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What I Learned When I Disconnected

In my last post, I wrote about the need for us to disconnect in order to recharge our batteries, and I mentioned the trip I was taking to Iceland the following week as a perfect opportunity for me to take my own advice. Having been back in the office for a few weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on my trip and wanted to share a few things I learned.

Project Planning 1. With the right tools, you can tackle even the biggest project. One of the adventures I had in Iceland was climbing a glacier. Standing at the base of it, I felt as small as an ant. Climbing it, however, wasn’t as hard as I imagined because we were prepared. Our guide helped us to fasten crampons over our boots and outfitted us each with an ice axe to use as a walking stick during the climb. Without the right gear, climbing the glacier would’ve been nearly impossible. The same is true for projects at the office. It can be easy to become overwhelmed, but with the proper preparation and using the right tools, you can reach your goals one step at a time.

Brand Experience2. Pay attention to the details. Brand experience involves more than just your customers’ experience using your product or service. It includes interaction with your brand at all levels. This trip was my first experience with Icelandair, and it was my first international flight. While boarding the plane we were greeted by friendly staff and offered bottles of Icelandic Glacial water. When we got to our seat, we found a pillow and soft blanket to make our overnight flight more comfortable, and the headrests bore a special message in Icelandic. Had I been forced to use my jacket as a pillow or had the flight attendants seemed more rushed, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But because I had such a positive experience, those details of the flight have found their way into the conversation each time someone asks me about my trip.

Know Your Audience3. Know your audience. I devoted a post to this before, but it’s worth repeating. On our first full day in Iceland, we went on a volcano and glacier tour. Our group of five squeezed into a supersized SUV with a mountain guide, not knowing what to expect but excited for the day. After about an hour of driving, the guide deflated the tires, and we went off-roading across a sandy field in the middle of no-where. Our guide, sensing our excitement, played to our enthusiasm. Before we knew it, we were driving through a river, the water reaching the doors and spraying over the top of the vehicle as we drove faster. Our guide knew this is the type of experience we wanted. However, he described another tour he had earlier in the week during which a woman had a panic attack as they tried to drive up an icy slope, causing him to turn around and find a less adventurous route. Would the other tour group have enjoyed our off-roading adventure? Absolutely not. And we would’ve been bored following the safe route. But because the guide got to know us and tailored the tour to match the type of trip we were looking for, we had an experience we’ll never forget.

If you haven’t yet taken my advice to disconnect, try it out this weekend. Not only will you enjoy your weekend more, you’ll be amazed at the clarity and perspective you gain!