November 11, 2019

Observations About Email, Passion, Pride and Pizza from an Italian Vacation – Part I

I could fill an entire book with the takeaways from the two weeks my wife and I spent in Italy, but I’ll spare you and restrain myself to just two posts. It was truly an incredible time and I left with so many life, leadership, and sales lessons.

Observation #1: You and Your Business Will Not Die without Email for a Few Weeks

In my latest book Sales Truth, there’s a section titled Email is the Bane of Our Existence where I describe the damage created (particularly for sales managers and sellers) by living tethered to our inboxes. For almost every businessperson I know, email is the ultimate time and energy Dracula, and personally, nothing sucks the life out of me quite like email.

Committed to freeing my mind from the day-to-day so I could think bigger thoughts, read and listen to book summaries, and actually focus on the beautiful country and my beautiful wife during this vacation, I made the commitment to be completely away from business emails for the second-half of October. I gave my existing clients a heads-up and asked others on my team to cover the inbox – making it crystal clear that I would not see any emails while away.

After a few days, the twitching stopped and the reflex to constantly click the envelope icon on my iPhone dissipated.

And would you like to venture a guess as to the fallout and negative consequences from avoiding email for sixteen days to enjoy all the benefits listed above? None. Zip. Nada. There was zero fallout. Team members checked my email, dealt with the very few urgent ones, deleted the garbage, scheduled a few meetings, and…the Earth kept spinning on its axis while I recharged my mind and my heart and enjoyed the best vacation of my life!

Instead of being hostage to my addiction and the inbox, I enjoyed taking gorgeous pictures of my gorgeous wife posing on every gorgeous little bridge in Venice. Without email, there was time and mental space to sit quietly, sipping coffee or red wine and read/listen to books and summaries from authors like Michael Hyatt, Cal Newport, Jeb Blount, Nir Eyal, James Mattis, and Jon Gordon. And instead of being preoccupied with minutia and projects, I started to think big and dream bigger. I rethought goals, revised my morning routine, and revisited a plan for both defensively “time boxing” admin and social media and “time blocking” high value activities like content creation.

Let me say it again differently because I desperately want to drive this point home: I simultaneously had the most fun and the most productive vacation of my life. Yes, it was Italy and every town and city there is prettier than the next and the whole place feels like a fairytale. And, yes, my wife did an amazing job planning our vacation. And the gorgeous views and towns in Tuscany, the gelato flavors in Florence, the Vivaldi concert in Venice, and the romance of Rome didn’t hurt, for sure.

But one of my biggest observations/takeaways/lessons is that it was being completely disconnected from email that catalyzed experiencing this level of refreshing/recharging/restoring.

I’ll write again soon with more observations and a challenge for salespeople inspired by Italian passion and pride for everything from music to pasta to Lamborghinis, but for today, let me leave you to ponder these questions about email:

  • How much more productive would your workdays be if you scheduled set times to process email as opposed to constantly checking it and instantly responding to whatever hits your inbox?
  • To maximize both your enjoyment and the resetting of your mind that vacation is supposed to create, how can you free yourself from the  need to check email?
  • For your next vacation, could you “delegate” checking your email to a teammate, boss, peer, friend, parent, etc. to free yourself from the tyranny of the inbox and the day-to-day in order to clear your mind to tackle bigger issues?

To great sales leadership, many New Sales, and a focused, productive week ahead!

Mike

P.S. We just opened registration to our third Supercharge Your Sales Leadership full-day elite event. Our first two sessions in STL & ATL sold-out very quickly and the feedback has been phenomenal. If you’re a senior executive, sales leader, or manager, check out details here for our February 20th event at The Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles.