Hello, everyone! I’m back from my time in Europe and jumping back into work with gusto, energy, and excitement.
And that surprises me. Really.
I’m a driven kind of person, focused on performance, goals, and outcomes. In the past, whenever someone said that they were going on a sabbatical, my thoughts ran along the lines of…well…not complimentary. Not negative but not positive, either.
Rather, I thought that someone who took a sabbatical wasn’t really a serious player in business. Someone who took a sabbatical, in my silent opinion, was communicating to the world that they weren’t as serious as the rest of us who kept our heads down, focused on the next challenge, and kept moving forward. Someone who took a sabbatical, was, essentially, dallying around in their careers.
Know what I mean?
But I must admit that I was wrong to have this attitude.
My only defense is that I cut my teeth during the late 70s and early 80s where finding an opportunity was hard, with lots of competition and a small amount of jobs available and scrambling was absolutely necessary for survival, let alone attempting to start anything called a “career.” Back then, talent pool was filled with tons and tons of other Baby Boomers in the very same boat I was in – no skills and no money, hungry for a leg up.
As I grew in my career, I adopted the attitude that those who were serious “outdid the competition” and that only way to get ahead. So…I adopted a bias that I wasn’t even aware of.
But Sabbaticals have a purpose. A value that only now, after taking one, I’ve learned.
In business, there is a froth that happens deep in our souls that continues the more we achieve results. This “froth” creates tension almost like an arrow on a bow, drawn taut just before releasing it to hit its target. It is subterranean tension in one’s soul that continues day-after-day and year-after-year.
Vacations, however valuable, are not enough to allow for that arrow to be released. I don’t know about you but I continued to think about my business even when I was supposed to be “away.”
I had that froth and didn’t know it. Until I left for my Sabbatical and let that tension dissipate.
It took getting away for a long period of time in a situation where: 1) I didn’t know the language and had to rely on the kindness of strangers to help me and 2) I couldn’t rely on my comfortable routine and had to meet challenges beyond the norm.
Returning home took some time to allow myself to get back up on the bowstring. To decide if that’s what I really wanted to do.
Of course, I’m not looking forward to the froth and I hope that I can have better balance between tension and relaxing.
But if you can take a Sabbatical – a real one that gets you away from everything that you’ve known – I would encourage you to do so.
Life is too short.