What the heck is a sabbatical, I’ve had people ask me (especially people in their twenties, like me.) It’s not a term our generation is used to hearing, nor is it something people our age even have on their radar but today I wanted to share a little bit more about my sabbatical, what it looks like, why I chose to do it, and how we made it happen. So let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? W
What is a sabbatical?
Sabbatical comes from the term sabbath, something you might have heard if you are of the Christian faith. A lot of people think of Sunday’s as the sabbath day but it really means to slow down and rest. Google defines it as a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year… but if you’re an entrepreneur like me, you know we don’t really get this whole thing called paid leave, right? Well, I wanted to bring this up because never in my five years of entrepreneurship have I taken more than a day or two off in a row… honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever taken a full day off: no phone, no email, no social media. That’s scary to think about, right?
Why am I doing it?
For the last five years I’ve spent my days (and nights) working IN my business, not necessarily ON it. I was like a cute little furry hamster running on the wheel, reaching for more, more, more and never stopping to see if I really wanted to go where the damn wheel was leading me (which happened to be in circles.) While I was deemed a success by society, I knew that my life couldn’t look this way forever, I knew burn out would be inevitable, and at times I found myself yearning for that windowless office just so I could go back to a salary and a time clock that was actually punched at the end of a day. The year of 2016 changed a ton of things. I finally hired on a team, I automated a lot of my business, I gave myself breathing room, I grieved the loss of our baby (something that shifted MANY things into perspective) and I came out feeling more alive, driven, and excited to create from a space of rest and not stress.
This whole Hawaii thing isn’t just a vacation, it’s a scheduled time of rest. Am I literally taking a month off of my business? No. Am I significantly slowing down, am I taking days off, am I disconnecting, absolutely. (Edited to add: I literally worked maybe a total of 2 hours in the last 24 days!) I thought that my brain doesn’t operate at a level that would let me take a full month to sit on a beach, I was wrong. Sure, I get ideas, I love my work, I get excited to implement and take action, so this trip is a change of pace from regular life to slow the hustle, but slowing down has taught me that nothing is more important than the present.
How is it working?
Well, let me tell you, I have never been more Type A in my life than I have been these past 6 months. I have my entire yearly calendar planned out, I’m working months in advance (yes, months) and I actually have something that resembles organization and workflows (many thanks to my assistant Caitlyn!) Speaking of Caitlyn, she will be manning my inbox and taking care of business while I am away, we will have an autoresponder up, I’ll check my email 2x a week. This content you’re reading? Yeah, it was written over a month ago and scheduled to go live today (I told you I am working far in advance!) Before I left I made sure my entire editorial calendar was ready to rock, scheduled to go live, podcasts recorded, blogs prepared, so that when I landed in Hawaii, I had NOTHING pressing, no due dates, nothing that HAD to get my attention.
As a workaholic, it was important for me to know and trust that everything was wrapped up long before I left so that I was never feeling a pull towards my computer or anticipating deadlines. I wanted to leave “work” as an option, so if I had an idea or a project I wanted to work on, I could but I definitely didn’t have to. I planned space from work so that I could dream again, I downloaded books (both business and non-fiction) to fuel my inspiration and I left knowing that all was well, nothing would crumble, and my business was in good hands!
Pretty cool, right? Would you ever take a sabbatical?