As busy CEOs and business owners, it’s easy to make yourself last and constantly bend to the needs of the business. The reality is that most companies these days run 24/7. However, humans do not, as much as we might try. The pressures and stress of the company are what we signed up for, but that doesn’t mean we can’t manage these effectively before the pressure hits.

About five years ago, my wife and I added an “annual calendar” to our year-end reflection time. We always look forward to taking time to reflect on the year and look forward to what’s coming next year. What changed for us was an idea from another business leader -- determine your time off at the end of the year for the following year before any pressure is on. It was transformational.

That first year we had the goal of taking four long weekends – Thursday through Sunday, one each quarter, and a one-week vacation. It worked great and took the pressure off for business needs because we had already committed to it.

The second year we did the same with long weekends, and I committed to taking a two-week vacation. I had not taken two weeks off in over 20 years! You have to delegate a bit differently when you take two weeks off, so it also turned into a leadership growth opportunity for me.

We continued our quarterly breaks in the third year, and I committed to taking an entire month off for a sabbatical. Again, I had to grow as a leader to delegate an entire month’s worth of responsibility to my team. And guess what? When I returned, I left most of those things entrusted and grew even more as a leader.

Bonus idea: Commit now that when you’re gone for a week or longer, you won’t check your email, and make sure your team doesn’t either when they are on time off. Nothing good will come from it, and you’re robbing yourself of the chance to rest and recharge fully.

We do all kinds of annual and quarterly planning for our business. Do some for yourself and your family between now and the end of the year. Your 2023 will be better for it, and you might even grow as a leader!

Pete Gazlay
Post by Pete Gazlay
December 22, 2022
Pete Gazlay grew up in an entrepreneur’s family and caught the bug early with his own lawn moving and landscape installation company. The road to business ownership was never a straight path. The “five-year plan” got interrupted with children and Pete had to support his family and launched is career as a police officer. He rose rapidly in the leadership ranks, but saw his future with bureaucrats and politicians and new that he was a square peg in a round hole. He did the unthinkable at retired mid-career to launch his speaking career. He wasn’t quite as successful as he hoped and after three years he found a “real job” again. He worked for an incredible entrepreneur in the Facilities Maintenance industry and was exposed to site operations and Fortune 500 companies and world headquarters in the US, Canada and Costa Rica. In 2009 he left that company and in 2010 he and Linda started Total Facility Care with zero clients and zero employees. A truly bootstrap company Pete did business development in the days and cleaned buildings at night get things off the ground. In 2022 Pete and Linda exited the company with sales in excess of $5M and 145 team members. Pete attributes his ability to exit to two primary decisions. First he joined a Owners Accountability Group in 2015 that grew is network and gave him a place to process business and marketplace issues. In 2018, Pete lead the self-implementation of the EOS® System in Total Facility Care and over the next few years the business became less dependent on Pete and more reliant on a leadership team. This increased the value of TFC and enabled Pete and Linda to make their exit.