What’s the recipe for a Perfect holiday?

Get ready for the Christmas Break

Should you use your holidays for a well-earned break or use the opportunity for continuous improvement? For me the question poses a false dichotomy as the two ideas combine perfectly.

Getting Bored: I don’t know about you, but I can only take so much downtime. Pinot Grigot coupled with grilled sardines is a solid lunchtime combination – up to a point. But, alongside this, I normally feel the need to keep sharpening the saw. In the words of one client: “I like to earn my lazy.”

New Ideas? Last year, I packed 3 ‘heavier’ books, alongside the usual mix of sex and violence literature and lugged it all through the airport. Must be some sort of a Catholic guilt thing. What did I learn? The heavier reading material was OK only; old wine in new bottles, nothing too insightful.  Missing the inspiration from the Gurus, I decided to try some reflection time. Long solitary walks and structured thinking about what’s working well and what’s not, both in business and in life generally. But I don’t do reflection particularly well. I’m more of s figure-it-out-as-I-do it type.  It’s often said that extroverts have to ‘talk it’ to think it (introverts do all this ‘heavy lifting’ inside their heads). Then I came across a quote from Thomas Szasz, which struck a chord. “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.” In other words, looking for yourself actually requires active experimentation. For some people this comes from ‘reflection’ while others (like myself) learn-by-doing.

Staying Focused: On most holidays, I get up early and write for at least an hour. Linda and the kids are generally asleep, so I’m not disturbing anyone. That early productivity then gives me a clear shot at the day and a crystal clear conscience to do absolutely nothing and horse into those sardines mentioned earlier. Or watch the British Open Golf Tournament for hours on end – lying on the sofa, snuggled up tightly beside my best friend (the remote control).  Writing has a twofold benefit (a)it sorts out the confusion in my mind about particular topics and (b) It helps with differentiation. Forget the line about rats in cities; no matter where you go, you are never more than 10 feet from a management consultant! So, writing is a marketingstrategy, an attempt to stand out from the crowd.

Self-Esteem: But, plugging away on books and blogs has another, hidden benefit. For most of us, the well of self-esteem needs to be continually topped up. Like physical fitness, confidence needs to be maintained. In my case writing ‘new stuff’ helps me to feel good about myself. It’s not just an antidote to the boredom of 24 hours with absolutely nothing to do. Creating something new helps me to feel that I’m continually learning and haven’t (yet) given up on exploring how organizations work and how best to survive them.

So there you have it, my recipe for a perfect holiday. All you have to do now is to figure out what works for you.

Central Point: Don’t assume that this automatically means doing nothing.


PS Lighter Note: Island Holiday

Guy goes into a travel agent and says: “I want to book a holiday.”

Travel Agent:“And, where would you like to go Sir?”

Customer replies: “I want to go to Majorca” (pronounced Ma-Jork-Ah)

The travel agent smiles and says:   “That’s actually Majorca” (May-Ork-Ah). “In Spanish, you don’t pronounce the ‘J’.  Anyway, when would you like to go?”

He replies: “Une or Uly.”

One Liners for your next meeting…

I thought I’d forgotten how to play Tetris, but once I started all the pieces seemed to fall into place.

My wife said she’s leaving me because I’m obsessed with Batman. What a Joker.

My wife told me I was immature and needed to grow up…guess who’s not allowed in my tree house?

Only read on if you are intellectually inclined (courtesy of Craig Varden in the US)….

ANNUAL NEOLOGISM CONTEST: The Washington Post published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. The winners:

  • Coffee (N.), the person upon whom one coughs.
  • Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
  • Abdicate (V.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
  • Willy-nilly (Adj.), impotent.
  • Gargoyle (N.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
  • Flatulence (N.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
  • Balderdash (N.), a rapidly receding hairline.
  • Rectitude (N.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
  • Pokemon (N), a Rastafarian proctologist.
  • Frisbeetarianism (N.), (back by popular demand): The belief that,when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
  • Circumvent (N.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. This year’s winners:

  • Bozone (N.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
  • Foreploy (V): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
  • Cashtration (N.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
  • Giraffiti (N): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
  • Sarchasm (N): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
  • Inoculatte (V): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  • Hipatitis (N): Terminal coolness.
  • Glibido (V): All talk and no action.
  • Ignoranus (N): A person who’s both stupid and an asshole

Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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