„I have no time for what is important to me“ is something I hear a lot from executives in coaching sessions. This is not much of an irritation for anyone in my line of work, and for this we usually have a collection of more or less provocative replies.
What is irritating, though, is when you hear yourself utter the very same words and find yourself without a shred of understanding for your own replies.
In an attempt to administer some of my own medicine to myself I dared to play with the breathtaking idea of taking two full months off. Two full months! The next thought was, if I can take two, could it not be three? So it went on and once the thought to take a whole year off had entered my mind it was there, monolithic and fixated, shamelessly so.
Of course there was a multitude of questions to consider: Can I even afford a year off? How will my clients react? Will the company continue to exist while I’m away? How will this affect my relationship? What about my kids? And these were just a few of the questions that bothered me the most.
To my surprise, exactly the questions that I thought would be most difficult to answer turned out to be the least problematic: my partner was highly supportive even though she can’t join me, my clients actually applauded the idea, my business partner without hesitation agreed to run the company and my kids are already looking forward to the adventures they will participate in, even though we will see each other even less than usual. (As for the question regarding finance, well, I have chosen to ignore this to some extent…)
Where I completely stalled was, however, when it came to deciding on what to do with all this time at my hands. Everything I ever wanted to do sprang to mind and suddenly a full year of free time seemed – this is difficult to say without sounding cynical – short. What followed was a year-long (!) decision-making process that caused me – and some people close to me – a few grey hair to say the least.
Should you also consider to take extended time off, here are a few thoughts that I found helpful:
- Yes, it is ok do things that make you happy.
- No, it is not irresponsible to take responsibility for yourself.
- Your personal relationships and business contacts will not suddenly evaporate.
- There are more supportive people than you ever imagined.
- Financially there’ll be a way.
- Don’t plan it to death.
- Ask others for their honest opinion if you get stuck.
- Trust your gut feeling when taking these opinions into account.
- Take a leap and do it!
And finally, here’s a video that sort of sums up my own experience in encountering my own worries: