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May 27, 2018

Small Business Advice:

Give yourself a much-needed break

Jerry Osteryoung | 2/24/2013

I have taken the last two weeks off to visit beautiful Hawaii. I thoroughly enjoyed the time away, not from writing this column, but just having a wonderful chance to experience new things and immerse myself in a different environment.

One of the experiences I most enjoyed in Maui was watching the humpback whales frolicking in the Pacific Ocean with their new babies. We could see them from our hotel room balcony and were also lucky enough to be able to go out on a boat and watch them from a prescribed distance.

We watched the whales playing in the ocean and even saw them fighting to claim a female to reproduce with. It was so refreshing to witness the freedom with which they played, and seeing them breach was transforming. These animals can weigh up to 40 tons, but they just seem to fly out of the water.

Another neat experience was going snorkeling and seeing the beautiful fish on a coral reef right next to a 300-foot dropoff. It was almost enough to distract me from the water temperature, which was not that warm there either!

Yet another memorable experience was driving to the top of the Halekala Volcano. It is 10,000 feet high and you have to make more than fifty 180-degree turns to get to the top. The volcano area was an amazing thing to see. Sometimes words are inadequate to describe how beautiful things are, and this is one of those cases.

In addition to all the sights and experiences we had in Maui, it was also incredible to see how relaxed and unhurried the people there are. I noticed this the minute we got off the plane. There was no rushing at all. People just took whatever time was necessary to exit the plane. In so many ways, these people showed me how much better it is to simply enjoy the moment rather than hurrying on to the next event.

You are probably wondering why I am talking about my vacation when this column is supposed to be about small business. Well, it is because these are the kinds of breaks we all need to allow ourselves in order to be more productive in our daily lives.

In the 12 years I have been writing this weekly column, I have never before taken time off from it. After having this experience though, I can tell you how valuable it is to get away. It is a wonderful thing to experience something new while giving your mind a chance to rest and become more creative.

What really helped me fully enjoy the wonder of this beautiful island was not checking my email. I checked maybe once or twice the entire two weeks. It was just so freeing not having those tugs to remind me that I should be doing this or that.

Bottom line: vacations are magical and you cannot afford not to take them. Neither can your staff. Vacations provide a much-needed chance to recharge and regenerate, which is valuable for your business and staff.

You can do this!

Other small business advice columns from Dr. Osteryoung are here. Note: Articles older than 30 days require registration (it's quick and free).

Jerry Osteryoung is a consultant to businesses - he has directly assisted over 3,000 firms. He is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship (Emeritus) and Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at Florida State University. He was the founding Executive Director of The Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008. His newest book co-authored with Tim O'Brien, "If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book," is an bestseller. He can be reached by e-mail at

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