24. The Vacation Problem + Brave for One Minute

Episode 24: The Vacation Problem + Brave for One Minute (Summary)

Vacations are just around the bend, hooray! But…they’re probably not going to do what you’re hoping…plus, How most of the success of being a boss starts with being brave for one minute. That’s all ahead, on this episode of Boss Better Now.

Links:
To learn more about Joe Mull, visit his website ​Joemull.com​.
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Email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com.
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*Full transcript under the comments below.

 

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Transcript – Episode 24: The Vacation Problem + Brave for One Minute

Joe:
Vacations are just around the bend. Hooray! But they’re probably not going to do what you’re hoping. Plus, how most of the success of being a boss starts with being “Brave for One Minute”. That’s all ahead on this episode of Boss Better Now.

Joe:
Hello again, BossHeroes, and welcome to Boss Better Now. Today I’m flying solo. We’ve given Alyssa the week off. And so now you will have just me. Just my voice in your ears for this week. I’m excited because we have landed at the start of summer. And this summer there’s going to be a vacation explosion. We’re seeing it already. People are traveling. They’re departing. They’re making plans. They’re figuring out where they can go to get away and recharge. For many folks, you’ll get to spend time with family that perhaps you haven’t seen in a while. And while we all still need to be careful and follow the science, it does feel like this summer will resemble what is perhaps the closest to a normal summer that we could have hoped for.

Joe:
And that’s great. But we’ve got a little bit of a conundrum ahead of us. And it’s related to something that happened to me a few years ago, after I attempted to complete the intense exercise program P90X. I’ll be married 15 years this summer. And I remember getting ready for my wedding and feeling like I wanted to get into a little bit better shape. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I had a rippling physique. The problem is it was rippling in all the wrong places. And I remember early one morning flipping through the stations on TV and coming across an infomercial for this intense exercise program called P90X. Now, most of the things they try to sell you on TV, they market by saying that it’s easy and that it’s, um, cheap and easy and anybody can do it. And P90X takes the opposite approach.

Joe:
What they say is, ” We’re going to kick your butt for 90 days. It’s really hard, but you’re going to get results.” And the infomercial actually shows a lot of side-by-side pictures. Here’s where I was on day one. And here’s where I was on day 90. And I was very intrigued. I thought 90 days? I can do anything for 90 days. Well, that was the first error in judgment in a series of errors in judgment, as you are about to hear. I saw the infomercial a couple more times and I ended up telling my fiancé, my soon-to-be wife, at the time that I was thinking about ordering the product. I had tried and failed a number of times to take some weight off. And I thought, you know, this kind of all “in” intensive approach… I can get behind that. I asked her if she wanted to do it with me. And she was a little bit, a little bit hesitant, but she wanted to support me. So, she said, okay, I’ll give it a try. I will tell you that about halfway through the program. She said, this isn’t for me. Uh, she will tell you that she is a proud graduate of P45X.

Joe:
When we got the program, I was ready to dive in. And so, the first day of exercise, I attacked it. And what they tell you is that each of the workouts is about 60 minutes. Well, that’s if you never press pause. So, most of my workouts took about 90 minutes, but I was committed. So, on that first day, I went all-in on the workout. And the next morning when I woke up, boy, I was sore, but I said, I’m going to push through. So, I did the second day’s work out a lot of pushups and pull-ups and really intense work. And when I got up the morning after that, I was really sore. But I knew that the only way this was going to happen, the only way I was going to get this transformation was just to plow through. And so, I did. I did the third workout and then the fourth workout. And by the fifth day, I literally could not move. I woke up unable to move from the waist up. I vividly remember my now wife having to help me put on my dress shirt for work because my arms just sort of hung out at the sides as if they had no function at all. She had to button the buttons on my shirt. I was in a tremendous amount of pain.

Joe:
I went to the doctor eventually after… after feeling this way for, for a couple of days. And, and it, it didn’t lessen, it didn’t abate. I was really suffering, uh, more so than I ever had before in terms of being sore from any kind of exercise. And when I went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, DOMS. And I think if my memory serves, it was really about the buildup of lactic acid around the muscles, uh, and you know, had settled in and really caused a lot of, um, pain and inflammation. And what he told me was the only way through this, the only path to recovery for you is rest. You went too hard for too long, and your body’s been damaged, and you need to give your body a chance to recover.

Joe:
And I think, our workforce is in the exact same circumstance. We have spent the better part of the past 14 months going hard. And during one of the most stressful, anxiety-filled, disruptive, periods of our adult life and like a redlining engine, our efforts have resulted in us potentially breaking permanently. We have not provided for the rest and recovery needed to heal from everything that has taken place. If you think about where your staff is right now, they’re probably still coming to work, but I’d be surprised if they were giving a hundred percent. You’ve probably seen your folks going through the motions. Maybe people just feel stuck. They’re there, but they’re not entirely plugged in. Maybe you feel this way yourself. It’s not a surprise. You’ve probably heard us talk on the podcast before about languishing and about that name for this sort of in-between space of mental health, between depression and flourishing.

Joe:
I think there’s going to need to be a tremendous amount of attention paid to this state of being and the lack of rest and recovery that many in the workforce have received. Think about it. Most adults work 49 weeks out of the year in order to get one week of vacation. There’s 52 weeks in the year, we work 49 weeks. We get a couple of paid holidays and maybe one or two sick days in there. And we do it all in the hopes of getting our one week off our one week of vacation. And that’s sad to think about, isn’t it? That we bust our hump all year long just to get one week if you’re lucky at the beach or at the lake or camping or doing whatever it is that you do to recharge and renew. And the truth is though, this is a uniquely American experience. Americans are the most overworked population on earth – as far as industrialized countries go. Here’s some data for you that I polled. 76% of Americans work more than 46 hours per week. 134 countries on earth have laws limiting the length of the workweek. The U.S. Does not.

Joe:
In an average year, Americans work 137 hours more than the Japanese. 260 hours more than the British. And believe it or not, Americans work on average 499 hours a year, more than the French – “Sacre’ Bleu” – nearly every industrialized nation on earth has a workforce that gets 20 paid vacation days a year, and Finland and France, they get 30. In the United States, the average worker gets 9.7, but for many workers that has to include any sick time. And very few Americans actually use their full vacation time. In fact, only 54% of Americans use their full vacation time in a calendar year. Do you know why? They’re afraid of falling behind at work. Now let’s think about what happened in 2020. The vacations got canceled, right? 72% of Americans skipped any vacation whatsoever. Also in 2020, 53% of workers indicated they had worked longer hours. And right now, 61% of our workforce is telling us that they find it harder to unplug after work. A recent survey had a stunning number, 77% of workers indicated they had experienced burnout in the last few months. Now I know what you’re thinking…But hey, we’re going to get away this summer, right? I’m going to get to go on vacation and recharge. Hey folks, our workforce has essentially gone two years without a vacation. And one of those years was the most challenging year of our lifetimes. Do we really think getting one week off this summer is going to set us all right?

Joe:
I think there needs to be an understanding and an adoption of a mindset for the year ahead. And that is that the pandemic isn’t ending. We’re just moving into the next phase. And that next phase is the long slow mental health recovery from languishing, from all of that stress and anxiety. And to an extent that recovery is going to be hindered by the non-stop encroachment of the American workload. I will argue that one of the only ways to repair the damage from the year that was and to actually help people achieve a healthier state of being in the year to come is to help people get away more often. We’re seeing companies do this now. A few weeks ago, LinkedIn added a week of paid vacation for all of their employees. Citigroup has gifted some of their employees, some paid mental health days that they can take when they want.

Joe:
You’re seeing companies hire more help, create longer weekends, adjust schedules, grant early dismissals, randomly close on certain dates, and dramatically increase how they encourage their personnel to use their PTO. This is going to be critical in the year ahead. And so, want to encourage you BossHeroes, to be more flexible when it comes to helping your folks get away, to encourage them to get away. When you see folks, who are kind of remaining plugged in at work — when they are supposed to be using their vacation time — please encourage them not to do that. Let them know that you want them to disconnect. You want them to unplug. We all need a break from the demands of our jobs. And I’m here to tell you that one week, this summer, isn’t going to cut it. In the year ahead, in the months to come, start thinking about how you can help your people take breaks and get away more often.

Joe:
What do you think? Are you going to get the chance to take a little bit more vacation in the year ahead than maybe in years past? What kinds of innovative things are happening where you work to help people disconnect and reset and recharge? I would love to hear about those. You can email the show bossbetternow@gmail.com. If you’re watching this episode on video, either on our YouTube channel or on our, uh, Boss Better site or Facebook page, then just drop a comment in the box below. We’d love to hear from you. And if you share any innovative ideas for how you’re helping people get away, we may spotlight them on the show and send you some cool BossBetter swag.

Joe:
We come now of course, friends to our BossBetter Question of the Week. And just because I’m alone, literally sitting in a room, talking to myself doesn’t mean that we can’t do the BossBetter Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie on teams by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. So, every week we give you a question that you can use at meetings at huddles, even in one-on-ones to facilitate connection and build camaraderie. This week’s Camaraderie Question of the Week is as follows. What is your favorite nighttime guilty pleasure, snack food? Now, disclaimer, when you go out into the world and you research the kind of healthy versus unhealthy eating habits of, uh, Americans, you will undoubtedly encounter advice that says nighttime eating is the worst, right? When especially sugar, you consume that stuff at night, it sticks to you.

Joe:
It’s unhealthy in a variety of ways. So, we’re not condoning any such behaviors here. But if you choose to indulge at night, while moving through the Netflix, what’s your favorite snack of choice? I will confess it for a lot of years. It was for me, ice cream or chips and dip. Man, I can put down some chips and dip. I can do some damage to a little tub of a Heluva Good! French onion dip – that’s for sure. As many of you know, I’ve worked to change some of my own eating habits in recent years, dropped a fair amount of weight during the pandemic, and I’ve been able to keep it off. And so, I’ve given up… basically given up sugar and white flour – which has been a big key in helping me maintain that weight loss. So, my nighttime snack indulgence for the better part of the past year has either been veggies and dip or veggies and low-sugar peanut butter, or I’ve become a big fan of Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted Popcorn.

Joe:
I’m kind of addicted. Um, there’s a lot of different kinds of microwave popcorn out there, and some have much higher levels of carbs and sodium in them than others. And, uh, this is one of the healthier alternatives. It’s very lightly salted. Doesn’t have a bunch of junk on it and it’s really good. What’s your guilty pleasure? You can tweet me @joemull77 or Instagram @joemull77 with your favorite nighttime guilty pleasure snack food. And you can ask this question in huddles as well and find out from your team what their go-to snacks are. Hey, then – wouldn’t it be cool if the next time you want to celebrate a contribution that somebody made on your team, you actually had an idea of what their favorite snack was. And you could give that to them with a nice note detailing the contribution they’ve made. See it all comes back to learning how to BossBetter. And that’s the Camaraderie Question of the Week.

Alyssa (Ad):
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Joe (Ad):
How many people here who supervise have had their time, attention, and energy devoured by someone who is not committed? If yes, say yes! And an amen. See, like I said…

Alyssa (Ad):
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Joe (Ad):
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Audience Member (Ad):
Oh my gosh. Wonderful. Really engaging and thought-provoking, which is really great. With lots of good tools to take home. You felt present like you wanted to lean in. You didn’t want to pick up your phone and scroll through Facebook.

Alyssa (Ad):
Whether your event is virtual or in person, your audience doesn’t want another boring 60-minute lecture. They deserve to learn and be inspired by a world-class program they simply cannot turn away from. That’s what you get guaranteed from Joe Mull.

Joe (Ad):
We can all agree. We want our employees to care and try. But “care” and “try” isn’t about competence, it’s about commitment — and commitment can’t be bought. It can only be earned. Your number one job as a leader is to cultivate commitment.

Alyssa (Ad):
For more information, visit joemull.com/speaking.

Joe:
We finish this week’s episode of our podcast today with a story and a lesson.

Joe:
If you want to be a great boss, it will require you to be brave on nearly a daily basis. The good news is that being brave takes almost no time at all. A few years ago, when my daughter Lily was nine, she took an acting class, a class for kids at our local community theater. And she loved it. Lily has always loved being creative. For as long as I can remember, she’s loved to draw and write stories. We actually have boxes full of homemade comic books that she has authored. And these are incredible. The drawings and the stories, and she ever hits the big time as an author, those babies are gonna fund daddy’s retirement. So, Mr. Mull, what would you like to name your new boat? “The SS Lily, please.” After the acting class was over, it was really no surprise that Lily told us she wanted to audition for the junior production of Mary Poppins that the theater had just announced. And I remember thinking, my time has arrived. You see folks… My bachelor’s degree is in music and theater. I’ve done a lot of performing. And so, I was excited. I said, “Lily, hey man, this theater thing is sort of your daddy’s jam. If you want, I would be happy to help you get ready to audition.” She asked me what was involved in doing an audition. And I told her that it’s usually just a combination of performing a few lines in character and singing a few bars of a song.

Joe:
You mean by myself? “Yeah, but it’s only for a minute, honey.” Well, that’s when everything changed, I watched the enthusiasm drain from her body. Oh, ah, well, I don’t know. I’ll think about it. For the next 10 days, she wrestled with her fear. We talked when she wanted to. I tried to gently encourage her. I told her that auditions are just there to prove to the director that she won’t freeze up on stage. I told her that, “Hey, we could just do a practice audition at home where we make it just like you would do it at the theater if that would help you.” And I told her that auditions only require her to be brave for one minute. That’s it, honey. If you can be brave for one minute, it opens the door to something you really want. You just have to decide if you’re willing to trade a minute of discomfort for all the good things that come after. And that seemed to work. In fact, we made “Brave for One Minute”, her slogan, whenever she felt nervous about auditioning.

Joe:
Now, most days as a parent, you feel like you’re making it up along the way. Right? But on this particular week I felt like I was nailing it. I was dropping dad bombs, take that Super Nanny. I was all proud of myself. We had motivated Lily to really conquer her fear. We gave her a slogan. She was on her way. And then three days before the audition, she announced she wasn’t doing it. And then two days before she got mad, when we even brought it up. And then, wouldn’t you know it, the morning of the auditions, she came downstairs and announced that she wanted to try. Can you help me, daddy? “Ah, yes, yes I can.” Okay. We need a song. Um, we’re going to have to pick a song that, you know, cold. What do you know? Every single word to Hamilton? You know, every single word to Hamilton because we’ve all been obsessed for years in our house. So, I grabbed the Lily, and I grabbed the Hamilton Songbook. When we go into the other room and we start flipping through and we pick the song, Dear Theodosia. I put the music on, and I say, okay, Lily, you know this, just sing what pops into your head, along with the music. Give it a try,

Joe (Singing):

“Dear Theodosia, what to say to you. You have my eyes; you have your mother’s name. When you came into the world, you cried, and it broke my heart.”

Joe:
She was doing it. Oh. And by the way, at this moment, when she started singing, I am done… a puddle, a hot mess, all the feels. We run it a few times. She’s doing it pretty well. And then she has to get on the bus and go to school. After school, she still wants to do it. So, we jumped in my truck, and we raced to the theater before she loses her nerve. And one block away in the backseat, she bursts into tears.

Joe (Imitating Lily):
I’m so nervous.

Joe:
I pulled over… “And that’s okay, honey, you know the song and you only have to be brave for one minute. You’re going to do great.” We got out of my truck. And as soon as we hit the sidewalk, she grabbed my hand. I remember thinking, boy, that doesn’t happen much anymore at nine years old. We walked in nervous silence to the rehearsal space, signed in and waited. Lily was the fifth person called back. Terrified, but hey, no going back now cause all these other kids and parents are sitting right there. I watched as her head dragged the rest of her body into the audition room. “Have fun, sweetie.”

Joe:
Three minutes later, she came around the bend and on her face was the joy and pride and glee and relief that you experience when you face and conquer your fear. She did it. And she got cast in the show. Honeybee …#3. Listen, people, as honeybee roles go, that’s the one you want right there. That night after her audition, I posted her picture on Facebook, briefly telling the story of our “brave for one minute” mantra and bragging about how proud of her I was. I even added a little hashtag at the end of the post #braveforoneminute. A few days later, a friend of ours sent Lily a t-shirt that said #braveforoneminute, with a note about how inspired she was by Lily’s courage. A year and a half later, and she still wears that t-shirt all the time. Not long after this, my mom had to have a medical procedure and she gets anxious about those things. But she told me, you know what Joe, I just kept thinking about that story you shared about Lily and about being “brave for one minute”. And I thought if Lily can do it, so can I. One of the conversations that Lily and I had when she was nervous before her audition was about courage. And that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s doing what it takes even when you are afraid.

Joe:
If you want to be a great boss, it will require you to be brave on nearly a daily basis. But here’s the good news. You’ll rarely need to be brave for long periods of time. That uncomfortable conversation at work that you’ve been avoiding… It’s not the whole conversation that’s uncomfortable, it’s just getting started. Being vulnerable and honest with your team? The hardest part is the beginning speaking truth to power, questioning a decision, holding people accountable. These are the things that great bosses must do daily, and they don’t require endless reserves of courage. They just require 60 seconds of bravery. Because once you’ve started, you’ve already succeeded. And so, we end with that this week, BossHeroes… When circumstances at work call for courage, be like Lily, be “brave for one minute”.

Joe:
Well, that’s our show this week friends. I’m so grateful for the time you spent with me. I’m so grateful for allowing us to be on your radar and uh, continue our work, uh, for our mission of filling workplaces with better bosses. Thank you for all that you do to care for so many. We’ll see you next time.

Alyssa (Ad):
This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember commitment comes from better bosses. Visit joemull.com today.

 

 

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