A personal story...
Last year, I experienced a brutal period of time. 😔
My mom was in the ICU.
I lived in airports and hospitals.
Didn’t see my kids for weeks.
Started having crippling daily migraines.
Oh, then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor (which we later learned is benign - whew).
I remember walking in circles around my bedroom carpet, in a daze. By December, I’d practically worn a hole in that carpet.
(I hinted about this in an earlier post: my not-so-fascinating life.)
My husband said... “What if you took a break, to get back to yourself?”
I thought about his words... “get back to yourself.”
At first I thought, "There's NO WAY I can take a break. My business can't keep running without constant attention." I was struggling just to get up in the morning, so how could I take time off??
For the next 6 months, we planned each step so I could step away. Friends and family were on board to help. My team was extraordinarily supportive.
And on April 26th, my sabbatical officially kicked off.
We called it... the sallybatical. 🙌
The sallybatical would be 100 days off the grid... no meetings, no client calls, no business trips. Zip. Zero. Nada. At first, I was itchy to not constantly check my phone. So I uninstalled email, Slack and Skype. (Gulp.)
Slowly my creativity started growing back. I think my bedroom carpet started growing back too. 😊
What happened in those 100 days? They say a picture says 1,000 words...
BEFORE: This was my last keynote speech a day before my sabbatical began. The speech itself went well and I looked fine on the outside. But the photo reveals a split-second glimpse of how I felt inside.
AFTER: A little different, right? 😊
How about you? Ever feel so overwhelmed that you can't put one foot in front of the other?
Yes? Then consider a sabbatical… of sorts.
I'm lucky to have the option to structure 100 days away. But now that I’m “back,” I can see that a sabbatical isn’t a vacation. It’s crucial space to regenerate. Here’s the thing… it’s not necessarily a block of time, but a mindset.
What could YOUR version of a sabbatical look like? How would your life change with a fresh burst of inspiration and energy? Your change could be small, like eliminating email in the evenings or establishing sacred boundaries around family time. Me, I took a long walk around the lake early in the morning, feeding my brain with audiobooks, non-work podcasts, and conversations with my parents.
Give yourself space, even when you feel overwhelmed (especially then). to breathe life into your work, your relationships, and your future. Feeling fascinated by your own life is not a luxury. It's a necessity. So imagine this…
Today, is your “before.”
What does your “after” look like?
I can't wait to find out. Have you ever felt dead inside, and changed your life as a result? Or do you know someone who did? I'd love to hear about it here, in the comments, below. 🙌 🙌 🙌
Hmmmm...I wouldn't have used the word dead to describe my current state. I'm in my full time career that I love with a team I love AND I want to give more. I'm taking steps to start a side hustle. I'm exhausted and my creativity is muted or numb. However, I am in a battle with my own persistence and stubborn refusal to give up on the notion that I want to pay forward what I am blessed to have. Did I mention I'm also in the midst of my Master's program? I think I have an unhealthy addiction to being busy and maxed out. It's great to see you rejuvenated. Showing the before and after was a powerful way to share your story. I wonder what my After might look like if I give myself some rest.
My "before" was a few months ago - lost in a job that I hated and certainly wasn't using my talents. Through a journey that included How I Fascinate, I was able to utilize my unique strengths to leave that horrible job, deepen my relationship with my hubby and launch a business where I'm helping people do the same! Congratulations to all who take a leap of faith and find a new connection to the world and self.
I hadn't called it a sabbatical until now, but yes this word fits what started in July and I'm still riding it out.
As a Headshot Specialist having dealt with tendonitis in my right elbow for about 6 years, through overuse this past April I developed it in my left elbow and a ganglion cyst in my left wrist is to the point where I need to have it surgically fixed. Oh, did I mention I'm left-handed?
An interesting thing happened 6 years ago though, that injury took my photography down the headshot path because I needed to park my camera on a tripod as I couldn't lift it. This has been an amazing journey and niche for me. The experience I give my clients has life change affect on how they feel about themselves and having their picture taken.
Now with surgery scheduled for mid-October, the forced immobilization will be good for my left elbow. I am also hopeful and excited about what will come of this, as I am a speaker also (and have encouraged many people to take the How to Fascinate test), have done some emceeing, and plan to take a stand-up comedy class to further my speaking skills. I don't need my arms for this!
While headshot is still a passion of mine and I will continue to do them as I can, I am content and excited about the future!
Thank you Sally for taking care of yourself and for creating this test that has really helped me lean into my natural giftings!
Great photo illustration.
Very pertinent today!
Getting serious about having Fun!
Great, Lisa! And we especially love part of your comment:
"Helping them re-structure their businesses to focus on what really matters makes a difference: renewed creativity, new insights and connections to their work, more peace of mind, and their kids remember their faces!"
On another note... can't decide if the phrase "retire parallel" is hilarious or horrifying. But it sure sticks!
In my 20's I was a hard-charging admin, serving multiple bosses in an automotive manufacturing environment. I watched people literally "retire parallel", feet first on a stretcher out the door.
When I left corporate and started my own business, I was keenly aware of how important it was to make sure my business didn't run my life, and while many of my clients kicked and screamed about strategically and intentionally taking time away from their work, those who do are much better for it. Helping them re-structure their businesses to focus on what really matters makes a difference: renewed creativity, new insights and connections to their work, more peace of mind, and their kids remember their faces!
It's often a hard-won lesson (I know it was for me!), so congrats to you for not only recognizing the need, but being able to structure your business to do it.
I just wrote an entire book about this! It’s called Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel’s Guide to Finding Your Best Life. Love that you did this for yourself AND the benefit of everyone you serve. You look so rejuvenated! Congratulations and thank you for modeling a new success script.