I took three weeks off from work and normal life…and here is what I learned…
Well, maybe more than three weeks if you count the fact that I just got married and also took some time off then. How did I do it? I am not going to sugar coat it: it has not been easy. But, I learned a few important things that might be helpful for anyone else who is contemplating a sabbatical:
1. I can literally work from anywhere. I tested the waters before I took a bunch of time off to see if I could do my job from anywhere and tested what devices I could leave at home. It worked. I bought a key pad for my mini iPad that I am typing on now. My iPhone was the key but having the iPad is nice and easy to transport.
2. I learned I mainly only needed wifi (you can even place calls on wifi these days)! Not sure if this scares me or makes me feel better. Bad news: this technology goes down and life as I know it is over Good news: I can mostly do what I need to do with a simple wifi connection.
3. I tested my team. I decided that if I was going to trust them to run things for three weeks, then I needed to trust them for three days first. This was as much a test for me as for them I think. So, I went radio silent for a few days to see what would happen. It was a valid test that I will continue to do even if I am not traveling. They thrived in my quiet. It was empowering for me and them.
4. I got some of my life back. Taking a step back I have been able to get things back in alignment. I needed to fall back to make sure I had a clear vision for where I want my business to go and how I want to get there. It would not go where I need it to go with me working in it as much as I was. I need to work on it- not for it. I feel like I am back on track now.
5. I worked on my relationships outside of my company…and that feels great. It is a place of constant guilt. Trading time for one always means that the other suffers. It was time I worked out some things with people that are important to me and have been more than patient with my work life! It became really clear that I have to find balance with both…and that is a work in progress.
So, I know it is not possible for everyone to take three weeks off but I would encourage you to take some tips from me. Take five days, five hours, even five minutes to see if you can take a mind break. Stop to smell the roses as they say. Do that. Really stop and smell them. Maybe working harder and longer is not working smarter with a vision. As a result of taking a step back, I am now ready to take a step forward. I am super clear on what I want, and now I know it is possible to get it.