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Right now, I have just arrived on Necker Island, the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands in the amazingly blue Caribbean.

Now, before you get all mad at me for boasting about a fabulous vacation, I need to tell you I am here to work hard and learn.  Well, work hard, play hard and learn.

I am here at the invitation of Sir Richard Branson, super entrepreneur and someone I have20140412-191404.jpg admired as I have taken the plunge into being an entrepreneur.  He owns this island and invites entrepreneurs here to get together and share ideas.  He also shares a lot of his own ideas.  Right now, I am hanging on his every word and networking with some amazing fellow entrepreneurs.  I want to bring everything I learn back to DentalPost, so I can help you and your practice be the best it can be.

As I walk along the white sandy beach, I think about what Sir Richard has said about what he calls an “inspiration vacation.”  Time off – or as he calls it, “holiday’ – is all about unwinding.  But how much do we really unplug?   When you get away, do you take your smart phone with you?  If you are a hiring office manager, do you worry about how things are going back at the practice and maybe even call or e-mail to check in?

Here is something to consider:  Sir Richard says it is good to disconnect from work from time to time.  “When you go on vacation, your routine is interrupted; the places you go and the new people you meet can inspire you in unexpected ways.”  I never thought of it like that.  He suggests taking a notepad and pen with you to write down ideas that might be good to take home with you.  You never know where inspiration will strike!

“Freed from the daily stresses of my working life, I find that I am more likely to have new insights into old problems and other flashes of inspiration,” Sir Richard says.  I have noticed that when I do “overthink” an issue, it is harder to come up with a solid solution.   So a getaway could be the solution.

It is a good idea, too, to encourage your staff to leave work behind to recharge and come back with new energy and enthusiasm!  Here is another thing Sir Richard encourages:  team building.  “Lots of the best ideas occur when camaraderie and chemistry has built up between employees, and breaks from the office together – even for just a day – can make all the difference,” he says.

He tells the story of one time when he was on this very island.  He and his management team took a boat ride to a nearby island, had lunch on the beach then went on a hike that ended at the top of a cliff.  He and his family had jumped into the sea (not too far below) many times, so he encouraged his managers to take the plunge.  They did, but the sea was very choppy.  Boats ended up having to rescue them!  Can you imagine?!  Everybody was okay, but he was really worried!  He sums it up:  A holiday is “an excellent time to take risks and step out of your comfort zone – but that doesn’t necessarily extend to jumping off cliffs!”

I am not going to be jumping off any cliffs this week, I can tell you that.  But I will be going outside the box.  I want to find out how dental practices can use entrepreneurial tools to go to the “next level.”  That is not just a cliché for me.  I believe it can be achieved with fresh, creative teamwork.

More later…

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