Brooke and I had the privilege of shooting a wedding in Jamaica this past week.  When we booked the wedding I thought it would be good to add on a few days after shooting for some vacation time.  We have only been on one short vacation since our honeymoon and I thought it would be really good for us to get away and unplug, but I had no idea how good it would end up being.

I only used my phone as a camera, didn't sign up for wifi and beside shooting the wedding set no agenda for the week.  It only took me about 3o minutes of laying in the hot tub on the first night we arrived to realize that I needed this.  While 2011 had been an amazing year of growth and excitement, it had also been non-stop.  Always moving, always working, always answering some question about the store, a wedding or what I needed to do today.  If you have spent any amount of time going to church I am sure you've heard the sermon about "being still and knowing God is God."  Normally those sermons end with 5 minutes of awkward silent time when all I can think about is what I want for lunch (usually pizza) or what football game is on later (Go Niners!).  It's hard to force still moments.  Our brains are crazy, they never stop and I feel like mine has been on overload for the past year with all the newness of 2011, but stillness is so good and while laying in that hot tub I was reminded of that goodness.

I spent the week reading EntreLeader by Dave Ramsey.  I am only on the second chapter because after about every paragraph I have to put the book down and really think about what he is saying and how I can apply it to the walk in love. team, the Brooke Courtney Photography team, my family, relationships, my house and so on.  So far the book has been a lot about goals and vision.  I am not much of a reader and even less of a writer but during this vacation I really fell in love with the idea of writing my goals down.  Writing them down made them feel so real and permanent, like I had to push to make them happen, like if I didn't try everything in my power to reach them I would be failing.  So I wrote personal goals, business goals, relationship goals, house goals and even refreshing goals.    I initially thought that writing them down would be somewhat stressful, like a long and impossible to-do list that would only end up making me stressed but as I inked the goals in my moleskine I felt a feeling that I haven't felt in a while.  I felt refreshed.

In business I feel like it's go, go, go and make small changes along the way, but never stop.  You must never stop or you will lose a client, a step or not reach the next mark.  With that attitude there isn't a lot of time for feeling refreshed and refocused, but as I marked my journal with goals that's exactly how I felt.  I felt that while I have been successful I have lost my way  a bit.  Now I don't mean anything illegal or immoral, but just unfocused on why I do what I do.  It was mostly little things, like how I can better incorporate our team in things and build better, fuller relationships with our clients and customers.  Things that can't be fixed by a meeting or a brainstorming session, but only by a shift in thinking, a refocusing.

The tricky part about feeling refocused is about making it actually happen in real life.  I am not in Jamaica anymore and I came home to hundreds of e-mails, questions and to-dos.  I still have the daily to-do list, but when you write your goals down and look through that lens as you check things off, change will happen.  Today, as I answered my first 50 e-mails, I kept thinking about establishing a better, closer, more genuine relationship with our clients or potential clients (one of my goals).  I tried to explain myself better or read their inquiry with more attention so I wouldn't miss anything.

As I think about what needs to happen at the store I am asking myself if there is one specific team member that could help.  Is there a team member with a certain skill set or passion that can help with this task because one of my goals is to create an even closer team.

I was really excited to get home after this week.  I was excited to feel refreshed about what is going on in my life.  If you are anything like me you probably think that a couple hours, a day or a week off to refocus will just cause you more stress about what you are falling behind on.  That is what I thought.  I even told Brooke before we left I should have just booked the trip to shoot the wedding and come home, but I am so thankful that I added on those extra days.  I am so thankful because I was able to spend some time being still, writing goals and refocusing why I am here and why I have been blessed with what is in front of me.  It feels good to be refreshed and I encourage you to schedule or force yourself to take some time to do the same.