Without great solitude, no serious work is possible – Pablo Picasso

Recently, I had the great pleasure and honor of hosting our Daniel Stark Team and their spouses, 64 in all, for a “Play Hard” weekend in Cancun, Mexico.  Our work culture is extremely important to me, so early on, we agreed our number one core value would be “Work Hard, Play Hard.”

What this means is that we give it our all in everything we do, whether at work, at home, or in our recreational pursuits.  It also means that you can’t be all work and no play.  Most of our team works over 40 hours each week making sure our clients aren’t taken advantage of by insurance companies.  So, if we sleep 8 hours and work 8+ hours, that leaves less than 8 hours a day to be with our families and to take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically.  Balance is huge in life and you cannot be efficient and productive without it.  So, Jonathan and I bring home this message to our team by offering them an all-expense paid trip to celebrate the hard work we accomplished together during the prior year.

DS on the beach

Just last month we all jumped on United and Southwest Airlines and headed south to Cancun, Mexico.  We have grown a lot over the last few years, so this was our largest group trip ever and I think it was the best trip so far.  The hotel was just outside of the city and it was beautiful with great food and great service.  Best of all, it was all inclusive.  Over the three day trip, I witnessed some of our team just taking it easy on the beach or pool side, while others took off to explore Cancun and nearby Isla Mujeres.

Ferry Ride

Being able to just relax, soak up some sun and wear flip flops in the winter will refresh your soul and boosts creativity.  It also gives you time to reflect on what is important in life and renews your desire to accomplish more.  It gives you that much needed time to be away from all of the world’s technologies and just be quiet.

My family had a little down time, but the trip was mostly filled with adventure (promoting my family core value of Be Adventurous).  My favorite was renting a golf cart at Isla Mujeres where there are very few cars, but a ton of carts roaming the island.  We ate some chips and guacamole on the beach, snorkeled, explored, and my children’s favorite was swimming with the dolphins.

DD - Landry DolphinDD - Brodie Dolphin

What I love about playing hard is that, in the end, you are exhausted.  Do you remember when you were a kid and you played until you couldn’t play anymore?  Remember the feeling of just hitting the bed and being out?  That’s the best sleep you can get!

This trip gave our team the ability to escape and talk about both business and life.  It is critical to set aside time to step away and think.  Time away gives you a level of clarity that you cannot otherwise obtain.  I can tell you that everyone returned from this trip refreshed and I can see that there is a renewed sense of innovation and energy around the office.  We have all had the chance to step away, relax, have fun and be invigorated to come back with a renewed focus on our purpose; to protect our clients from being taken advantage of by insurance companies.

Danny Daniel