A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Arianna Huffington keynote from the INBOUND conference. For me, her keynote was one of the most poignant of the conference because the week prior had been one of the most challenging weeks of my professional career.

I won’t get into all the gory details of what made this week so bad, but we’ll just say it was bad. Life changing bad. Two things Arianna said resonated with me and hit very close to home. The first was “The worst things in life will open doors to the best opportunities” which given the week I had just experienced was the positive viewpoint I was choosing to take. The second was:

Lean back before you lean back in.

In other words take a break to recharge so you can truly give whatever you are doing 100% of your best effort. Pause. Take a breath. Then go.

So coming off of this horrible week, I leaned back and went on vacation with my wonderful wife and two beautiful boys. We went to Narragansett, RI and stayed at the beach. Being the first week of school for most older kids, the beach was completely empty almost every day.

We built sand castles. We picked up hermit crabs, starfish and shells. We walked on the beach. We looked for sea glass. We alternated running towards the ocean and then running away when the waves came in, pretending to be sand pipers. We watched the ferries leave the docks. I breathed.

I focused on my two boys, my wife and little else. I checked my email once a day but mostly I just checked out and recharged my battery.

As an artist, when you work on a painting, drawing or any other type of artwork you need to occasionally step back and view what you are working on from a distance. By staying on top of it at an arm’s distance you don’t always see things from the right perspective. You can lose sight of the bigger picture. Stepping back is a way to critically take a better look at what you are working on and come back with fresh eyes. Why should life be any different?

So I am back. I have a new outlook and I am ready to lean back in. I’m ready to go, are you?


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts.