Do You Need Support to Take a Break?

gaspeToday’s guest post comes to you from a good friend of mine, Alex Fayle. He’s been here before, and his posts struck a chord with many people. Now, he’s going to strike another chord. Enjoy.

I’ve posted on runaway speeding trains and crashing your business or burning out your engine. I’ve also posted a starter plan to ease up on the train’s throttle so you can take a vacation.

Some of you already had vacation plans in mind, and others said, “Va-…ca-shun. Sorry, I don’t know that word.”

Honestly, I didn’t expect many people to follow through on either article. After all, you freelancers are workaholics. You didn’t start your own business to work less; you started it because you love what you do and wanted to do lots of it.

James was one of those freelancers I didn’t expect to follow through on his vacation plans. He’s Mister Busy with plenty of different projects on the go. He also hasn’t taken any sort of vacation in years. Why start now?

In conversation with him, I’d toss out the question weekly. “So, how are the vacation plans coming along?” I didn’t expect him to answer anything but, “Well, I’ve been busy.” I never thought he’d follow through on his dream of having a small vacation.

Then one day, out of the blue, he told me he had actually begun taking steps to plan for summer holidays. I’ll let James tell you in his own words what happened:

Once Upon a Time…

I’ve been wanting to take a vacation for some time, but it just never seemed the right time. Someday I’d take a vacation. Not yet. Too busy, got too much on the go. And besides, who’d watch the fort while I’m gone?

Alex quite cheerfully pointed out that there were many ways around my self-created obstacles. Internet is everywhere and freelancers can travel easily. Plus, I have people I trust that can help out. I can shut down the business for a week or two as well. Nothing wrong with that.

Alright, so my vacation objections didn’t really hold water. And still… something held me back.

Every week, Alex’s chipper, “How are those plans going?” nagged at me (in a really good way). He helped remind me that something was keeping me from doing what I wanted – and that I really should figure out what it was.

I started absently browsing for prices. Money held me back; of course a vacation is expensive. But – oops – that argument didn’t hold water. Trains are cheap, and I could travel far on less than $250 for my whole family. Even better, those Air Miles I’d been collecting covered my train fare.


Alex nagged some more. “Where would you go, then?” Gaspé, I answered, or maybe New Brunswick. Was that just as cheap? I absently went to look.

Just as cheap, far more activities, and it’s kid-friendly, too. Huh.

Ah, but my kids don’t want to stay in a boring small Super 8 hotel… but I found out New Brunswick has a Delta Hotel with those cool themed suites. I was already saving on train fare, and I could actually afford a short stay.

(Note to Delta: I’m happy to spout praise for your beautiful suites in exchange for a lovely discount coupon…)

At this point in time, I’m hovering on the brink of choosing dates and making reservations. Oddly, I really don’t have a good reason not to go on vacation. The truth is that I haven’t committed because I’m scared.

That leaves me with two choices:

– Get someone to help give me a little push so I pick my dates and go have a great time, or,
– Live with my fears, never get a vacation and always have regrets I chickened out.

Knowing myself, it’s too easy to get busy and do nothing. So I count myself lucky I have a good friend who knows exactly how to help me get over it and get on that damned train to get the break I deserve.

Right, Alex?

The Nag You Need

If James, King of the Universe, can take a vacation, anyone can. Unfortunately, you don’t have Alex poking you to remind you to do something you really want to do, so nothing happens. The dream vacation you have tucked away in a corner of your mind stays there and never becomes a reality.

But what if everyone could have their very own Alex? What if each of you could have someone helping you look at why you’re holding yourself back from your dreams, give you advice to calm your fears, offer you tips to start planning your vacation and basically poke at you until you do finally take a step to take care of yourself, relax and get what you want?

Taking the first step towards change is often difficult. It very much feels like you’re making an irrevocable decision.

You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to make any commitment. You only need to open yourself to the idea of taking time off and exploring it further to see if it really is possible.

Bit by bit, you can work on all the reasons that hold you back until the idea of NOT taking a vacation strikes you as inconceivable.

That’s why I’ve created the Freelancer Vacation Clinic, a free weekly email that gently pokes you and helps you out. The messages are short – 200 words or less – which is just enough to give you something that’ll tuck itself in the back of your mind.

You can go on being your Busy Freelancer self, but your dream won’t die – it’ll stay right there, and you’ll start to think about it. You’ll eventually start acting on it, and you’ll eventually get that vacation you need.

Here’s sample of what the Freelancer Vacation Clinic gives you:

What if I can’t turn my brain off while on holiday?

Many freelancers are go-go-go people. The brain works non-stop (that’s tiring) and the idea of taking a break scares you (that’s not healthy).

If you can’t sit quietly with yourself, then something deeper is going on. You’re likely using work to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the real issue.

That’s okay.

You don’t have to confront the real issue. Go ahead and procrastinate from taking care of your problems if you want. Let your subconscious deal with whatever bothers you. Fill your conscious mind with distractions to give yourself a break.

Here’s a tip: It’s a lot more fun to distract yourself with activities you enjoy than with work chores you keep heaping onto yourself.

If you need distraction, a vacation might sound hard. When there’s nothing to do but sit on a dock with a book and a barbecue, you might worry that all you’ll think about is your problems – the very ones you’ve been trying to escape.

Opt for a busy holiday full of stuff to do instead. You’ll have plenty of distractions – and you’ll actually enjoy them.

What do you have to do? Just visit Someday Syndrome and sign up for the Freelancer Vacation Clinic email list. It’s that easy. And it doesn’t commit you to anything – except maybe finally getting what you really want from life.

Your turn: Are you all talk and no action? What dream do you have that you’re holding back on achieving? What obstacles are you facing? Tell us about it – let’s see if there’s a solution for reaching your dreams.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.