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Making the most of summer

Uncategorized Jul 24, 2017

On his day out and about thinking creatively, Matt needs to break his rule and return to the office for an important, 'merger-meeting.'

What is the best way for a busy entrepreneur to make the most out of summer? What do we do to maximise summer? What do we do to make the most of it? I'm going to cover five tips for maximising your summer in today's show.

This week, I am in Jersey, the small island of Jersey, just off the north coast of France. It's about an hour's flight away from Liverpool, and I regularly go to Jersey. I love that place. I've got some really great friends there. Our company started there, Jersey Beauty Company.

For me, I grew up in the centre of England, and so we didn't have beaches. We didn't regularly go to the beach. When we did, it was usually in the summer holidays, and I have some really great memories around the beach. When it comes to summer, for me, it's all about the memories, especially if you've got a family. But even if you haven't, I think this still applies. It's all about the memories, the experience, and just enjoying the fact that everyone just seems a little bit happier in summer. Life just seems a little bit easier, and so I'm really keen on this idea of maximising the summer.

If you're an entrepreneur that needs to put away your phone and live in the experience of summer, engaging it, creating new memories, then listen up, because I need to hear that as well as I go through my top five tips. I am going to challenge you to slow down and make lasting summer memories with your family. It's a worthwhile challenge for me, and it's one that I have to keep reminding myself of time and time again. It's so easy, isn't it, to get caught up in the everyday of life, and summer quickly vanishes. We've got so many good intentions at the start of summer. "Oh, I must go camping with the kids." Before you know it, summer has gone. We just get caught up in the default. We need to be deliberate, so here are my top five tips.

1. TIP ONE

Create some space for yourself to read. Now, it is totally important to make sure that you get some space for yourself in summer just to recharge your batteries, to rethink life, to reflect, to slow down. I always find that vacation time and summer time is a great time to catch up on reading. I was in Barcelona. I had the privilege of being in Barcelona for a long weekend. My wife and I went over and had just some great times over there doing the touristy thing, which was great, but I also took a book. You may have heard me talk about it before. It's a book called, "They Ask You Answer". As I was in Barcelona reading that book, making lots of notes as I was reading it, it was great just to take a step back from business, gain some new perspective, and bring some new ideas, which has actually helped the business. That's what it's all about. What sort of books could you read whilst you're on holiday? "How to Make Friends and Influence People," by Dale Carnegie. If you've not read that, I highly recommend it. You could read "Peak," by Chip Conley. I think that's a great book. "The Purpose Driven Life," by Rick Warren is a great book. There's all kinds of great books out there on the market that you could go ahead and read. Just think of something that you need help with and go and find the best-seller on Amazon in that area. You could, of course, read a novel, something like Jack Reacher's ... I'm a big Jack Reacher fan, I have to say. So go and find some great books, but create some space for you to read. Catch up on your reading. My Kindle has got some new books on it already for the summer, and I can't wait to get stuck into them. So tip number one, create some space for yourself to read.

2. TIP TWO

Go somewhere with the family. If you have a family, are in a family, an extended family, go and create some memories. Now, for me, what I do with my kids is important, because like I say, I have some great memories over summer. I want to be intentional in creating those memories for my kids as well, so when they look back over summer, they too have some great memories. It doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't have to be the big massive holiday. We didn't have much money when I was growing up at all, but you know what? I have some really, really happy memories of summer. You can take your kids camping. Those kind of trips really stick out in people's minds. Two years ago, we went to Italy as a family. Normally we go to Jersey for our summer holidays. This year we wanted to go somewhere different, and we'd never actually done Italy. I had a real desire to see Rome, and the kids really wanted to go to the beach. We had to create this sort of breakaway in Italy. I could have done the let's fly over, go stay in a hotel, do the whole organised thing, but I wanted to create some memories. So we did it where we booked all our accommodation on Airbnb, so we lived like locals, and we didn't have a car. We didn't get people to drive us around. We had to figure it out with the local transportation. So we got on a train, and we went to Naples and we went to Pompeii, and we did all those really, really cool things. The kids still talk about it, and it was a great time. So create adventures. Adventures create memories. As I've mentioned in the vlog, I have a lot of memories around the beach. Now, I'm not telling you you have to do beach things, but adventures are things that you wouldn't ordinarily do. We wouldn't ordinarily be at the beach, because we don't live there. When you're thinking about creating memories, do something you wouldn't ordinarily do. That would be fantastic. Go somewhere with the kids. Go somewhere with your family. It doesn't have to be the whole summer long. Make it an adventure, and create some fantastic memories.

3. TIP THREE

Cook something new or invent a new summer dish. This is something that I've done with each of my kids. They have their own special dish. What do we mean by that? I have a son called Zach, and we have a meal called The Zach Special. What this was, one day we decided ... Well, Dad was going to cook, and typically when Dad cooks, that usually means we go and get take out. On this occasion, we thought, "No, no. Let's do something a little bit different." Dad was cooking, so I got Zach involved, and I said, "Zach, let's create a dish which just tastes fantastic, and we'll call it The Zach Special, because you've helped me create it." It worked so well, I did this with Zoe as well. Get out the barbecue. Do something different on the barbecue. I remember a couple of summers ago, I tried for the first time to do beer can chicken. You put it on the barbecue for an hour and a half, and let me tell you, that is some proper tasty food that we had never done before. The kids will always remember a chicken shoved on a beer can. We've tried it with beer. We've tried it with Dr. Pepper and cherry Coke, and they all taste fantastic. Talk it through with your kids. What kind of food do they want? Just do something different. Get out there. If you've got guys at the office, it doesn't have to just be with your family. Get those guys around as well. A few years ago in our garden, I built a pizza oven. A traditional pizza oven, where you can just throw in wood and it gets crazy hot, and it cooks a pizza in like 90 seconds. It's super, super quick. We get the whole team around every summer, and we just cook pizzas out in the back garden. I'll wait on them. We have a little bit of fun. It's great to do social stuff together. It's great for the team to be around my house so they don't feel like I'm living in some ivory tower somewhere. Some of my best memories with the guys are these sort of socials that we've done where we've gathered around food, to simple food like pizza or barbecues, in the garden. So get some folks around. Create something a little bit unusual, and have some fun.

4. TIP FOUR

Tip number four is sport health-related. Summer is one of those times of years where we all feel just a little bit fitter, and there's an opportunity to go and do some crazy things and try some different sports, like white water rafting, surfing. For me, I fell in love a few years ago with body boarding. I did try surfing. One of the things I would love to do is actually learn tennis, so maybe this summer, one of the things I'm planning on doing is having a few tennis lessons and getting out there and hitting a ball with a tennis racket. It's great to take some time out from the office and go learn a sport, either by yourself or with your family. Again, make memories.

5. TIP FIVE

Simple, but cheesy. Visit the people you love. Who could you visit this summer? It could be a nearby friend. It could be someone that you don't see a lot, because you're a busy entrepreneur. Now, I don't know whereabouts you are in the world, but certainly in the UK, most businesses around August time slow down a little bit because a lot of people are taking holidays. Take advantage of the fact that it slows down a little bit. It will ramp up again in September. During the quieter times, get out there. Go visit people you've not had a chance to catch up with. Go share a beer with these guys. Whether it's with friends, family, kids that you've not seen since you were at school. It's a great time, because friendship is so important, and summer is such a good time to see friends. Combine these two activities. Invite them around for a barbecue to taste the food that you have also created, your new beer can chicken. Get them all around. Have a conversation, because it's fantastic. You've got to just, every now and again, just breathe, take your head out, and have some fun with some friends. It's because relationship is such a key thing. You could do it with people you love. If you're feeling stressed, get people around who encourage you, who build you up, who make you feel like you can do this and tell you to keep going. I have some great friends like that, who just build me up. Who could you encourage? We all need people around us that encourage us, but we also need to encourage people. Is there someone on your friends list that needs encouragement for whatever reason?

 They are my top five tips. What could you do this summer that you could plan for, that slows you down, creates some memories, encourages people, builds you up, and even gets you a little bit fitter? What could you do that's going to work for you? Whatever it is, whatever idea is in your head right now, I want you to put it in your diary, because until it's in there and in your calendar, you're never going to do it. Get it in there. Do it. Do it now, and maximise your summer.

Don't just let the summer drift by while you sit there at the end of it and think, "Man, if only I had just gone and done this." That's not what you want your summer to be. You want your summer to be so fulfilling and so great that you look back at it and go, "That's what a fantastic summer. I really, really did some cool things there that I am so chuffed with." Whatever it is, get it in your diary. Start planning it now. Don't just let it be another one of those things in your head which you never ever get around to. Slow down and make some lasting summer memories for you and the people you love.

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