CommonSense Blog

Keep Calm and Go Back to Work…

By Mark Bennett | Aug 08, 2013

I’m just back from sabbatical and thrilled to rejoin my colleagues here at W2O Group.  As I’m catching up, it’s great to see all the things that have happened while I was away.  We were ranked the 25th agency in the world by The Holmes Report, Dave Mihalovic was named COO, and my old desk-mate, Chris Deri, joined us (just before I went away).

So now that I’m back, I wanted to reflect on a few things that I wrote about before going out…

Five weeks ago I mentioned I was a bit anxious about totally unplugging.  I didn’t entirely succeed with that, but I did better than I thought.  As mentioned, I removed Twitter from my iPhone and haven’t been back on it yet.  I did, however, keep work email on my phone just so I could keep up with cleaning out my inbox and not face it all today J

All in all, the privilege of having the opportunity to take a sabbatical cannot be understated.  It is an amazing perk and a great way to recharge.  Thank you Jim!

So how did I do?

In my last post, I noted five things I wanted to do during my sabbatical.  I didn’t get through all of them, but I’m pleased with the results nonetheless.  Here’s a update for those keeping score:

  1. Visit Yellowstone National Park and fly fish on Trout Lake  – we did visit Yellowstone, Great Teton Park and Jackson Hole.  That part of the country is amazingly pristine.  I highly recommend visiting there if you have not already.  We saw plenty of wildlife and natural attractions but I did not go fishing.  Instead, on that day, I joined my family for a horseback ride. After all, I have access to some great fishing on the Saugatuck River and when is the next chance I’ll get to horseback ride with my family?
  2. Build a tree house  – The weather didn’t cooperate, so we’ve postponed this to be a weekend project
  3. Read actual books – Inspired by my trip West, I re-read Edward Abbey’s Monkey Wrench Gang
  4. Help in the garden at Ambler Farm – Despite the heat, I did get out there for a few hours of weeding and training pole beans to climb the garden fence
  5. Start planning my next sabbatical – I did not quite plan my next sabbatical, but I did book a family vacation to Hawaii!

In addition to these and all the other things I did, I also learned a few things in my time away:

  1. Just like every hero should have theme music, every plan should have an audible – Jenn Gottlieb will tell you that I’m a chart the course kind of guy.  It’s true, I do like to have a plan. But I realized during these last five weeks that it is equally important to have an audible you can call when that plan doesn’t work.  In my case, things like the weather and a swollen knee forced me to change my plans and do different things.
  2. You can find inspiration all around when you slow down and take a look – One day I was out for a run and passed by an older man wearing a “Veteran” hat.  He stopped me and said, “You young people are on the move while us old people are trying to move!”  It was just the right timing – I was about 2 miles into my run and thought about finishing up but he inspired me to continue on.  I also found inspiration in my friend Jeff Snyder, who created the Wilton Cure-iors team as part of the Million Mile Run.  My wife and I have committed to covering 100 miles in September to support the fight against pediatric cancer.
  3. Disconnecting is a matter of personal taste/tolerance – Some people thought I should have completely disconnected.  Instead, I decided to keep my phone with me (mostly) and did frequent Facebook and Instagram, but that was purely social.  I definitely needed to break my routine and found myself ok with not checking twitter every 30 seconds.

 

It was great to get away and refresh and it’s nice to come back, too.  Stay tuned for the next installment in five more years!