Get your butt over the 'buts' so you can live your sabbatical dream
I get it. You’re tired. Not the kind of tired when you didn’t get a good nights sleep, the kind of tired that doesn’t go away with just a few days of rest. Mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted. And you wonder what are you working so hard for anyway? Life seems to just happen, day after day, with no real purpose or direction. You’re wondering why you’re on this merry-go-round.
You dream of quitting it all, escaping, living on an island somewhere, travelling the world, writing that book, living your picture of freedom. You need a break… a few months of freedom from normal life to live your dream….you need a sabbatical.
I’ve taken 9 sabbaticals — yep 9. And I’ve done them all in different ways to live different live dreams. I hear people say “you’re so lucky, I would love to do that”. And then a horrible word… ‘But’…
“I don’t have the time”
“I could never afford it”
“My boss would never say yes”
That three letter little word is responsible for so many unfulfilled dreams! I’ve heard it so many times. I’ve also said it so many times.
Just because I’ve done it 9 times, doesn’t mean I don’t go through the same emotional rollercoaster each time when deciding I need some time out, then making it happen. That little word shows up and sticks around for a while before I move my butt and get over the ‘buts’!
Here’s what works for me when I need to head-butt the buts.
Stop thinking; start dreaming.
Stop thinking of all the reasons you can’t do it and all the practicalities you’d need to sort out. If you are starting from a place of trying to solve all the logistics of a sabbatical, without dreaming of what it would feel like and what it would mean for your life, it’s like trying to run a marathon with no food or water to sustain you.
And before you glaze over this important first step. Let me tell you why this is important. The dream will get you through. It may take some time to line everything up and make this happen. It might get tough and you might want to give up on the idea. By spending the time to make this dream big and juicy in your mind, you are so much more likely to stick with it when you hit a hurdle.
Don’t think in practicalities or what you think is realistic. That will only make your dream small. You may need to make some compromises along the way, but the time for that is not now. Don’t compromise before you’ve even started. Make it big! Journal about it, create a vision board, read books about it, whatever you need to do to create a crystal clear image of where you want to be and what you want to do on your dream sabbatical. Get excited about it! And the excitement will carry you over the line.
Here are a couple of great questions to ask yourself to kick-start the dream:
What’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to do but never dared?
How would it feel to be rested, relaxed and doing what I love?
How would I feel at the end of the sabbatical? Recharged? Fulfilled?
Once you’ve asked those, start getting more specific and DO NOT let the ‘but’ monster interject!
Where would I be?
What would I be doing?
Who would be with me?
What would my days be filled with?
See it in your mind's eye, feel the elation of writing the final page of your book. Taste the delicious sunset mojitos. Hear the birds tweeting in the forest. Feel the high from reaching the peak of the mountain. Bring your dream to life in your imagination.
After all, what is the cost of not doing it? No one ever said on their death bed “I wish I hadn’t lived my dream. I wish I’d just stayed in that job I hated, living a mediocre life”
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
A dream costs nothing, but failing to dream will cost you everything.
So… what’s your dream sabbatical?