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Schools have started or will be resumed in a few days. Apart from a few late vacationers, everybody is back in the office. With the most beautiful summer holiday pictures fresh on our retina. Still smelling that best paella ever. Summer tans fading slowly. De-cluttered offices and cleared mailboxes allowing for a more or less flying start. With the last quarter of the year ahead of us, and 2018 already in our minds, we will be closing Q3 in a few weeks. Time to evaluate and adjust as necessary. Time to look forward. Time for ambitious budgeting and challenging new business plans.

It may excite you. Or scare you. You may be motivated, or not. You may have decided to take it slower. Or to speed things up. Whatever situation you are in today, here are 5 tips to kickstart your after summer. For a more productive, a more successful, but above all, a happier work and life.


1. Take your time to evaluate and reflect

Tip 1: When you return to the office after your summer break, block off some evaluation time in your calendar. This prevents you from falling right back into your “old” routine

Where are you today? Are you on track? I’m not just talking about results and finances. Take some time to take a look at your values as well, your beliefs, your strengths, your weaknesses. Just like a soccer team watches their last game again no matter whether they’ve won or lost. Look critically and stay focused on the positive.


2. Challenge the status quo

Tip 2: Don’t just return to business as usual but take deliberate time for renewed strategic thinking. Prioritize, focus and be proactive

Before your start, stop! Look at the big picture. Don’t be afraid to question. You know the current status of your future plans, but what are today’s latest trends in your market? Has your company context (internal or external) changed over the last weeks and months? What are the most important business drivers today? Reinforce your vision. Realign the existing goals if needed.


3. Un-slump yourself, even more when you are already successful (Dr. Seuss)

Tip 3: Tidy up you workspace if you haven’t done that yet. Dust yourself up. Engage. Create new habits. Get out of your comfort zone. Remove all distractions and steer yourself in any direction you choose

Once you’ve decided on your renewed business strategy it’s time to plan ahead and get back to work. “If you do what you have always done, …” (you’ll get nothing more, maybe less). So whether you were experiencing sustained success or rather a feeling of failure before, dare to get out of your comfort zone again. A dear colleague of mine introduced me to Dr. Seuss a few days ago and I fell in love with his “Un-slump yourself” as soon as I heard it: “Don’t wait for the fish to bite, score your points, win your games”.


4. Reconnect

Tip 4: Reconnect with colleagues and clients. Make plans for lunch instead of rushing right back into work overdrive

In order to be happy and fulfilled as a professional human being, we are in need of a feeling of Achievement, Enjoyment and Connection. In busy times I (let me speak for myself) tend to forget the last one. Especially when the summer might have been all about Enjoyment, we go back to work and back to Achievement. Nevertheless, this after summer time is perfect for reaching out to your professional network again. As a leader, give your team members a pep talk and realign your combined forces. Or simply catch up on how everyone is doing and what they might need to be successful going forward. Encourage participation. Lead by example. Re-engage with your clients as well, by simply asking them how their summer went, or by showing interest in their plans for the rest of the year (or next year).


5. Invest in yourself

Tip 5: Identify what you need (to change) to reach your goals. And how you can keep growing as a human being at work and at home

For me personally, September 1st may feel more like a new beginning than January 1st ever did. To me it’s a fresh start in an on going work and life, entering the busiest time of the year, with pressure on results and new business rising. Easy to forget yourself (even as an executive coach) and speed up everything but your own development. I’ve learned through the years that’s not how things work. In any fast-forward environment, keep alert for your personal learning opportunities. Find your way in better dealing with stress. Don’t forget to eat and sleep and have fun.


That being said, it’s time to close some new deals again or to take your career to the next level. Whatever you do, I hope you feel better than ever.

Enjoy your after summer !

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(Don’t hesitate to contact me for an exploratory talk or take a look at to see what my clients say)

About the author

Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of and a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself