3 Crucial Life Lessons I Discovered On Sabbatical


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Would you like a month off?

Imagine taking a month out of your busy schedule. Recently I took my first sabbatical, which is really an extended holiday with a purpose.

Approaching the sabbatical, whenever I mentioned that I was about to take a month off, almost everyone seemed surprised.

The idea of a sabbatical was birthed from the our personal theme for the year which was “space”.

Choosing space as a theme for the year encouraged us to move house, work less hours, take almost 2 months off already and change how I work. Having young kids, running a business and running life at full throttle can feel normal, but it is also exhausting. So we decided to change this.

My first thought when my wife and I discussed a sabbatical was “I don’t have time to do this!” If you’ve ever thought about taking an extended period off, you’ve probably felt the same. Just like you, I have lots of emails to answer, clients to help and children to look after. It took a while to accept the idea that the whole world wouldn’t stop, the planet wouldn’t cease rotating and my business wouldn’t fail if I had a sabbatical. [side lesson – we are usually less important than we think we are :]

I think whenever we push our comfort zones it stretches our belief systems and ask us to become bigger.

So here are 3 lessons I learnt on my first sabbatical and how they relate to living a more quality life…

1. The time you need for a break appears when you decide to take one

One of the first events you should lock in your calendar each year are your holidays. Many people I speak with think it’s a badge of honour to not take a holiday. When did it become an achievement to never rest? I’m all into working hard, but never truly resting? That’s kinda dumb. With the demands and speed of work and technology these days, our lives have become faster and faster. If you’ve ever said to yourself “I don’t have time to take a holiday,” you’re right. You’ll never have time. The only way to take a holiday will be through creating or carving out the time. The amazing thing I noticed was that through deciding to take the month of May, my clients booked their work around me and this work made up for the income on holidays. I don’t know how it happened, but it just did. Your world will respond to your intentional decisions.

2. Quality time is defined by quality emotions

The reason why taking a rest is so important is that the quality of your emotions improve. Have you ever been at an event that you thought you’d enjoy but ended up hating? The event seems to go on forever, right? That’s because time is an emotion. On reflection, it feels like our sabbatical was 3-4 days long. The quality of your time is determined by the quality of your emotion. Basically time slows when you feel crap, and speeds up when you feel good. A trick to improve quality of the emotion on a daily basis include Journaling and meditation. Throughout my time off I spent significant time journalling about life and the vision of our future. I personally find that I don’t know what is going on in my head until I write it down. Journaling for 5- 15 minutes every day improves the quality of my emotional life. When you improve the quality your emotional life the result is quality time.

3. The ‘goal’ is the purpose, not the process

The purpose of our sabbatical were: (1) Emotional recharge (2) Relational connect and (3) Getting excited for the future. Knowing the goal was crucial to how we did the holiday. About three quarters of the way through the sabbatical I realised that for us to reach our goal we needed to come home early to organise some stuff at home. The dilemma was that we had already booked and paid for our stay, so coming home early would mean on some level a waste of money. This was until I realised that the purpose is more important than the process. Staying at our holiday accommodation (the process) was not going to achieve our purpose (setting ourselves up for the next session), so we decided to forego the formal process come home early to achieve the purpose. If the process you’re using is not helping, you achieve your purpose then change the process.

As a side note, if you do a sabbatical with a 1 and a 3-year-old (like we did) make sure you have some babysitting help. Because looking after toddlers is 10x harder than working full-time. (And all the stay at home mums said…Amen!)

Ultimately, you choose how you live your life. So often we think its environment that controls us, but ultimately the power sits in your hands to create the life you want to live. The process of deciding, creating and even going on a sabbatical was challenging. But the results are refreshment, encouragement and energy.

If you want to become more effective with your time or maybe even go on sabbatical, join my next online Productivity masterclass.

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In the masterclass you’ll discover:

  • The 3 Secret “Brain Rules” (and why you must use them to work with your brain, not against it)
  • Why goal setting doesn’t work- and the exact strategy to do instead
  • The #1 mistake that ruins productivity and flow in your day and how to avoid making it
  • The secret to ensuring your energy is used best in your day
  • The one question you must ask yourself that can literally double your output each day
  • You’ll walk away feeling energised, refreshed and equipped to be massively MORE productive.

Grab your spot on the next webinar here

p.s. Seats are limited, so grab your spot before it fills.