Episode: The Business Case for Sabbaticals

Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt, and this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. Megan is off this week, but I’m joined by two of my very favorite colleagues. First of all, Jim Kelly, who’s my executive assistant and has been working with me about four years, and then Nick Jaworski, who is our producer for Lead to Win and also Focus on This, our other podcast, in case you haven’t visited that before. You’ll definitely want to check that out. Welcome to both of you.

Jim Kelly: Great to be here, Michael.

Nick Jaworski: So excited to be here talking about something that I know is very important to you.

Michael: Yes. We’re going to be talking about sabbaticals…what they are, why they’re important, how to take an appropriate sabbatical. The reason I have Jim here with me is because Jim is the one who basically helps me plan these sabbaticals so that when I’m away I can be focused on what I’m doing in my sabbatical and not have to worry about the office. He makes sure all that stuff is taken care of and set up. Jim himself has also taken at least one sabbatical. Right, Jim?

Jim: I did. I took one last year, and then I’m due for another one in 2022, so, next year.

Michael: Yeah. The way it works at Michael Hyatt & Company is we let our employees take a 30-day paid sabbatical once every three years. I myself, because I’m exploring, have to take one every year. I’m the pioneer in this.

Nick: Would you say let or make them take a sabbatical?

Michael: I would say we make them take a sabbatical.

Nick: Yeah. I think that’s an important distinction.

Michael: I do too. Nick, what has been your sabbatical experience?

Nick: I think I mentioned this on the show last year, perhaps, but a couple of years ago, after I’d been editing this show for a year or so, I went, “I can take time off. I run my own podcasting company.” I went, “Michael Hyatt can take time off. Why can’t I take time? He has so much more going on than I do.” So, I started off with doing two weeks and really struggling to even get the two.

I remember telling clients, “Oh, I’ll be back on Friday for any problems. It’s okay. Don’t be scared.” Then, after that first time doing it, what I found out was that my clients actually really liked that I took time off, because that meant they took time off. That meant we were all prepared for this time. They’d been making podcasts every week all year. So, we’re gearing up for this July off, and then they got to take time off, and they loved it.

So then I started going, “Well, I’ll do three weeks.” Then last year I did all of July. It’s only possible through saying, “There’s no shame in taking time off. This is okay. It’s encouraged.” I was so creatively productive during the second half of that month after I decompressed. So, for everyone out there listening, if you haven’t thought about it, listen to the episode. Give yourself a little bit of space to think about it, and then maybe at the end of this we can convince you that it’s worth it.

Michael: Excellent. Okay. I’ve asked Nick to kind of lead us through this conversation, because when we jumped on before we started recording, he was asking all of these amazing questions, and I said, “Okay, smarty-pants. Why don’t you be the one who leads the conversation.” So that’s what he’s going to do.

Nick: Sabbatical is a broad term, so I guess let’s define our terms here. Michael, what is a sabbatical, and perhaps just as importantly, what is it not?

Michael: Well, I suppose originally this comes from a Hebrew word that means to rest and to do no work.

Nick: I swear I did not know that. This is so exciting.

Michael: Come on!

Nick: I really did not, and I go, “Oh my gosh.”

Michael: You know, like sabbath. At any rate, where I’ve been exposed to it the most is in the academic world. I serve on the board of a seminary, and sabbaticals are things professors regularly take. Or I don’t know how regularly, but it’s pretty common for them to take that. They also usually engage in some sort of project, like writing a book or doing something like that. We’re shifting the meaning a little bit.

By the way, in my early days of taking a sabbatical, that was kind of the business case for it: I needed to get away to write a book. But today, I don’t really consider that, in my world (and everybody gets to define this how they want)… In my world, doing any kind of work on my time off is a no-no. So I don’t write books. I don’t do any work. I don’t think about work. I don’t talk about work. I don’t read books about work on my time off, and that includes my sabbatical. I’m pretty much unplugged for that entire time.

So, when I talk about a sabbatical, it’s an extended time, more than a vacation. Whatever your typical vacation is, whether it’s a week or two weeks, it’s more time than that, but it doesn’t have to be an academic sabbatical where you might take an entire year off, although that sounds pretty amazing.

Nick: Jim, we’re going to get to this in a second. We’re going to talk about the hows of doing this. We’re just going to keep defining this a little bit. So, I love the idea. You’re taking time off. I’ve done it. It’s the best. Everyone should try it. What are the benefits of this? Then we’ll talk about how to do it. So, Michael, what are you seeing from this? And, Jim, from your own sabbatical, you can share what the benefits of it are.

Michael: For me, one of the benefits is truly rest. I think most of us are running on empty or with less gas in the tank than we think, and we just need time to rest and recuperate. The word I like best is rejuvenate. That reminds me of going to a spa where you leave more energized than when you came. So that’s one huge benefit.

Another benefit is that it does change your perspective. When you have your nose to the grindstone and you’re working hard day after day after day, that’s one perspective. It’s a necessary perspective, but there is just something about pulling back and seeing the totality of your life and sort of the visceral recognition that work is only one way to orient your life. It’s an important way, but it’s only one domain of life. There are a lot of other domains as well.

So, rejuvenation, perspective… I think also just the adventure of it. On our sabbaticals, we try to do some fun things every time. Sometimes we’ve taken the entire 30 days. One year we went to Europe. We landed in Amsterdam, took a plane to Vienna, and then we started driving west back across the Alps. We went to Austria and Germany and France and Switzerland, and it was amazing, but that was a 30-day trip.

Another time, we went to Italy for 30 days, and that was incredible. I cannot wait to get back to Italy. So, we always do something that feels like adventure. Maybe this is a fourth benefit, but a sabbatical accesses or develops parts of your brain that if you don’t do this on a regular basis, if you don’t rest, these parts of your brain just atrophy.

It causes you to employ new muscles almost. It’s like changing up your workout, where you’re thinking in different ways that will actually serve you very well when you come back to work. I think that’s the thing that has really helped me. Those final three or four days of my sabbatical, I couldn’t wait to get back to work, because I was so energized. I felt like I had something to contribute. The tank was full. I was ready to go.

Nick: Jim, what about you?

Jim: Michael said rejuvenation was his word that he comes back to. It’s funny, because mine is restorative. I felt like my sabbatical was restorative. To what Michael said, the coming back from a different perspective is huge. I see this on a day-to-day basis when I take a 10-minute walk. I’m walking around the neighborhood just to get away from work a little bit. When I come back from that 10-minute walk, I feel extremely focused, and during that walk I had some new ideas I didn’t have when I was working on the grindstone, working in the job.

It’s funny, because last year when I took my sabbatical, I came back from it extremely restored, and then about a week into coming back to work, Michael said, “Hey, Jim, how are you doing? Because it seems like you’ve leveled up your game. Your game is even at a higher level than it was before you left for your sabbatical.” I said, “You’re right, Michael. I came back fully restored, and I have new ideas that I gained when I was away from work that I was able to apply during work.” So, restorative is what I come back to.

Nick: It’s so interesting, because last year when I did my full month off, about two weeks into the process, I started making another podcast, which I know violates, perhaps, Michael’s point about work, but it was different. It was deep thinking, reading work. It was the kind of creative work I really love to do.

I would just sit and read, and I had my pencils, and I would take notes, and I would walk. It was so nice. And it wasn’t for business, necessarily. It was something I really wanted to do, and I had time. I wasn’t even putting pressure on myself. I literally just found myself doing it, and it was so lovely to have that space.

Michael: Nick, that’s totally legitimate. I don’t want to make it sound like my rules are the only rules. My rules are what work for me. Certainly, academics who get away do that deep work they can’t do during the hustle and bustle of the academic year when they’re teaching students and grading papers and mentoring and all that stuff.

So, yeah, that’s totally legitimate. But I will say that when you get away like that, it’s pretty natural for you to think of new projects you haven’t thought of, and for me, I have to kind of back-burner them or jot them down and come back to them later. But it’s amazing time. When you get away, it’s amazing thought time.

Jim: Sometimes when Michael comes back from his sabbatical we brace ourselves a little bit, because he’ll come back with 20 ideas. Even though he’s not specifically thinking about the business when he’s on sabbatical, he’ll jot those ideas down and say, “Hey, I think we should do this” or “Have we thought about this?” So sometimes when he comes back from his sabbatical, we’re like, “All right. What kind of projects does Michael have in his mind?”

Nick: Everyone is afraid. It’s like being in the shower. You have these ideas because you’re not thinking about other stuff and your brain has time to assemble everything.

Michael: There is a correlation (the research shows this) between relaxation and creativity. It’s very difficult to be creative when you’re stressed. I’ve heard it said in sports, particularly golf, that tension is the enemy of performance. When you’re tense in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s very difficult to be creative, but when you get away or when you’re in the shower or when you’re off for a run or doing something that’s relaxing, it’s very natural for you to have a lot of creative ideas.

Nick: Let’s talk about the creation of the sabbatical here at Michael Hyatt & Company. When did you start taking them? When did team members start getting them? Both of you, let’s hear what you guys have done with these sabbaticals. What did you do with your time off?

Michael: It all began when I transitioned from Thomas Nelson Publishers to Michael Hyatt & Company. In the last year or so that I was at Thomas Nelson, I was seeing a therapist, because I knew I was about to make a big life transition. As I talked about in a previous episode where we talked about succession, I was sort of the recipient of a poorly executed transition or succession. I didn’t want that to happen, and I knew a lot of that depended on me, my state of mind, and all that.

My therapist said to me, “You know, I think you’re more tired than you think, and I think you need some rest.” He said, “I think you should take three months off before you even think about what’s next.” I was aghast, like, “Three months?!” I thought that was incredulous, like, “Nobody in the history of the world has ever done that. I can’t do that. Nobody willingly did that for sure.”

He kind of made the case to me, and then we negotiated back and forth, which is kind of a funny thing, negotiating with your therapist, but anyway, I did. I said, “I think I could do it for a month.” He said, “Okay. Well, that’s a start.” So he said a month. By the way, this coming summer, 2021, I am taking almost three months off. It only took me a decade to get there. So, John, if you’re listening to this, I’m finally getting there.

So I did take off. That very first one, I really didn’t do any work. I wasn’t writing a book. There was no book on the horizon. Gail and I went to some dear friends’ home up in Colorado. We were deep into the mountains at about 9,500 feet, and we just hiked every day and enjoyed nature, and it was phenomenal. That was the first time…

By the way, we watched the entire show, however many seasons it was, of Friday Night Lights. That was basically the subject matter of that particular sabbatical. It was amazing. It was magical. If I close my eyes, I can see so many moments from that very first sabbatical. Of course, I journaled the whole thing, so I have all that I can go back to. But that’s sort of the origin.

Then it was a few years later, as Megan and I were thinking through the benefits package… How could we make an amazingly attractive benefits package for prospective employees so that we had people knocking down our door to come to work for us? We said, “Well, gosh, why don’t we offer this sabbatical? At least if we did it once every three years, that would be amazing for our team.” I think, Jim, you would agree with this, but that’s probably our most popular benefit to this day.

Jim: Yeah. It was my favorite benefit until the 9:00-to-3:00 workday. I think that has taken over. The 9:00-to-3:00 workday is right there, but then the sabbatical is right next to it.

Nick: So, Jim, what have you done? You took a sabbatical last year?

Jim: I took it last year. I’m a little bit of a weird case, because I was due for it two years ago, but my son Greyson was born, so I deferred it a year. I’ve kind of beat the system, because I got paternity leave two yeas ago, which is six weeks at Michael Hyatt & Company. I got a sabbatical last year. I’m having another kid this year, so I’m getting six weeks this year, and then I’m due for another sabbatical next year.

Nick: You’re giving up the game, Jim. Don’t tell this to Michael.

Jim: I know. I kind of beat the system.

Nick: So what did you do…? I know last year was kind of a strange summer for a sabbatical, but how did you spend your time?

Jim: It was a strange summer. We had these amazing plans booked. We were going to go to California and hike Half Dome in California. If you don’t know what it is, it’s this amazing rock structure, and you climb up it. It’s pretty intense. It’s like a 10-mile hike. They have a waiting list on it and a lottery system to be able to hike it. We got the lottery. We got on the list, so we were like, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing.” But then, obviously, with COVID and everything we weren’t able to go.

I was super intentional about my sabbatical. I don’t know about you, Michael. One of my questions I’d have for you, Michael, is “What do you do during a sabbatical?” because it sounds like you don’t do a lot. So, what do you actually do? I was super intentional about, like, “All right. What are the things that are going to be most restorative to me?”

I wrote a list of about 20 things, and then I calendared them. Maybe some of you don’t have the same personality as I do, but I like to calendar it, because, as Michael says, what gets scheduled gets done. So, I created a list of “Okay. I want to take a nap on these days. I want to go kayaking on these days. I want to go golfing on these days. I want to go swimming…”

Nick: Wait. Time-out, time-out. You included days you were going to nap on your calendar?

Jim: Yeah, and that was pretty much every day. That was kind of a recurring task.

Michael: That’s what I’m talking about.

Jim: Yeah. I had naps every day. I had golf on Thursdays. I had kayaking on Wednesdays. I had yoga on certain days. I took a bath on Monday afternoons. I even got down to scheduling the movies I hadn’t seen but are classic movies, and I watched them on Tuesday mornings, because when during your work life are you going to watch classic movies on Tuesday mornings? My son was at day care. I had the morning free, so I watched classic movies on Tuesday mornings. So, that’s what I did with my sabbatical.

Michael: Okay. I have to comment on this, because I’m the exact opposite. If I have stuff scheduled, then I don’t feel like I’m taking time off. Now, I do have things, but for some reason, as much as I love the calendar and as much as I say, “What gets scheduled gets done,” when I put it on the calendar, it feels like I have to do it versus I get to do it.

Every year, I have an educational project I go through. I’m trying to learn something. It could be photography. It could be guitar, which is going to be my focus this summer, but I’m not going to put it on the calendar, I don’t think. Maybe I’ll try it your way, Jim, but for me, that makes it feel like an obligation, and I don’t like that.

Nick: Jim, can I take a guess that something that is restorative to you is the control of your time? Is that it? To go, “I want to do a thing, and now I’m doing the thing, and I was able to do it, and I had no pushback, and it’s done.” Is that exciting for you?

Jim: Yeah. I love checking things off lists, so that’s totally accurate. Then all of those things are restorative to me. I loved waking up in the beginning of my day and saying, “All right. What do I get to do today? Oh, I get to go kayaking” or “I get to do yoga.” They didn’t feel like obligations. Left to my own devices, if I didn’t schedule it, I think, to use your language, Michael, I would drift into four weeks of “What the heck did I do during my sabbatical?” If I scheduled it, then I could look back and be like, “Wow! I kayaked 14 times” or “I took four baths.”

Nick: Okay. So, sabbaticals are awesome. We’ve established that. Now we have to talk about how. There are a couple of ways we can think about how. If you run your own company, how, in some ways, is an easier pitch, because you have some control, but also it might feel like it’s harder because you’re in charge, and how can you be gone for a month or two weeks or however long it is? Although I think, Michael, if I’m correct, we’re thinking sabbatical as longer than a vacation. Is that correct?

Michael: Right. Although for people who are not taking a vacation, that would be a great first step. If you’re used to taking one-week vacations, stretch yourself and do a two-week vacation. Then maybe the next year you do a three-week vacation. I’ve had clients who have approached it in that way.

Nick: So, let’s talk about the how. Jim, let’s start with you. You know, of course, that Michael has a sabbatical coming up, and this year (and we’ll talk about this a little bit), we have a three-month sabbatical for Michael coming up. Just as a first pass, I do want to say that I don’t have a Jim in my life (I do have an executive assistant who works a little bit), and I managed to take time off, so I don’t want people to think that having a Jim in your life is the only way to make this happen. We can talk about that a little bit. But as a first-pass idea, as keeper of Michael’s calendar, Jim, what are some things you start to do right away to help facilitate a successful sabbatical?

Jim: The first thing we do… And if you haven’t done this, if you’re trying to do a sabbatical this year and you haven’t planned it out yet, that’s totally fine. What we do is we know Michael is going to be taking a sabbatical for that year when I’m planning it in October. October 2020, when I was looking ahead for Michael’s calendar in 2021, I knew he was going to be taking a three-month sabbatical, so I already blocked those days out for June, July, and August. It makes it a lot simpler when we get requests or invitations to say, “Hey, Michael is going to be gone those months,” and then we don’t schedule anything. So, that’s the first step: just to block it out.

Michael: You kind of have to grab it well in advance too. I think part of the reason it works… Most people look at their calendar and go, “I’m just so busy.” Well, you’re probably busy for the next couple of months, but if you can get out far enough in front of it… That’s going to depend upon your profession. It’s going to depend upon how in demand you are, but that may take a year’s worth of planning. You have to grab that real estate on your calendar before somebody else does.

Nick: So you start planning this in October.

Jim: Yeah. I start planning the next year’s calendar in October. I start filling out Michael’s calendar around October, just with his big rocks. We use that analogy. The big rocks in first, and then from there we put the smaller pebbles in. This sabbatical is a big rock for Michael.

Nick: Michael, is there anything you do personally or think about or are you just, at this point in your career, able to sit back and let it happen for you?

Michael: No. One of the best things about any vacation or time away is the anticipation. In fact, I get almost more out of the anticipation than I get out of the experience. I mean, not entirely. It’s beginning to think about, for example, this year, taking two and a half, almost three months off, and thinking about what I’m going to be doing at that time. I’m giddy thinking about the opportunity to spend extended time learning the guitar, or whatever it is I’m going to do, you know, the books I’m going to read.

I was recently in Mexico for a week, and I started reading an incredible novel. I’m not quite finished with it because it’s 1,000 pages, but one of the things I realized was how much I enjoy reading fiction. For whatever reason, during my normal work life, I have a hard time carving that out for fiction, but I’m really looking forward to that and thinking through, “Okay. Which books do I want to read when I get on my sabbatical?”

So, that’s how I think about it: how I’m going to use that time. Like Jim said… And unlike Jim, I don’t have to calendar it, but if I don’t have projects, if I don’t have things I want to accomplish during my sabbatical, that’s when I’m going to be tempted to drift back into work. I don’t want to have that happen, so I have to be proactive and plan something else.

Nick: So, can we talk a little bit about communication externally? You have to be able to communicate… In my case, it’s clients. It could be partners. How do you prep everybody for…? They’re still at work. They’re still doing stuff. I don’t know if this is a Michael question or a Jim question, but how do we prepare people who are not you for the fact that you will not be there?

Jim: This is the biggest hack, I would say, that we use, and it’s a simple hack. Everybody knows it: the out-of-office reply. The way we do it is we have an out-of-office reply, and it’s a template. Michael and I have both used it. It says, “Hi. Thanks for your message. I am taking a sabbatical.” In Michael’s case, it’s going to be a three-month sabbatical from this date to this date.

Then we actually give a little rationale of why we’re taking a sabbatical, and we link a blog post of Michael’s of why he’s taking a sabbatical, just to maybe teach someone our philosophy a little bit. So we do that, and then… This is the cool thing. We do have a person… In my case, Jamie Hess, who’s Megan’s executive assistant, was my backup person, and I had her contact information. In Michael’s case, it would be me when he’s on sabbatical.

He’ll say, “If there’s anything urgent, here’s who to reach out to.” So, Michael would say, “Here’s Jim Kelly’s email address. However, this email is going to be archived. I’m not going to be checking email, and I don’t want to be tempted to check email, so all of these emails are going to be archived, so when I come back from my sabbatical I come back to a clean inbox.

If your question is urgent, please reach out to Jim. If your question is not urgent, please reach out to me again on this date when I’m back from my sabbatical.” That’s huge, because you come back to a clean inbox, and everything that needed to be handled has been handled by your backup person.

Nick: Oh my gosh.

Michael: Can I give a rationale for that too? This is why I originally came up with this. I would come back to hundreds of messages, which made me dread coming back, which made me question why I even left. So that wasn’t a good experience. Plus, as I started to work through my inbox, I found that 90 percent of the issues had already been resolved. You know, if people don’t get an answer pretty immediately, they figure out another course. They contact somebody else. They figure it out on their own, or whatever. So it was a total waste of my time, but I felt like I had to go through every single message.

So now what we do is just prep people that, “Hey, this is going to be archived. I’m not going to read your message. I’m not going to read it when I get back. I’m not reading it while I’m away on sabbatical, so if you need something done urgently, here’s the person to contact, and if you don’t, if you really need me to respond, then contact me after this date.” We’ve never had any pushback. Right, Jim?

Jim: No.

Michael: I’ve never had one single complaint.

Jim: I think probably people respect you more because of it.

Nick: I remember when I started taking time off, when I would come back… Or when I announce it to clients, they almost always go, “Man, what a life.” There is this, like, “Ooh!” like they’re jealous. They can’t believe it.

Let’s say you’re not the leader. This is probably a question for Michael. Let’s say you’re not the CEO of a company, but you’re like, “I’d love to take a sabbatical.” How might you approach this? How might you sell this concept to your manager, your CEO?

Michael: Well, the verb sell is the operative word, because you’re going to have to sell it to somebody, which, by the way, is a life skill, a life strategy, that everybody ought to know how to do. If you can sell your boss on your ideas, you’re going to be successful in your career. If you can’t, you’re probably going to be stuck. So, this is just one more opportunity to sell your boss on what’s in it for him or her for you to take a sabbatical, and that’s exactly how I would approach it.

We can link this in the show notes. I basically have a couple of articles on how to sell your boss. I don’t mean selling your boss to somebody else. I’m talking about selling your boss on an idea. I have a couple of articles on that. You have to start from the premise, “How does this benefit my employer? If I were to take 30 days off, what’s in it for them?” You might be prepared to negotiate what that would look like, but I would always, always, always… This is really the key to my success in selling anything: I always set it up as an experiment.

You might say to your boss, for example… Maybe you’ve never taken a two-week vacation, so you would start by saying, “Hey, I want to take a two-week vacation. Yes, all at once, two weeks contiguously,” or whatever the right word is. “Here’s why I think it will be of benefit to the company.” So start there. If the next year you want to take three weeks off, now at least you have the track record of the two weeks and what happened.

To get somebody back… Like, Jim came back from his sabbatical all restored and refreshed and rejuvenated and all of the other R words we can throw at it. He was ready to go, and his level of performance was higher as a result of that. So, that’s where I would start. Don’t feel like it’s an “all or nothing” thing. If you’re used to taking a week and you can take two weeks, that would be awesome…or 10 days, or whatever it is. Just incrementally keep bumping it up.

Nick: So, we should start to wrap this up. Hopefully, people have created space in their brains. I have to say… I’ve told this story before. It took me a long time of recording this show, sitting in a room with Michael and Megan, before I was like, “Oh, well, I can use the planner. That’s for me.” That took a long time. There’s an emotional block sometimes. Then the same thing with the sabbatical. I was like, “That’s not for me. That’s for the other achievers. That’s for these other fancy people.”

I’m hoping people listening can go, “Oh! That can be me. I just have to say it out loud. ‘I’m taking time off.’ And now let’s try to make it work.” Michael, you’re going from one to three months this year, which I’m sure was another similar move of… You had to say it out loud to manifest it. What are you going to do with this time? You mentioned you’re going to read some books. Anything else?

Michael: Well, I’m seriously into fishing, and I’m planning to do a ton of fishing this summer. We happen to have a lake house with a dock and with a boat, and I’m planning to spend a lot of time on the water. Yeah, that and guitar lessons and reading a lot of novels and a little bit of travel. We have some trips we’re going to take. We’re not going away for three months.

One of the things… As it turns out, we love our home. It’s a little bit of stress or pressure to be on the road, especially if you’re changing hotels a lot or like we were moving through Europe at a different location almost every night. That’s a different kind of time off, and we just like the rest of being in our own places.

Nick: I guess the question I probably should have asked first was “Why?” Why are we going to three months?

Michael: Because I can. Well, seriously, one of the reasons was that, as you all know and most of our listeners know, I made Megan the CEO of the company in January of this year, 2021, and I felt like, first of all, I could take this time off, but this is one of the benefits I didn’t mention when you asked. It probably should have been the top one.

It’s really good for the business when the business is not dependent upon the business owner. We could spend an entire episode on that. Things happen, unexpected things, where people are taken out, whether it’s a paternity leave or a maternity leave or an illness or somebody just wants to move into a different role of being an owner not an operator.

Regardless of what it is, you want a business that’s not dependent upon you. I would say, even if you’re not the business owner, even if you’re leading a department, or whatever, if the division, if that department is so dependent upon you that you can’t step away, honestly, I don’t think you’re doing a very good job as a leader. You want that to be able to fly without you so that if something happens, the business isn’t interrupted.

Nick: All right. We have to call it there. You’re going to be gone.

Michael: I’m going to be gone.

Nick: You’re taking a podcast sabbatical too.

Michael: I have a couple of weeks and I’m history.

Nick: I don’t know if there are last words. Jim, Michael, any last words? Any encouragement for people at home to make this happen?

Jim: If you’ve never taken a sabbatical, definitely try to take one. It’s amazing. Just being able to experience it last year, I came back a better worker, a better husband and father, I think, and that’s what we all hope to be. We just want to be better people. This time away really does that. You’re able to get a different perspective than you are when you’re just doing everything normally that you would do from 9:00 to 5:00, or 9:00 to 3:00 in our case. You’re able to really take a look at your life in general, as well as restore.

So definitely try. If you’re hesitant about it, take that one week or take those two weeks, and then go from there. Michael has experience with encouraging his doctor, who never thought she could take a week off or two weeks off, and now she’s taking a month sabbatical as well. So, treat it as an experiment. What would have to be possible for you to take a sabbatical this year?

Michael: The thing I would say is… I can remember several years ago (maybe it was more than a decade now) when I first read Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek, which absolutely rocked my world. One of the things he says in that book is that the typical model is you work like crazy, you don’t take any vacations, you work really hard, and then someday you retire, and then you get that time away you weren’t able to take when you were working so hard.

One of the things he proposes in the book (this is kind of the big idea of the book)… Why not take sort of mini retirements along the way instead of waiting until you’re too old and decrepit to enjoy it? Start taking those vacations and those sabbaticals now. All it takes is a little planning.

Honestly, I think this is something almost everybody can do. Certainly, if you’re a business owner, you absolutely can do this, but almost everybody else could do it too with enough planning and foresight. So, I just think it’s worth doing. Trust me. Your quality of life, your enjoyment of life, will be exponentially better if you do this.

Nick: All right. Thank you, Michael and Jim. I don’t want to take this job from you, Michael. You’re going to be gone for a little bit from the podcast, so why don’t you close it up one last time for now.

Michael: No, I think you should do it. I thought that’s where you were going with this. You were going to close it up.

Nick: No. I don’t know how to say words. Well, here. Something like this. Jim, Michael, thank you so much for joining us talking about sabbaticals. Hopefully our listeners get some great insight and advice and go try it. We’re going to be off for the next month. We’ll be playing replays, but we’ll be back with Megan and some wonderful guests in July. So, until then, lead to win. There you go.

Michael: You did it.

Nick: I did it.

Michael: Right there is my backup plan.