Sun time in Arizona provided some luxurious R&R, and gave me an encouraging look into the future.

Sun time in Arizona provided some luxurious R&R, and gave me an encouraging look into the future.

Leisure travel is a luxury. It’s an appropriate reward for working hard and building things.

Last week I celebrated my 52nd birthday on an unusual spring break trip to Arizona. Normally, the desert sunshine in March is all I need for rest and rejuvenation. But this year, the trip also gave me a brilliant peek into the future.

Blending the Seven Fs – female style

We employed “the more the merrier” vacation strategy. Between my two daughters, they invited six girlfriends. So, including Melinda, I vacationed with nine fabulous Gustavus Adolphus College women.

By now you know I’ve been writing, speaking and coaching about blending the Seven Fs to help us live with less stress and lead with less fear. Embracing the girl time was good for my soul and delivered new perspective on faith, family, finances, fitness, friends and fun – and especially our future in the hands of the next generation.

I celebrated my 52nd birthday on Spring Break with my Gustie Girls.

I celebrated my 52nd birthday on Spring Break with my Gustie Girls.

For this trip, I deliberately avoided mainstream media. I just needed a break from the daily dialogue of death, destruction, racism, nuclear war negotiations and senseless neighborhood violence. Instead, I decided to absorb the glow of my Gustie girls.

Fitness, Friends and Fun

At first glance, I was inspired by how healthy they live – these college girls routinely chose salads and fresh fruit instead of crackers and cream cheese dip. Mornings started with jogging in the hot sun and evenings included dancing in the living room.

We cruised the Pandora dial with everything from Count Basie to Michael Jackson, Beonce to Florida Georgia Line, and Stevie Wonder to Led Zepplin. What fun!

Spring Training baseball is a slice of heaven when you live in Minnesota.

Spring Training baseball is a slice of heaven when you live in Minnesota.

Melinda gave me a guy-gift by purchasing ten tickets to the Cactus League Spring Training game between the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs at Surprise Stadium.

Faith and Finances

But my favorite part was the future-chatter around the swimming pool. In between the giggling, teasing and laughter were character-building moments that gave me a glimpse into the future:

“I’m majoring in Management, but I don’t really know what I can do with that yet,” one shared. “I’m still studying Elementary Ed for now but all I know for sure is I want to help people,” said another. We talked about the purpose of working, and building a career. We debated the pros and cons of starting a business and the benefits labor unions provide for teachers and nurses. In a quiet moment, one leaned in to me and asked: “how much money do I have to make to take vacations like this?”

In between bouts of incessant phone-checking and selfie snap chatting, I don’t know what I want to do with my life” was the most common theme. I smiled inside as thought about my own journey – I didn’t even know executive coaching existed when I was in college. I enjoyed sharing my perspective with calm assurance: “You have to have faith that it will work itself out. Because it always does.”

Family and Future

Our future is in good hands with strong women leaders who enjoy fitness as part of their leadership journey.

Our future is in good hands with strong women leaders who enjoy fitness as part of their leadership journey.

For the hardened cynics who believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket, I disagree. I highly recommend taking a vacation with young people and ignoring the dreadful news media to help you see faith in humankind. There are good kids everywhere who will grow up to be good leaders. What struck me the most was the overwhelming love and support this group shares for one another. And we all know with consistent love and support anything is possible!

Good leaders thrive when they make time for rest and relaxation. And they multiply hope when they look for the goodness of the next generation.

Please share with me: where do you see a bright future around you?

PS: I knew this vacation was off to a good start when our friend Jim Rothschiller greeted me unexpectedly on the plane out of Minneapolis with this message: “Heading to Arizona with my daughter working on my Seven Fs!” Thanks Jim!