Salutations CFit Fam,
Believe it or not, even though it is steamier outside than ever we are quickly approaching the end of summer. For me, the summer has been a bag of mixed emotions since I started Catered Fit way back in 2010 it’s the time of year when many of our clients took vacations and paused their accounts. If you’re reading this, I’m talking about you! (We know who you are, and we miss you during the summer!) BUT we also understand that the summers are time for family, vacations and a break from the routine. That is why, in this month’s CEO note, I want to share my thoughts on the importance of disconnecting and finding that peace and joy that we are too often running past.
I took my first trip to Europe my sophomore year of college. That experience has since shaped my entire outlook on life and how I view the “rat race” in particular. I have a vivid memory of sitting in a very random café somewhere in Vienna when a conversation was sparked with two European travelers around the same age as my parents. They asked me where I was from, where my trip had already taken me and how long I was on holiday. Once I had told them I was American and was backpacking throughout Eastern Europe for three weeks they were in disbelief. When I asked why my itinerary was so surprising to them they explained that in Europe people work hard enough so that they can afford to travel three months a year. Ninety days of annual vacation is the norm for Europeans and for many that is the MINIMUM. The couple then gave me their perspective on American culture vs. European culture. They explained that Europeans work just hard enough to afford themselves lots of life experience (i.e. traveling all over the globe every year) while American’s work insanely hard to afford more material goods (bigger cars, houses etc) NOT real life experiences. That one sentence really resonated. From that point forward my goal was to not only make enough money to be able to get out and see the world, but have time to appreciate it.
Paid vacation time and a livable wage is something standard for my employees at Catered Fit. This is because I know that an employee who has had the opportunity to take time off will be more engaged, dedicated and productive. (Even though we miss them when they aren’t in the office!) We also mandate that everyone uses their vacation… we think roll over days give employees the opportunity to procrastinate their own “me” time. Disconnecting from work is an absolute must and any excuses to the contrary are guaranteed to lead to a lifetime of regret. Catered Fit is my family, and I have grown it as such, but even for me, I also need a break sometimes. While in the early days I couldn’t always schedule the disconnect I wanted, now I am proud to say I have an incredible team that supports each other to do just that!
Lately I have really begun to appreciate all the beauty we drive past every day in our rush to get from point A to point B. Whether you are one of our Florida or California members we are all surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, trees, parks, trails, blue skies and sunsets this Earth has to offer, and I am lucky enough to see them all on a regular basis. I used to look at things in my life as a chore, but pump the brakes and enjoy what is right in front of you! Anyone who has a pet knows that feeling when you want to sleep just 10 minutes longer, but realize you have to get up and walk your dog… I used to dread this. I would put my little baby girl on the leash, run to the closest patch of grass and rush back inside as soon as she handled her bathroom business. But no more! I LIVE for that feeling of waking up, and walking her. My new outlook has taught me to slow down and just breathe in the neighborhood (whichever one we are in that week!) I now find real inner peace tree spotting in my neighborhood and have begun to truly appreciate the scent of fresh air in my lungs and Vitamin D on my skin. My morning walks with my (very-soon-to-be) wife and fur baby are arguably the best part of my day, and you know what? They don’t require an admission fee, passport or a plane ticket. Whether you have a dog or a walking partner, don’t make any more excuses and get yourselves outside the way nature intended!
I know, this all sounds great- but you’re going to tell me your days are jam packed already, am I right? Well, let me let you in on a little secret that totally changes the game for me….I cancelled my cable. I know many of your heads may have just exploded but three months ago I did exactly that and here is what I have noticed: First off, by no longer immersing myself in the 24/7 news cycles my stress level has really decreased. While I do keep up with world events daily, I am not watching the new channels and I am re-attributing that time to something productive that brings me peace. I now have plenty of time to go on a thirty minute family stroll, read an hour a day and still have time to finally attack some of the clutter that tends to accumulate throughout our homes and offices. Free time doesn’t have to be a big thing, or a vacation, it can be as simple as freeing up some thought space in your brain.
This summer, indulge in the break. Give yourselves credit for all the hard work you put in all year. Just enjoy your surroundings, appreciate the people around you and take a breather for yourself, in anyway you can.
Regardless of what you do with your new found free time I hope you begin to really prioritize what gives you the most joy and start eliminating the things that don’t, even if it means you have to break up with The Real Housewives or Sean Hannity.
Until next month familia✌
Health is Wealth,
Adam Friden / CEO