Sometimes in life amidst the pursuit of success and happiness it is prudent, if not necessary to take a break from the constant grind of your daily routine and completely unplug from your profession for a period of time to re-center, evaluate, reposition yourself and consider charting an entirely new course for your life’s journey.
This process takes more than the traditional week or two of vacation and can take months or years. Corporations are seeing the value of this increasing employee or partner value over time and may offer official sabbaticals (extended separation or leave with, or without, pay while not losing their job as they take this important personal time to focus on themselves free from professional constraints).
In some cases, if taking an authorized sabbatical is not an option, one may have to resign completely and walk away.
If you have been stuck in a particular career path for many years, you may need more time to effectively separate, discover and reconnect with your true self. In many cases our sense of self erodes or dissolves away in service to others, especially over long periods of time. Everyone is different, some may require months off to conduct their rediscovery, for others, it could take years.
Being restrained in an intense, high-pressure profession is manageable but over time the stress and strain can understandably take a toll on even the most top performance professional, leading some on a crash course to burnout, or worse, even to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. How much better would it be to take a break (sabbatical) with the likelihood of returning to your profession re-exhilarated and ready to conquer the world?
The better you prepare for your break, the less concerned you will be about the day-to-day responsibilities (part of the purpose of the break). Have some money set aside in savings. Investigate health care or insurance options, maintenance of retirement accounts and other accounts while you remain unplugged.
I had a client who lacking any preparation (but felt it was imperative to take immediate action) quit his job without notice, moved to a small coastal community, lived in a trailer and washed dishes at a restaurant to finance his break. He says it not only saved his life, but empowered him to discover new meaning and purpose in his life. (You might be surprised if you knew who was working in the kitchen at the restaurant you frequent.)
Now, he is back on the top of his game, more successful and better than before following his three-year severance. I know many people who have self-financed their sabbatical via Internet Marketing, where all they needed was an Internet-capable device and an Internet connection… and they never went back to traditional work environment.
Even so, you might consider better preparation for your sabbatical, including plans to return in some fashion, shape or form. It’s best not to burn any bridges upon your departure from service.
What you do during this extended time off is totally up to you. What is important self-focused, self-indulgent, self-sacrificing or inner exploration of self is totally individualized for each person. Do not fashion your break after anyone else’s, nor compare your break to anyone else’s. Even though you may use someone else’s break for inspiration and may even begin modeling after someone’s sabbatical that went before, let your journey unfold and change direction to better suit your own inner work, personal needs and desires.
Take this time to rediscover who you are, your inner being… Connect, or reconnect, with your life’s purpose, your individual mission and message to bring to the world. Find your authentic voice from within and celebrate by singing your song.
Focus on your individualized healing, incorporating rest and relaxation. Engage in activities that thrill you, bring a sense of joy to your soul or give you a strong sense of purpose or meaning. Take this precious time to accomplish some of the items you might love to scratch off of your bucket list.
This is your time to be or do anything you want. Consider travelling to a new location, engaging in a new field of study or trying out new hobbies. Experiment with new recreational activities and technologies, whatever piques your interest, try it; see if you like it.
Expect to emerge like the Phoenix from the ashes. The new you will be more able to achieve more, be more and offer more to the local community and the world at large than ever before.