What do you think? Email me at cbowen@gie.net.

Well, after four and a half months away on sabbatical, I’m back. I spent about a week processing a bunch of emails, reading through a giant stack of magazines and tracking down a new office chair, and I’ve settled back into the routine of editing and writing.

I’m truly grateful to have had the chance to take a sabbatical this summer. I did many of the things I set out to do: planted a garden, rode my bike, spent time with my family.

But mainly, I used this summer to slow down and step back from the stress and frantic lifestyle that can come from publishing a monthly magazine, and I couldn’t have done it without the full support of my team here at Lawn & Landscape and GIE Media.

If you look at this page, my column rests on all the people listed in the masthead below. That’s not an accident of design: They support me and are the foundation of this fine publication. I’m just lucky to get to have my mugshot up here and prattle on for 400 words every month.

Every year in our State of the Industry Report, we ask landscapers about their stress level, and it consistently ranks near the top of the list of their major concerns. No surprise there, but what can you do about it? The average landscaper can’t take the summer off, but what about a week’s vacation? A long weekend? Even just a day where you stop worrying about everything and just unplug and recharge. A short respite from the constant stress of running your business, your branch or your crew can make you a better leader in the long run.

It is counterintuitive, I think, that slowing down allows us to speed up. But some time away from the grindstone helps us see where we are, and gives us some perspective on what we’re doing. It gives us the energy to make the changes necessary to improve for the future.

There’s a reason you get out of bed every day, fire up your truck and head out into the world.

Working on and in your business is fun – at least I hope you enjoy it – but it can be very easy to get lost in the weeds of day-to-day management and operations and to lose sight of why you’re busting your butt every day.

Whether it’s your family, your bank account or something else, there’s a reason you get out of bed every day, fire up your truck and head out into the world. My time away helped me see all my own reasons more clearly. I knew them before, sure, but I didn’t always see them.

I’m excited to be back, and I’m looking forward to the next few months. We’ve got some very cool stuff coming down the pike this fall and in 2017, and I can’t wait to show you. – Chuck Bowen