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The real truth about why you want a sabbatical

You say you want a sabbatical, but the truth is, you're probably just running away.

Most of the time, I'm the caring, supporting encouraging coach who's telling people they can absolutely navigate their way to a sabbatical have an amazing time. But today, I'm the no holds barred, honest version. The truth is, you're probably just running from your problems.

What I see is people taking an extended break from work - a sabbatical - Just to run away from their problems. They don’t actually address any of those problems while they’re on sabbatical, then they come back to life wondering why those problems still exist. The sabbatical has just been a bandaid for their disillusionment.

I've seen all the variations of this theme. I've heard all the excuses. I’ve seen lives remain painfully unchanged. How do I know this? I’ve heard this from the hundreds of people I’ve spoken to about their sabbaticals. But mostly because done this myself. Many times. I've taken 10 sabbaticals. And the honest truth is that for seven of those, I did exactly the same thing. I was running away from some kind of problem in my life. Problems with my career, problems in relationships, or just general dissatisfaction. Whilst I had an amazing time, on my escapist sabbatical, I stayed in that escapist world. I stayed in this far off dreamland, immersed in travel, distracted by all of the different things that were surrounding me. When the big questions came up like: what's wrong with my life? What do I need to change? I pushed those questions down, push them away and filled up my Facebook feed with pretty pictures of my amazing adventures.

This is me on sabbatical seven. Smiling and happy in India.... deeply unhappy in reality. I was running.

I know what it's like. It's actually pretty scary to be confronted with the fact that you have to change something in your life. It is much easier to run away and take sunset selfies and drink cocktails on the beach. But, what is the point if we don't actually use our time to find a better version of ourselves? What is the point if we don't use our sabbatical as a catalyst for something bigger, something better.

So, for seven of my 10 sabbaticals, I did it all wrong. But, that means there were three where I did do it, right. Perhaps those were the sabbaticals where I was at my lowest and so couldn't push the big questions away. Or perhaps I was just ready to answer them. But one thing is for sure. When I actually took the time to answer those questions, that's when changes really happened in my life. That's when I got the courage to step into the unknown. The courage to do the thing that I was afraid of, or the courage to demand a better life for myself.

Now, here’s the tough part.

Answering those questions on sabbatical, finding the space and time to investigate what needs to change for you is not even half of the challenge.

The real challenge happen