Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts: “The good news is that you can integrate elements of a vacation…

Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts: “The good news is that you can integrate elements of a vacation into your everyday life.” with Ashley Graber

We know that taking a vacation isn’t always an option for people. But the good news is that you can integrate elements of a vacation into your everyday life. Check your cell phone at the door and sit down for a home-cooked meal with your family. Make your own at-home spa day with your significant other. Try a new fitness class with your friends. And don’t forget to nourish the most important relationship — the one you have with yourself! Try meditation, go for a walk to clear your head — find what helps ground you and make it a habit to incorporate that thing into your everyday.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

In 1981, my Dad, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, founded Sandals Resorts International, parent company of the world’s most recognized brands of luxury all-inclusive resorts including adult, couples-only Sandals Resorts and family-friendly Beaches Resorts. I grew up in Jamaica watching him shape Sandals Resorts into the incredible Luxury Included vacation it is today. My passion for the Caribbean deepened at an early age when I went away to boarding school in Florida — from the warmth of the people who defined the region, to the unparalleled beaches. It was this passion that influenced me, alongside my Dad, to continue elevating the Sandals experience. I wanted to help travelers slow down and truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the Caribbean that I am fortunate to call home. I also wanted to help fulfill the promise of this delicate part of the world. This drove me in 2009, to launch the Sandals Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International — to create a positive and sustainable impact on the people who live here, and the environment that surrounds us. In short, my passion for the Caribbean region and its communities brought me to my current role of Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts and President of the Sandals Foundation.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

The Caribbean is known to be one of the most laid back places to visit — we always joke we’re on island time! Our guests travel to Sandals and Beaches Resorts to escape the “always rushed” feeling that’s so prevalent today. In some parts of the world, it’s tough to escape this type of always-on lifestyle because it’s so ingrained in the culture. I’d speculate that the quick pace of life in major cities yields an always on-the-go lifestyle in turn. Plus, with technology at our fingertips, it can be tough to disconnect and take the time we need to decompress.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

I believe, it all comes down to taking the time you need to unwind and connect with the people who mean the most in your life. Too often, rushing around results in us neglecting our relationships with our significant others, our families, our children and our friends. We need to nurture those relationships, and they’re often the first to go when work and other obligations get in the way. At Sandals, we’re providing the perfect landscape for couples to slow down and reconnect with each other, and at Beaches, we’re offering a space for families to come together and create unforgettable memories. When your relationships are thriving, your health, happiness and productivity levels will follow suit.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

Absolutely. The first steps are acknowledging that you need to slow down and recognizing that you need time to reconnect with yourself and the people you love. Taking a vacation is a great way to set aside your responsibilities and physically get away from the routine that’s inhibiting you from slowing down — and the beautiful Caribbean landscape offers an extraordinary setting to do so. Our all-inclusive resorts ensure our guests don’t have to worry about taking out their wallets — everything is included so they can enjoy their stay. Many of our guests enjoy our butler service offering — knowing their butlers are trained to anticipate their every need helps them fully relax and soak in the experience. Our personal butlers are trained in accordance to exacting standards by the Guild of Professional English Butlers, which provides butlers and valets to nobility and celebrities worldwide. Guests leave our resorts feeling refreshed and ready to get back into their routines (although the most common thing we hear during check out is “we wish we could stay here forever!”).

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”?

1. Take advantage of meal time. An easy way to slow down and take the time to connect with loved ones is over a meal. We all have to eat! At Sandals, our 5-Star Global Gourmet dining experience makes it easy for guests to sit back, relax and enjoy an incredible meal together in one of our unique restaurant concepts — from Indian cuisine to authentic Jamaican jerk.

2. Try something new. Pressing pause and taking the time to experience something new with your partner or family also helps improve our happiness and escape the feeling of being rushed. It can be as simple as taking a scuba diving lesson, and as extravagant as taking a jeep safari through a new destination.

3. Give back. Feeling rushed can make even the slightest details feel critical — and it’s important to take a step back and remember there is a bigger picture. Get involved in a local charity that means something to you. For me, it’s the Sandals Foundation. Spending time with local school children or working to protect sea turtles helps me forget the small stressors in my day to day routine and remember my larger purpose.

4. Hit the spa. There’s nothing like a spa day to help counter that rushed feeling. Sandals’ exclusive Red Lane Spa brings the rich scents of the Caribbean to the forefront of the spa experience, immersing guests in a relaxing experience that is sure to help them slow down.

5. Get moving. This one might sound counterintuitive, but speeding up may actually help you slow down. Exercise helps clear my head. I’m a runner, and something about the experience of moving your feet forward enables me to let go of everything else going on and focus on myself.

6. Rely on your team. We all need time off from demanding jobs and tough hours. Make sure your team has your back so that you can fully disconnect and take the time you need to recharge, whether it’s a personal day or a longer vacation. My advice here is to treat your team like family — forging this type of company culture makes it possible to leave work behind and know that everything that needs to get done will get done while you’re away.

How do you define “mindfulness”?

To me, mindfulness is never losing sight of the things that truly matter in your life, regardless of the everyday challenges thrown your way — and for me, that’s my family.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

We know that taking a vacation isn’t always an option for people. But the good news is that you can integrate elements of a vacation into your everyday life. Check your cell phone at the door and sit down for a home-cooked meal with your family. Make your own at-home spa day with your significant other. Try a new fitness class with your friends. And don’t forget to nourish the most important relationship — the one you have with yourself! Try meditation, go for a walk to clear your head — find what helps ground you and make it a habit to incorporate that thing into your everyday.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

It’s nice to start the day off outdoors to get fresh air, take in the beautiful landscape of the Caribbean, and to get my body moving and my blood flowing to tackle the day. No special app is needed for me when I’ve got the most beautiful scenery surrounding me. My advice to those looking for ways to be more mindful throughout their day is to simply step outside!

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?

My greatest tool is just a phone call away — my father. As my biggest inspiration of all, a man who started this business with nothing and who has grown this brand to be a super brand, it blows my mind every day how he continues to evolve my thinking. Every household in the world knows who Sandals is, and having my father as my mindful tool shapes my practices.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Stay humble.” This is my favorite quote and helps me remember to stay grounded, rooted in nature, and true to myself and my passions — from my family to the Caribbean and its communities.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Inspiring a movement that brings the most amount of good to the most amount of people is top of mind for me right now, as the Sandals Foundation’s 10-year anniversary is this March. We’re placing a special emphasis on marine conservation and environmental awareness in our next decade. The Caribbean ecosystem is beautiful, yet vulnerable, and it’s critical for marine wildlife and future generations that we both protect it and interact with it in a way that minimizes our impact. With the help of partners, key stakeholders and volunteer team members, we are committed to engaging 100,000 people in environmental protection and conservation over the next 10 years. This commitment includes working with schools and educators to integrate marine education in their lesson plans, spearheading hands-on field trips to protected areas and engaging residents in coastal communities on proper solid waste management programs. We will put a greater focus on turtle conservation as we work to certify Sandals and Beaches Resorts in turtle protection, continue support of our highly successful turtle tour and rehabilitate beaches to provide safer nesting grounds. We are also pledging to strengthen the resilience of coral reefs in the region, with a commitment to plant 30,000 coral fragments onto reef systems over the next 10 years. As part of this, locals will receive training in coral restoration, and guests at Sandals and Beaches Resorts will be able to participate in coral planting dives. These commitments build on what we’re already doing — from eliminating single-use plastic straws, stirrers and Styrofoam to managing fish sanctuaries, to offering unique programs like floating classrooms and protecting important species.

Thank you so much for joining us!


Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts: “The good news is that you can integrate elements of a vacation… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.