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The 'Shirley Valentine' Experience: Make Summer Your Catalyst for Change

27/08/2013 10:30 BST | Updated 23/10/2013 10:12 BST

Have you seen 'Shirley Valentine'? It was first a play, then a film, in which a tired, bored housewife finds her passion for life rekindled while on an unexpected summer break in Greece.

A few people really do have Shirley Valentine moments like this, but many more who should, never think of their holiday as potentially a powerful catalyst for change. So they go back home to live the life they've always lived, no matter how unrewarding or disappointing it is.

But why do that?

If you're frustrated and disillusioned with your corporate job, working in a world you no longer like, perhaps it really is time to 'think the unthinkable' and turn down a different path.

Are you at this point in your life?

Then instead of just using your break for some much needed rest and relaxation - even though you've certainly earned it - why not use it for an alternative type of R & R, some Reassessment & Redirection?

If you're not truly happy with where you are, this could be the week or two when you press the reboot button on your life and start to think about things in an entirely different way.

Here are five reasons why holidays are the ideal time to do this.

  1. On holiday, you get the chance to re-engage with the human race.

    When you're hauling yourself through the drudgery of yet another gloomy November day's commute, stuck in traffic and with 10 hours of high pressure work ahead of you, it's easy to forget the simple enjoyment and pleasure that comes from being with people you care about, sharing a few jokes and watching the sun go down at a beachside bar.

  2. Travel does broaden the mind.

    Holidays open up exciting new experiences that widen your horizons. Of course, there's no law that says you can only do 'exciting things' when on holiday, but how many of us allow ourselves to experience the pleasure of the new when at home? Life is all around you and there to be enjoyed, it's just that as a 'corporate worker bee' you've forgotten what this is like.

  3. A break gives you the time to think for and about yourself.

    In the maelstrom of the corporate world, thinking about your needs is virtually impossible because you're always focused on those of someone else. The client, the boss, the team, the subordinate who all have to be variously placated, dealt with or managed. On holiday, you have the opportunity to rediscover what's good and right for you.

  4. Annual vacations are a 'marker'.

    Holidays are a moment in time against which you can measure your progress to see how far ... or how little ... you have travelled since this time last year.

    Just thinking like this, while you're on holiday, about what you might want to do in future, doesn't commit you to anything. These thoughts can stay simply as thoughts, so you don't have to tell loved ones if you don't want to, though honesty not only with yourself, but with others, is often the best policy. You may be surprised at how sharing your concerns about what you're doing now, and how you might want to set out in a different direction, could get a more than sympathetic response from your family.

  5. Vacations help you refocus your priorities so you start to see life differently.

    Of course, it's foolish to believe that you could escape to paradise every day of the week, but having enjoyed the experience, doesn't it make sense to try and inject a little more of the 'holiday spirit' into your daily life?

Just because you are able to endure the daily grind of corporate existence, doesn't mean that you have to ... there are alternatives.

So, if your holidays have given you the opportunity to dream about a different kind of life, don't just dismiss the idea as no more than a 'holiday romance'.

You really can do something else if you choose.

Maybe that is making a move to another organisation, or into a different role, or to an alternative sector entirely, though more and more professionals searching for a more fulfilling existence are calling time on the corporate world altogether. Rather than remain under the control of others, they're choosing to be the leaders of their own lives. By becoming self employed professionals, or even setting up their own businesses, they can be the ones in charge of their own destiny, to the benefit not just of themselves and their families, but also the wider community.

So, while a change is a good as a rest, a rest is also good for a change.

By Maite Barón 'The Corporate Escape Coach™', founder of 'The Corporate Escape™' and 'The Executive Corporate Escape™', author of 'Corporate Escape: The Rise of the New Entrepreneur'. You can download 'The 5 Keys To Help You Take Control Of Your Working Life™ - Leaving Uncertainty, Confusion and Fear Behind'.

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