How to Stop Being the Fun-Sucker on Vacation

If you’re the fun-sucker on vacation, you’re not alone! Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, shares a solution he found by happenstance.

5 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

At The Perfect RIA, we stress the importance of having a healthy work-life balance where advisors can spend less time in the office and more time with their families. 

Unfortunately, spending time with family isn’t a cure-all for many advisors—it can feel more like a curse. Advisors constantly reach out to us, asking: 

I just took this trip with my family and was a jerk the whole time. I was frustrated that I wasn’t working. 

What is the point of having so much time out of the office when I’m a mess when I’m with my family? 

I don’t know about you, but I love being productive, solving problems, and getting things done. When I’m in the office, I can be the hero swooping in to save the day, which gives me a dopamine rush.

Few things excite me more than immersing myself in deep work, knowing that my results will transform lives. I’m sure you feel the same way, too. 

For many years, family trips were not at all enjoyable for me. 

My kids are fantastic, but on vacation, we are cooped up together for too long. Eventually, my kids will start fighting over what activity we should do next or having to breathe the same air. 

My wife Jackie spends her days at home running kids from one activity to the next. When we’re on a trip, she wants to chill by the pool. Being poolside allows Jackie to relax, but I can’t sit still. My mind races 1000 miles an hour about everything I’d rather be doing in the office.

Without any real problems to solve, I start making some.

I’ve been driven so batty that once at an AirB&B, I pulled out a screwdriver and started tightening all the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls throughout the entire rental. When I finished with those, I moved on to the door hinges. 

I know my restless feelings and entrepreneurial mind frustrate everyone, but I didn’t know how to stop them.

When I attended the Genious Network’s annual event, I stumbled across a book titled  “Grow Your Business without Growing Apart” by Kelly Clements, an entrepreneurial coach with 20 years of experience at Strategic Coach. 

While reading Kelly’s book on the flight home, I felt like she’d bugged my house because every example she gave about how entrepreneurs struggle in relationships came straight from my life experience. 

I found Kelly’s advice immensely helpful in my home life, and I thought you might, too.

Addressing the Ambition Gap in Your Relationship

Relationships experience an Ambition Gap when one partner’s drive for success can lead to neglect for the other.

Kelly has experience as both an entrepreneur and a spouse in intimate relationships. At one point, she was the spouse who was driven to achieve greater success in her business. Every day, she came home with new, exciting ideas for growing her business. 

Eventually, her husband asked her, “Kelly, why do you always need more? Why can’t what we have be enough?” 

That’s when she knew her marriage was getting swallowed up by the Ambition Gap, ultimately leading to divorce.

During her next relationship, she went for a partner on the opposite end of the spectrum. She found someone who was just as driven as she was. While this was amazing at first, she found she couldn’t keep up. Eventually, someone had to yield.

Kelly felt she “lost herself in the gravitational pull of him and his business.” She felt the business was getting all of his energy and attention. When he came home to her, he had nothing left to give. 

The antidote for the Ambition Gap

When you’re home or on vacation and bored out of your mind, your family may feel like the “business gets the best of you; we get the rest of you.” 

You need to find ways to make being home more enjoyable for everyone. Kelly recommends entrepreneurs amp up the playtime. Play duplicates a flow state and throws in a healthy dose of oxytocin. 

Oxytocin is the love hormone that helps couples bond, reduces stress, and “keeps the mind monkey away.” 

When you’re playing together, you’ll feel less inclined to go back to the office. 

Play can look like going out to play pickleball together, walking the dog, or working in the garden.

Kelly recommends looking for places where you can lose track of time and have a goal you can work towards but which will not destroy the experience if you fall short. 

Your family sees all the time and attention you give the business and your clients. They see how intentionally you pick referral gifts and client high-touches. Your spouse considers that and knows you can devote the same attention to your family. 

When you’re intentional with your family’s time, they can feel like you’re giving them some of those gifts

Your family is your greatest asset—and I don’t mean that in a cliched way or as a throwaway trope.

Kelly noticed that entrepreneurs who have supportive, happy spouses have a greater capacity to make more money and grow enterprises. 

When your spouse feels supported by you, they can support you better than any coach ever could. They’ll give you a second set of eyes to help you troubleshoot issues in your business and give you an unfair advantage. 

Action Items

Being in a happy, healthy relationship looks different for every couple. Spend some time with your spouse this week to determine what “happy and healthy” may mean for you and your spouse. 
Ask your partner about activities they would be interested in and how you can find ways to play together or indulge in one of their interests over the weekend.

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