Family vacations are all about making memories. Whether you prefer a ski getaway or relaxing at the beach, you know you’ve had a successful family vacation when everyone leaves the trip remembering something special. This was certainly the case for us last month on our first family vacation in almost TWO years since the beginning of the pandemic. We left the winter weather behind us in New Jersey to welcome the sunshine of Naples, Florida with our two kids.
We had a magical week relaxing and digitally detoxing as much as possible. We spent a lot of time at the beach, playing in the pool, shopping, playing mini golf and more. Towards the end of the trip, we regrouped over our final dinner and asked Lucas (7) and Reid (5) what the most memorable part of the trip was. Both boys shared that the highlight of the trip was beating us in mini golf and getting ice cream as a reward. It’s the little things that bring the most joy to kids, something we should all remember.
For me, being able to put my phone down and be present with the kids was the best part of being away. This is the first trip that our dinners focused on quality conversations, not on what was happening on the kids’ iPads. It was also special to watch my kids entertain themselves and so easily adjust to new surroundings. Whether they were playing with kids they hardly knew around the pool, enjoying a Shirley Temple, or practicing their cannon balls, it was a treat to see them just be boys and take a break from their screens and the hectic pace of our regular routine.
When they returned to school, they both shared the highlights of the trip with their teachers and classmates— the plane ride, endless swims and beautiful sunsets. My older son integrated these experiences into his creative writing and my younger son came home with drawings of sunshine and swimming pools.
It also reminded me how much I love the beach. Nothing tops the sound of a wave breaking and a clear view of the water. It’s a place I can really unwind, relax, and tap into my inner most creativity. We watched the waves in the distance and were lucky enough to spot dolphins in the water. We came home with seashells the kids collected. Just this morning, I found beautiful white sand in my purse from another shell my younger son had hidden.
This experience opened my eyes to the need for lasting memories in the workplace as well. It made me think, what if we redefined part of our leadership approach to include Chief Memory Maker? What if we were able to get under the hood of the people we lead to really learn what memories were made in the workplace last week? On even their most recent project? Wouldn’t it be helpful to find out what memory is burned in their minds from the specific work they did? This is something I’m going to work on with my team and see how this shapes their daily experiences.
Most people have a desire to be a part of a memory. If you don’t believe me just open your phone after a vacation and watch as people come behind your shoulder to take a sneak peek. I shared photos of my trip with my direct reports just last week and the response was authentic interest.
I’m already busy planning our next vacation and I’m eager to make more memories with my family. And I’m just as excited to create more memories at work.
What are some of your biggest travel- or work-related memories? Leave a comment below to let me know.