What is drawing you towards a sabbatical? What is your intention for your time away from work? How does your sabbatical fit in to the larger purpose of your life?
These are important questions to answer if you are to make the most of your time away from work. Depending upon how you answer these questions, your approach to your sabbatical (and indeed the whole of your life) will be different.
There are four main reasons why people take sabbaticals. As you read each of the categories identified below, consider for yourself which one best describes you:
Exploring self and purpose
Most people give little thought to the questions such as “Who am I?” or “What is the purpose of my life?”, or put another way “What gives meaning to my life?” These questions have a way of getting more important as we grow older. At the same time, we have busy lives with responsibilities and little free time for contemplation. For many people, the best way to generate enough space to tackle these questions is to take a sabbatical - a break from the everyday pressures of work. Ideally a sabbatical is a time of deep inner contemplation. Many of my clients use my services to facilitate the inner exploration of self, values, purpose and vocation while preparing for and taking a sabbatical.
Another reason people take sabbaticals is because they know that their current career path has run it’s course. Perhaps they have grown, and are discovering a fresh set of values which are not fully honored in their current work. Whatever the underlying cause, they know that they need to change the way they work: that sticking with their current course will lead to stagnation and death of the soul. For this group, taking a sabbatical is a way to express the commitment to change, to finding a new way of making a living that is more in line with their values - more of a vocation. The majority of my clients are in this category.
The third category I see is people who are on track in life and know it. They have a clear sense of their life purpose and see their work as a vocation. Because they are so driven by their passion and purpose, these people are prone to overwork and burn out. For this group the sabbatical is a way to rest and renew so that they can come back to their life’s work reenergized and ready for more.
This last category contains the majority of sabbatical leave takers. The first three of my sabbaticals were taken for this reason - I longed for autonomy, freedom and adventure. The sad fact is that most people in this category have no plan for sustaining their autonomy when they return from their break. They will return to the grind that is wearing them down now, perhaps having wasted a huge opportunity to make a lasting change.
Whatever your reason for wanting a sabbatical, if you want to explore how the services of a coach could help you learn or achieve more from the process, contact me, I’d like to speak with you.