This Friday, I am launching off on my first ever sabbatical. I’m taking six weeks away from work and any work-related commitments. No appointments, no client meetings, no staff meetings, I’m not even going to step in the office unless there is blood or fire involved.
I’m also going to push the pause button on producing my weekly blog posts & emails that I’ve been producing for more than a decade now. I’m also pausing our weekly podcast, and any speaking or workshop work that I personally do.
Just to be clear, though, sparkspace is rockin’ and will continue to host meetings and executive retreats while I’m gone. I’ve got a great team in place that is handing the business like champions while I personally step away for a little bit.
Why a sabbatical? Why now? Truthfully, I’m kind of stuck. I’ve built two successful businesses that are running quite well. Like I said, I have a great team in place. I get to do work that I really enjoy. And yet, I feel like for the first time in a long time I can’t see the future (i.e., “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”).
I started planning sparkspace 15 years ago. In the summer of 1999 I wrote up the worst business plan you’ve ever seen and started hunting for just the right space to that would help me bring my super lame business plan to life. I finally found a place and launched the most inspirational business retreat center on the planet January 1, 2000.
I’ve been going, and growing, ever since. I’ve tweaked and revised, adapted and evolved. I’ve been pretty good at reinventing along the way. Heck, we even survived a pretty brutal recession.
Thank God my original idea was so much better than my original plan. I mean that quite literally…I have been on my hands and knees, thanking God (many times) for allowing this thing to prosper in spite of my extremely elementary business skills and knowledge.
But, for the first time in fifteen years, I find myself stuck. It’s like fog has been placed in front of my eyes and no matter how hard I swat at it, I can’t get it to move, and I can’t see through it. I have literally tried to think and talk my way past it for well over a year. And here I am, still stuck in the fog.
It finally took some advice from my coach, and a funny sounding word, to help me understand what will clear the fog.
“Just step away for a while and see what your brain does with a break from thinking about it so hard,” my coach said to me.
“How long?” I asked, thinking we were talking about a week, maybe two.
“How about 6 weeks?“
I believe my response was, “ARE YOU NUTS?“
After a bit of soul-searching, and about 6 more nudges from the Universe, I decided to take her up on the idea.
Truthfully, it scares me to death to step into the unknown like this, but isn’t that when all the great stuff happens?
Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do, what’s my plan for those 6 weeks off. Here’s my answer:
I don’t know. I have no plan. The whole point for me is to NOT create a plan.
While I don’t have any commitments, here are five things I am going to try to do every day while I am away from work:
1. Sleep with no alarm clock. It’s been awhile since I felt truly rested.
2. Exercise. I’ll definitely keep taking daily walks with my wife, but I’ll also run some, and I’m looking into a yoga class near my house so I can work specifically on stretching my body and getting some of my flexibility back.
3. Think/meditate/pray. This may be for 5 minutes some days, an hour or more other days. But, truthfully, even 5 minutes is more than I do right now. I’ll probably also journal quite a bit as part of this time.
4. Read. I love to read, but it is one of the first things I sacrifice when time gets short. I’m committed to not reading any business-related books, although I love business books. The first book I’m going to crack open is called Falling Upward by Richard Rohr which is a book about spirituality in the 2 halves of life. And while I don’t feel I’ve crossed the threshold of the 2nd half of life yet, I’m definitely standing on that doorstep looking in.
5. Help someone. I’ve realized that more and more I am passing up opportunities to help people because I’m too busy to stop and help. This might be small, like helping my parents change a lightbulb that they can’t reach, or it might be something big like helping someone move across the country. I have no idea, but I will have my eyes wide open for these opportunities.
So I guess I do have a plan, but I really consider these daily rituals more than a plan. The rest of the time, I’m going to explore things that fascinate me, play like I did when I was a kid, experiment with new ideas, and try as hard as I can to live in the moment every moment I possibly can.
Let me wrap up this announcement by saying thanks for being a reader, a client, a customer, a friend, and part of the sparkspace and Rockstar Academy community — whether you just joined or you’ve been with us since the beginning. I appreciate you more than you know.
This will be the last post here for awhile, and I hope you remember me when I return, refreshed and full of new ideas for an even more exciting future.
Oh, and one more thing…if I gave YOU six weeks off of work (and you still had your regular income), what would YOU do during that time? Leave a reply below. I’m dying to hear what you have to say.