Today is the beginning of one of my favorite weeks of the year. One of the distributors that we buy a lot of product from, Premier Performance, always take their top 100 dealers from the past year on a vacation. It started out as cruises and now has evolved in 200-300 blue collared diesel business owners and their spouses descending on a beautiful Mexican resort. Normally there are a ton of weddings going on and the contrast between their formal wedding attire and the black t shirted members of our group is sometimes comical. All in all though it’s a great time.
I believe this is our sixth time coming to this event. Not only are there 99 other businesses similar to ours but Premier also brings 20-30 manufactures of the product lines they sell and we do have a couple of days of training on each line. But what’s more important is the rest of the time we have here with these people. We have no schedules, nowhere to go, and ample amounts of alcohol to grease the wheels of conversation. I have met people on these trips that I have become lifelong friends with and admire them for the business ability. So here are the three things that I think this provides for me and every person who owns, manages, or is trying to build a business should be trying to seek these out.
- 1.I can go relax and not “Forget about work and relax”
I’m not sure everyone will completely understand or get this but I think about work/business like most people think about breathing. Wait you don’t think about breathing you just do it? The most natural thing in the world is to breathe. It’s actually way harder to try to not breathe. Same for me with work and business. Now let us understand that as I write this I’m sitting on our balcony sipping a drink and watching bikini clad women walk by. Definitely doesn’t suck. But what is great is that there are a ton of likeminded people here who also have probably uttered, “Shut Up” under their breath to everyone he had tell him, “Forget about work and relax next week” the past few days. So instead of the torture most vacations would be for me sitting talking to a random tourist about nothing, I get to spend my days comparing notes, strategy, and philosophy with some of the best people in our business. You cannot grow as a person if you are not exposing yourself to these people. It’s impossible to grow in the vacuum of your own little world.
- 2.You are only as big as your connections.
In business and life you absolutely need the connections that open doors for you that would otherwise be impossible. I think there is some confusion sometimes that a connection is someone who for example hooks you up with a free beer at the bar. I actually despise those type of connections. You need to work in life to make connections that are a fair trade of mind or idea. I have met so many people on this trip who have not only expanded my understanding of how things work, but also are eager for input on how things should work. And if you build the right sort of relationship with all these people you may be solving a future problem today that you don’t even know you had yet. And when it pops up you can either remember the lesson they explain they learned or contact them for help. Having a lifeline you can call on when you have exhausted all your available solutions is invaluable in business.
- 3.Being gone for a week and completely cut off centers me.
When you are completely immersed in your work seven days a week it’s very easy to get caught up in a hamster wheel. You can’t seem to take the time to see if it is really doing anything but wearing you out. While obviously I can still send email, facebook posts, texts, etc, this is a week that my staff has to more or less fend for themselves because it is harder to communicate. And they do a great job. This week exposes not only any weakness in the business that I may prop up by spinning the hamster wheel extra hard all the time, but maybe more importantly exposes all the strengths that my staff possesses that I may normally overlook. Over the years there have been hardly any real huge issues that they just couldn’t take care of. Everything hums along like normal. And any failures in process that I haven’t addressed show up. When I come back I get to take a look at how my world runs without me in it. Armed with new ideas and understanding from conversations I had the previous week it’s so much easier to objectively look at our operation and move it in a better direction for the future.
So here's to a week of business with a cocktail and some of my best friends on the planet all in Mexico. Cheers.