For Those Professionals Longing for the Carefree Summer Days of Childhood

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My first summer after graduation was a bummer. It was my first reality check. Outside my office window I’d hear kids laughing at a nearby pool. I’d slump under the artificial light of the office. Remember how awesome the last day of school was? That was the best day of the year. We don’t get that experience anymore. Lazy mornings, running yourself ragged until you were a sweaty dirty mess, and then practically falling asleep at the dinner table from exhaustion. Eventually the envy of carefree summer days faded.

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Then I had kids. I love how much fun they have at camp. They come home and rattle off a million exciting things they did that day. Now I don’t feel envy … not entirely. Now I have a desire to recapture those experiences. Granted, most of us can’t take 2 months off from work. However, there are ways to incorporate summer fun into your work.

Below are 7 suggestions for doing just that.

Take a field trip
The best part of camp, besides no school, was taking a field trip. I was fun to break from the ordinary and see and learn new things. Why not afford yourself the same experience at work? Commit to one customer visit a week. Spend time interacting with your most valuable assets. Look into visiting some industry groups that service the space you target. Get out of town and hit-up some events this summer. Interact 2014, Inbound 2014, and Content Marketing World are all worthwhile events to attend this summer. This summer I will attend several of these events including Content Marketing World, SEAT 2014, Digital Marketing for Medical Devices, and 2014 CMO Spotlight on Healthcare & Life Sciences.

Schedule arts & crafts
So this was my least favorite part of camp. Weaving friendship bracelets and making leaf imprints were activities that made me cringe because they were out of my element. But that’s why they were good for me. Exercising your creative side is essential to success and balance. Take a basic design course, play around with tools like Canva, and consider switching from the written word to video for the summer. Personally, I’m considering an improv class to become more proficient and at-ease when speaking at events.

Work it to work it
There’s no better time to enjoy the outdoors. At camp you would swim, run, hike, play ball, and camp-out. Many of these activities can be incorporated into your day-to-day routine. Host some meetings outdoors, go for a run at lunch, or conduct team building at a local ropes course. Outdoor activity stimulates the mind and can help overcome those mental barriers. This summer I begin training for my first ultramarathon so I plan to be extra creative in my work …..

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Make new friends
Use this time to expand your network. Set aside time everyday this summer to engage with, and grow, your network of peers. This could include attending networking events and should certainly involve spending time on social networks. Read and engage with content, identify and reach out to influencers in your space, and get caught up on those LinkedIn recommendations you promised people. I want to deliver 1 new recommendation each week.

Experiment with a good book
Remember those summer reading programs hosted by the library. It usually involved a map and you would chart the books you read along the path. Sometimes there were even incentives. I have a stack of business literature that I’d like to get through this summer. Take advantage of the longer daylight hours and read outside, during your commute, or while on the beach. A few of my favorites include:
– “Decisive
– “Revenue Engine
– “Running the Gauntlet
– “The Inmates are Running the Asylum
– “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change Management
– “Nudge
– “The Wiki Man
– “The Accidental Creative
– “The Greatest Words You Never Heard
Next on my list is “The Physics of Business Growth; Mindsets, System, and Process”.

Eat a snow cone and have a picnic
Dine outside. Grab a blanket, a Chipotle burrito and pop-a-squat under a tree. It’s amazing what an hour outside in nature will do for your well-being. There are also snow cone trucks, like Kona Ice and Snowie,that will come to your office building. Treat your employees to some summer fun … and remember to invite me!

Keep a summer journal
The first week back to school always included a “What I did on my summer vacation” project. Get a jump start on that. Identify objectives for the summer and then document progress against those goals. You can track that progress through that blog you’ve been meaning to start or using tools like infographics and videos. You’ll progress in your development and learn a few new skills. I have my 6-year old doing this and I am following suit. My big summer project involves becoming more strategic with content development and more familiar with customers.

How are you bringing traditional summer fun into your professional life?

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Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
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