Take a Break!

surf pictureI’ve just returned from vacation with my family, and I’m feeling good! It was just a week away, and it was nowhere exotic, just staying with my Wife’s family in Michigan, but we needed it. Even though I still have unpacking to finish, and I realized that my daughter doesn’t go back to school for another two weeks, I do feel energized. This led me to give some thought to the role that vacations have in our lives.

Many of us, especially in the United States, work too much and play too little. A lot of people have become used to going into work early and returning late, giving up weekends and not taking enough vacation time. Even when we get time off, we’re still connected to our work by mobile devices that can (and do) interrupt us at any time of day or night. I’m convinced it makes us less productive.

So what constitutes a vacation? It doesn’t have to be sun, sand and surf (we spent one afternoon by the shore of Lake Michigan, and I soon left the rest of the group to go for a walk because I’m not especially into simply laying on the beach and the sun was just relentless – even so, I still got sunburned!). It was lovely not to have to cook and to have relatives to look after my daughter.

There’s an expression, “A change is as good as a rest,” and I’ve found that to be true. I didn’t do any tarot readings and kept my online time to a minimum. I continued work on some music I had been writing, and started a brand new piece. My business didn’t collapse! In fact I had some new ideas pop into my head, and I wrote them down for later consideration. Changing things allowed me to recharge my batteries, so I have the energy to enthusiastically tackle what needs to be done upon my return.

Sometimes, when you’re faced with a lot to be done, the answer is not to work harder, but to take a break, so you can work smarter when you get back.

Have you taken a vacation recently? How has it helped you? Reply here and let me know.

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The Creative Challenge

CreateThis week, I’m issuing you a creative challenge. We all do so much consumption, such as watching TV, reading, eating what someone else has made, etc. And that’s fine. After a hard day at work, I know people often need to unwind in front of something mindless.

But just this week, try replacing a passive activity with something creative. For example, instead of listening to music, I’m going to create some music. Instead of reading, I’m going to write some more pieces for my blog. There are many more things you could do – instead of going out for a meal, create a meal; instead of watching a tv show, how about creating your own video. Write a poem, paint, sing, create a garden, make a business plan.

Please feel free to share this challenge. And let me know what you created.

Book Review – Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People by Jessica Leigh Levin

You might be surprised to see a review of a “business book” on a tarot site, but there are specific reasons why I’m doing that here. Firstly, this book firmly straddles the line between business and self help/self improvement and that makes it relevant to many people I do readings for. Secondly, as you’ll read below, Perfect Pairings has changed the way I think and will certainly influence the advice I give to some of my clients.

perf5.000x8.000.inddI was originally going to preface my review of Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People by Jessica Leigh Levin with a disclaimer, saying that the author is a personal friend of mine (in fact, she gives me a shout-out on page 80!); however, I realised that being a friend of the author put me in somewhat of a unique position to add something to my review that I think is particularly important. You see, this isn’t a book containing armchair theories and “pipe-dreams.” I know from personal experience that Jessica practices what she preaches – she lives her life as a “connector.”

You’re probably familiar with “networking,” the technique of meeting people at events, etc., and finding out how those people can help us and vice versa. Connecting, as Ms. Levin describes it, is an alternative that can yield extraordinary and far-reaching results. Here’s an example of how the connector mindset works: I may be talking with someone, either in-person or online. I will be thinking of someone in my network who might be able to help this person meet their challenges, or I may be thinking of someone in my network who might benefit from the experience or expertise of the person I’m talking with. On the surface, it’s a very selfless act, but there are hidden benefits to the connector, as the author describes.

I always think that one of the signs of a great business or self-help book is that it gets you thinking about things you can do yourself, and Perfect Pairings is a perfect example of this. On almost every page I found myself thinking of parallels in my own life and how I could put the techniques and suggestions in the book to immediate use (and the book has inspired me to actually follow through with that); in addition, Jessica helpfully ends most chapters with an action item that pretty much anyone can do. The book also reassured me that, while networking is often an extrovert’s game, connecting works well for introverts too.

While Jessica started writing her book with the intention of it being a “business book,” she soon realized that the connector mindset could be a benefit to many aspects of one’s life, and so the book is full of great advice for not just making business connections, but personal ones too.

In conclusion, this is an easy-to-understand, practical, life-changing book that can benefit almost anyone.

Purchase the book from Amazon using the links below:

Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People (Paperback)

Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People (Kindle)