Reinventing yourself – the beginning

Today is the first day of my sabbatical. As the business world gears up for another week, the traffic reports start coming in and the high school bell down the road rings the start of a new day; I am left with only one important task today – that of starting the process of reinvention.

Beach walk

Many of my habits developed over 25 years in the corporate world can now be changed. My assumptions about work can now be unlearned and rebuilt with new perspective.   Its time to develop a new vision for the future.

This is probably the most exciting time of my recent years and I am really looking forward to the next Chapter!

Renewal is inherent in every aspect of nature. We observe the seasons, the day and night, the migration of birds, the lush new green leaves on the trees that have been exposed all winter. It is my belief that renewal is also necessary in one’s journey through life, and indeed important to help the human spirit discover a new purpose, to be refreshed and to gain new strength for the challenges and endeavours that lie ahead.

With renewal must come tough decisions to end certain activities. This was in my case a painful process and from experience I can assert that it really requires conviction and some courage, for it is easy to keep the status quo. Make no mistake, the status quo can be good, it provides security, stability and purpose to human endeavour. Not everyone is at the same place and not everyone needs to take a sabbatical, nor do many have the opportunity. However eventually, as life unfolds, your day to day endeavours eventually need to be challenged, and if necessary, some ended. The decision to leave the company I helped build with a great team of co-workers to start a new chapter was one of the most difficult I have ever had to make. I hope to write more about this in the coming months. But I am convinced of the necessity of this process, in order to grow and create a new set of opportunities that will be even more meaningful and fulfilling as time goes by.

In practical terms, sabbaticals can either be properly planned with their own goals, or totally unstructured and unplanned. My sabbatical will fall into the latter category; there are no pre-determined goals other than the main objective to plan the next chapter carefully. The very real demands of a full time job have required certain disciplines that have prevented me from entertaining new thoughts, and new ideas. Sadly I admitted to a friend that I have read probably only 2 novels in the last 12 months, and only about 6 non fiction books, all about business and technology. The great writers of history, the great artists, the great lessons of the ages had simply been crowded out by the reality of 21st century living. This I hope to correct, and to blow the dust off of a multitude of novels and books that I have saved for some future time. This time is now!

Friends ask me if this is my early retirement. The answer is, it could be, but probably not. I undertand the importance of work.  Meaningful work is necessary to sustain and give purpose, and to provide for your needs and for more altruistic purposes such as to make a difference in society. So yes, I will enter the working world again after this Chapter. But when I do I will be stronger, and more focussed and balanced. This is another of my goals and I hope to write about this as well over the next months.

If you are considering a change in career, or a need to refresh your spirit and rediscover your potential and truly understand your life’s purpose then perhaps a sabbatical is for you. So many people have told me that I am lucky to have this opportunity. It is my resolution to not squander the chance to reinvent, rebuild, rediscover, realign and re-actualise my life.

So with that uncharacteristic philosophical and deep blog post off my chest, I can now pick up a cup of tea, and plan a long walk while watching the last of the commuters head off to their place of work.  And let the process of reinvention start today!