – like gifts to charities in honor of our loved ones – can sometimes be about what we love best, not what the recipient loves best.  It should be obvious that we should keep the other person in mind, but we’ve all received gifts that were more about them than us.  Try not to do that to others.
  • Move beyond the gift card.  I have teenagers so I get it.  But try for something a little bit thoughtful, too.  Think in terms of a gift card plus a small item – perhaps a favorite candy bar, a book mark or an ornament would add a little bit of personality to your gift giving.
  • Have fun!  Giving gifts should be a joy and if it isn’t, something isn’t right.  Take some time to figure out what it is that’s bugging you and fix it.  Perhaps you’re spending too much, giving something that you know a person doesn’t need, or feel that there’s no heart in simply selecting something off a wish list.  If so, adjust and do what feels right for you when selecting gifts for the ones you love.


Coaching Challenge: Vacation

In making the case for taking vacation time, I hope a few of you began to think about adding this important piece to your health regimen.  To solidify it, here are a few vacation and traveling challenges for you to consider.

Here we go…

  • Schedule a day off.  Send the request to your manager today.  Have it coincide with a day your kids have off so you can explore a museum or zoo.  Or land it randomly in an upcoming week so you can spend a restoring day at a spa, driving in the country, or cross-country skiing in a city park.  Do what you want to do.  Feel your stress level go down…
  • Dream.  I find that when I dream of traveling, soon I am.  Buy a copy of a travel magazine or, better yet, subscribe.  (Budget Travel is one of my favorites – because I’m a bit of a cheapskate.)  Make a bucket list.  Sure, you might not get to all the places you want to go.  But if you dream about it, you may get to some.
  • Plan.  Have a dream spot in mind?  An event you don’t want to miss?  Friends or family you haven’t seen in too long?  How can you make it happen?  Figure out how much money and time it will take and then start working toward it today.  If you don’t start, the likelihood of your trip happening at all will decrease.
  • Find something in your community you haven’t done before.  Do it.
  • Get your passport.  You’re sure to never leave your country if you don’t have one.
  • Change your thinking.  Next time you hear yourself say, “I can’t afford to travel,” or “I can’t take time off from work,” say instead “How can I find the money to travel?” and “What would I have to do to plan time away from work?”  Get creative.  Allow the possibility.

That’s a lot to do!  You better get right on it if you’re going to get out of here anytime soon!


Yes, You Can Take A Vacation

You know that vacations improve your health, create stronger connections with your travel partners, and expand your view of the world.  There are those of you who know this and travel; there are those of you who know this and think you can’t.

As I’ve said here before, there’s little else that makes me crazier than hearing “I can’t.”  Here’s a few ways to help you consider how you can.

  • Vacation where you are.  Sure, the “stay-cation” is the latest trend… but there is something to it.  Almost everyone neglects some interesting things in their own city or town that tourists check out when they visit.  Within 100 miles of your home there are bound to be museums, historical sites, hiking or biking trails,  or unique eateries that you haven’t yet explored.  Take a day or a long weekend and check them out.
  • Plan.  When my sister-in-law decided to put away $50 from each paycheck, she had enough money to go to an all-inclusive resort in the tropics within 12-24 months.  Each of her family members did this and they were all able to go together.  Even small amounts add up over time.  Give up your daily coffee or eating out once a week and put it in a travel account.
  • Be prepared.  My husband traveled to Europe for the first time FREE because he had his passport ready to go.  Another friend traveled to China at a reduced cost because a friend asked her to join her on business travel.  If you don’t have a passport, you’ll never get out of the country.  If you do, you might.
  • Make vacationing a priority.  I mentioned this week that my parents were fans of extensive road trips (from Fargo, ND we DROVE to South Padre Island, TX and to Banff in Alberta, Canada – and we’ve done this with our kids as well).  Growing up on a farm, the only way my parents could escape work was to physically leave.  So we did, whether we had money or not.  Years without money included very rustic camping and some hotels we’d rather forget.  But we also created memories that last a lifetime.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, I encourage you to figure out a way to take a real break from the day-to-day.

Really, You Need A Vacation

Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and thought – or muttered under your breath – “SHE needs a vacation!”?  There’s a reason we’ve all done this – it’s because we inherently know that going on a vacation releves stress.

So why has it been so long since YOU took one?

Many studies have shown the benefits of vacations to our health.  Specifically, those folks who don’t take vacations are more prone to heart attacks and other nasty consequences.  (You can check out one article here… and there are many more if you search.)  In the short term, vacationing improves your sleep and reaction times as well.

Personally, I know that even vacations that have had stressful moments (and most do) have resulted in a calmer me upon my return home.  And just as family memories are built on short trips as well as longer ones, even taking a day to just be at home with no obligations can serve as the mini-vacation I sometimes need.

So figure out when you can take a break – for your health.

Find me on Facebook.

Family Time On The Road

I have a confession to make.  I don’t remember a lot of day-to-day details of my childhood.  Most of the memories I have were during a trip taken – whether to visit relatives, tag along on a business trip, or on an extensive road-trip that my parents were particularly fond of making.

Fast forward to adulthood, this realization wasn’t lost on me.  Traveling with family is a unique time to bond, learn more about each other, and share mutual experiences.  “Collect experiences and adventures, not things,” is pretty much our family motto.  And we’ve been lucky to collect many adventures along the way.

If you’d rather not take my word for it, perhaps this quote from Psychology Today will bolster your belief:

An international group of researchers led by Purdue University Xinran Lehto concluded that family vacations contribute positively to family bonding, communication and solidarity. Vacations promote what is called the “crescive bond” (in sociological parlance, a “shared experience”) by fostering growing and enduring connections. Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work, and so on) help to promote these positive ties. Though family vacations can have their own share of stress, the benefits outweigh the risks, even in families that are not particularly close, according to Lehto and co-authors.

Our close-to-home trips created as many memories as those thousands of miles away.  The key is simply carving off time to be with those we love and being present in the experience with them.  While it should be possible at home, it often isn’t.  A family vacation creates an environment where it can’t help but happen.

Oh yeah, there are a few stories of one of us melting down along the way (there are even pictures of a few instances!)… but that just adds to the memories we now cherish.

Headin’ Out

After several months of being Earth-bound, I took to the air last week and will do so again tomorrow.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoy traveling and also was reminded why I’d get so sick of it too.  Travel can be a bit of a double-edged sword.  That said, travel is definitely something that changes us.  Regardless of the length of the journey, cost to us, or the purpose of the trip, we can’t help but return home changed.

The latest travel data I could find showed that in 2005 64% of Americans had traveled away from home in the previous year.  If you’re in that bucket, good for you!  For the other 36%… you need to get outta here!

Yes, I know vacations cost money.  Yes, I know that we hesitate to take time off from work.  Yes, it takes time and energy to plan.  And yes, it is worth it.

So for the 36% who haven’t left their abode for a year, those who speak with pride about all the vacation time they have accrued or the many without a passport… this week I plan to encourage you to take to the highways or skies.

All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it. ~Samuel Johnson

Check out this interview with me from the Dale Carnegie ND online magazine!