Five Things I Learned During Three Days on the River

goal setting Aug 16, 2020

For my recent Birthday my wife bought me a trip to raft the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River. This is a guided trip where we stop at lodges along the way and they serve dinner and breakfast - so not exactly roughing it - but still an adventure.

When we set out on the trip we were told that cell phones would stop working almost immediately, there is no wi-fi, tv, or phones at any of the lodges, and no amount of crying about it will fix it - you are going without communication to the outside world for three days.

I kind of shrugged it off - set all my platforms to out of office, recorded my voice mail messages explaining the situation, and figured it would be the ultimate way to get away from it all.

The truth is I felt way, way more anxious about it then I thought I would. When I checked my phone on our first lunch break 12 texts and about 40 emails had come in just during the first hour on the river that we still had service (none of which I could respond to). What would happen over the next three days? I thought to myself panicking. What if my kids needed me, what if an agent has a question, or an emergency happens at one of our investment properties, what if someone breaks into our house, or the email goes down a the office.... a thousand worst case scenarios rushed through my mind.

The urge to "check" my phone every few minutes during the first day was something I felt my hand respond to before my brain - I patted my shorts looking for my phone before realizing it was packed in the dry bag securely attached to the raft.  The anxiety would rush in and then slowly fade away as I started to realize this was out of my control. During the hours that passed on the river between conversations and rapids I felt those gaps when I normally would reach for my phone to be micro-entertained for 3 minutes or 10 and realized I need to stop and enjoy the moment, the scenery, and the quietness.

The first night and the next morning felt especially strange...these are the times I would normally 'clear' my social media alerts, post, read email, and respond to questions. Now I could only wait for the dinner bell, watch the river, and accept I was no longer in control of anything other than enjoying the experience.

By the middle of day two I felt myself letting go of the worry - my anxiety was replaced by relaxation. I accepted that I have a great team of people that can handle almost any emergency. The sun will rise, the rain will fall, the wind will blow without my help.

Without the intensity of our jobs and the background noise of our phone buzzing with alerts - my wife and I had the luxury to enjoy each other, talk to other people about something other than real estate, play games, and at times do absolutely nothing. Sitting in nature and doing nothing is underrated.

What do I take away form the experience? These Five Things:

☑️ You can unplug for a few hours or even a few days, and with the right team around you, the world won't end. Try it.

☑️ When you have systems that run without you - your business doesn't stop even when you aren't physically present.

☑️ When you rest and recharge by stepping away from your business you gather the resources necessary to operate a higher level when you are present.

☑️ Letting going of control is what will empower you to grow capacity in life and in business. Trust those around you - your boat captain, your staff, your assistant, and your vacation partners.

☑️ Spending time with those that you love and care about is the single best way to invest your time. Life is short, invest in experiences with fun people (not just things),

Have an amazing day!

- Jim

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