Writing this, I am full of energy! I have recently returned from a two-month sabbatical in South East Asia, first enjoying one month in Thailand followed by a second, wonderful month in Bali. I am re-energized and rejuvenated, having spent time with my wonderful family! We relaxed, laughed together and experienced different cultures through doing house swaps, which is also a great way to stretch your penny a bit! The family aspect is one of the great benefits to a sabbatical. You have a chance to teach and learn from your family. You have the full time to understand their vision and needs, and help them acheieve their true calling. ASk yourself and your life partner, “how do we get more living out of our life?” Have you considered taking a sabbatical yourself?
But first: what is a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is a paid or non-paid leave of absence from work. The term is derived from the biblical ‘Sabbath,’ which denotes a period of rest. Though sabbaticals are often linked to the academic world, it is increasingly common to hear of sabbaticals within the corporate sphere as well.
It is common for people on sabbaticals to travel the world in order to invigorate their life. As your responsibilities and stress levels have steadily increased, you need more than just a short holiday to recharge your batteries, and to remain an asset to your company. You need a real break. A sabbatical offers that. A sabbatical allows you to focus on doing the things you want to based on your vision and values.
I believe you should take a sabbatical. Why? Here are 6 reasons.
- Reflection and re-evaluation
- Connecting with loved ones
- Travel the world
- It is good for your boss
- It is good for you
Let’s look at each point in further detail:
- Reflection and Re-evaluation.
This is at the core of the thinking behind sabbaticals. Whether you take a short 30-day sabbatical or manage to stretch it to the full 12 months, you should spend time reflecting on your life. Have your core values changed since you last evaluated them? How do these changes affect your vision? Are you still on mission?
I know how grueling those hours in the office can be and how numbing those endless meetings can get. A sabbatical gives you more than just a holiday and a chance to recover from the past fiscal year – it re-energizes your mind, body and spirit to take on any challenges in the future.
- Connecting with loved ones.
Bring your partner for a chance to reconnect and invest emotionally. Bring your children to provide them with an experience-rich life. Make it more than just a family holiday; make your sabbatical period an unforgettable time in the life of your family. Give your family a chance to experience a different style of life and have something they will remember forever.
- Travel the world (if you want).
As sabbaticals are generally anywhere from 1 to 12 months, this is the perfect opportunity for you to travel to the faraway places you always wanted to visit but never had the chance. Trek the beautiful fjords in Norway, visit the temples in Bali, experience the hustle and bustle of Beijing. Whether you travel across the globe, or across town, the point is to re-energize, renew and start afresh.
- It is good for your boss.
Convince your boss that your productivity increases as your happiness and wellbeing increase. Hiring someone to replace you costs a hell of a lot more than allowing you some time off to recalibrate and re-energize. Happy employees make a happy company.
- It is good for you.
Take time for yourself. Start a new hobby or take up old ones. Learn something new everyday – join that woodworking course you always wanted to, try surfing or hang gliding, or take up French. Step away from the usual, and embrace something you’ve always wanted to try! Remember the things that you once loved to do and revisit them to see if they are still something that fires you up and reenergizes you.
Company sponsored sabbaticals – with or without pay?
If your company hasn’t installed a sabbatical system yet, be the pioneer in bringing it up at a meeting. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. The pressure on executives these days to perform is sky-high and sabbaticals decrease the risk of good employees leaving the company due to plain and simple exhaustion.
If you approach your boss about taking a sabbatical, treat it like you would any other project proposition you put across them. Explain the benefits to the company and commit to a renewed contract after it. Maybe you will even convince your boss to take a sabbatical!
Sabbaticals play a key role in the wellbeing of my family and myself. I am a firm believer in the power of sabbaticals. At my workshops and training centers I often emphasize this, so you can bet I’ve heard every excuse under the sun.
- Financial – There are many ways to make extended sabbaticals affordable. House swapping is a great idea, as you can do this all over the world and by skipping the five star resorts, you come in closer contact with the local way of life. Spending time in countries where the general cost of living is lower also allows you to stretch your penny further.
- Kids education – Home school them! Most schools around the world will provide some solution to home schooling. There are also very good international schools in almost every major city in the world, so the children’s education is not going to be a problem. Think of how educational traveling throughout Australia in a campervan is, like I did with my family ten years ago!
- Might affect career and promotions – Are you scared you might be replaced while you’re away or that your team will make mistakes while you’re gone? Then you’re not a good enough leader! (Join my leadership training program HERE) If you’ve trained your team well enough, you should be able to step away.
- My boss won’t allow that – Remember the Dutch saying: “you do not quit your job, you quit your boss.” If your boss really cannot see past the convenient approach to career, then maybe it’s time to quit your boss.
I have trained numerous executives from the top companies around the world. I’d like to plant the seed and see it grow now – I challenge you to get the discussions started at home (that also takes leadership) to get the process started. Then I challenge you to have to courage to plan it and make it happen.
Do it for your kids, do it for your partner, do it for yourself – you are worth it!
If you are looking for house swaps, please consider the following links.