Why haven’t you taken a sabbatical? I know. I know. You only wish you could take a multi-month break and return to find your job awaiting you. However, you not only should but can take a sabbatical (it’s not what you think). Read on…
A new friend, Gary Christopher of The Jholdas Group, recently recounted his plans for a sabbatical from his consulting practice that will include a bicycle ride across the continental United States with two friends. He’s blogging about that trip here. An undertaking of that magnitude requires no small amount of planning, and the consultant in Christopher clearly researched and planned his trip thoroughly.
Christopher noted that an effective sabbatical has four distinct phases:
- Releasing of present responsibilities for the duration of the sabbatical
- Resting from our regular labors; An arduous transcontinental bike ride hardly sounds like rest, but this respite from his profession is more about intellectual and emotional rest
- Reflection on the past, present and future
- Recalibration, or taking an inventory of one’s own life before returning to our daily routines and related responsibilities
Very few of us will ever take a multi-month sabbatical before retirement. However, it struck me that those same sabbatical phases can and probably should conjoin other rhythms in our lives. For example, every day we should release the day just concluded (we cannot change the past), reflect and learn from what transpired that day, rest to recharge for the coming day and recalibrate to establish a plan and priorities for tomorrow.
Depending on the speed or scope of our present lifestyles and obligations, we each should also apply these four sabbatical disciplines to some of the longer frequency rhythms of our lives; namely, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. God designed rhythms into nature, and we ignore them at our own peril.
If we desire to leave a powerful legacy, the process of these mini-sabbaticals will arrest aimless wandering and give our lives greater purpose and productivity.