Do you remember the old Etch-A-Sketch, or am I just a boomer? For those of you that don’t, it was a pretty amazing toy back in the good old days (look at that, I am a boomer), being made up of a book-sized board and filled with an aluminium powder that you could create sketches on.
By using two knobs, each controlling horizontal and vertical movements to lay out your masterpiece, you were open to a realm of possibilities (if you could actually figure out how to use the thing properly) and by shaking it, the image would clear away – leaving you with a blank screen, ready to start the next new idea.This piece is not about that killer toy, but rather about going through the process of design and creation; only to clear it up and start again with something fresh, new and exciting.
Reincarnate Yourself While You’re Still Alive
Around 2012, I wrote one of my first blog posts about a pretty dark and confusing time in my life. After seventeen years as a business owner, I threw in the towel and walked away from the years of torment, tears and trepidation that I was facing and made the difficult decision of starting over.
By trying numerous activities and finding solace in distractions, I was taught the valuable lesson of reinvention and coming to terms with who I am and what it is that I want from this world.
I was able to find purpose, a new-found passion for people, life and business; I was able to find myself.
This clarity and direction dawned on me in a profound way, proving that taking a break is often necessary in rewiring and refreshing the repetitive and monotonous nature that life can sometimes dish out at you. In taking the time to trade in years of hard work and sacrifice for a few justifiable moments of simplicity and stupidity – you’ll come to find how rewarding a trade-off like that can actually be.
And this isn’t a new or foreign concept, as there’s a term for people who do this on an ongoing basis – generally university lecturers and a few other fields of work will recommend taking time-off for yourself after every seven years of hard grind; the sabbatical.
After seven years of driving down hard on your work, taking a sabbatical is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I can’t tell you that it won’t be filled with a bout of initial boredom, anxiety and hints of insanity, as a vacation for a full 12 months can certainly be a major shift in gear, especially after forming routines, rituals and a certain rhythm; but it is extremely rewarding to your mind, soul and body.
In taking this time off, you’re going through a sort of pseudo-metempsychosis (or reincarnation) of yourself – allowing a new creature to form within you that is filled with creativity, passion and the reignition of the dimming flame that had you driving yourself to those great heights for so long.
Tabula Rasa – The Clearing Of One’s Slate
In a wonderful Ted Talk by world-renowned graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister, there’s a huge amount of emphasis put on taking up to one entire year off after every 7-year run in order to give yourself that much-needed rejuvenation of the mind.
He talks about all of the beautiful insight, vision and invigoration that comes with taking such a necessary break from the constant and relentless effort that goes into working for many years on projects, deadlines and business growth.
The theory of tabula rasa says that we’re born with a clean slate and clear mind, without any innate abilities and that our environment etches our ideas, concepts, notions and abilities onto that slate. There are plenty of arguments against it, as language or talents can be argued to be innate, but if we take the concept and apply it to ourselves after every seven years; we are capable of doing some incredible things.
Similar to the Etch-A-Sketch, once you’ve spent a period of time constructing, creating and working hard to make a beautiful picture; shake it up, clear away all of that effort and see a new, bold and profound ambition come into play.
Adopt and embrace a clean slate, refresh yourself, clean up your act and either take a whole new direction in life, or go back to what you’ve been doing for so many years with a radical, new perspective and love for what you do.
Business owners and entrepreneurs who have been in the game for a long period of time can benefit greatly from doing this, as they can come back with a whole new vision and direction to take their business; perhaps creating a brand-new enterprise with the pent-up child-like wonder that they’ve been struck with.
I’ve taken a huge leap to get where I am today and if it wasn’t for me walking away and taking a much-needed break from the same cycle for so long, I might have ended up bitter and resentful – taking my frustrations out on the people around me.
Learning to embrace and engage in sudden change like that has rewarded me on a whole new level. I’ve become my own brand, adored by my clients and able to make the difference in people’s lives that I have always wanted to make. I’m happier than I have ever been.
Try it for yourself. Shed your skin and come out a better, bigger and stronger creature with a healthy, new appetite for the world and conquer it with a forked tongue. Especially if you’re like me and have put so many years of dedication, time and effort into working your ass off only to find yourself coming to a point of suffering.As a business coach, who’s been through hell and come back stronger than ever, I invite you to take my service into consideration and let me help you decide whether or not this is the perfect time to take a much-needed vacation.
I just need to check-in with the wife, but I’ll be glad to join you on your sabbatical:
Riding out into the sunset on over 1000cc of pure adrenaline, while the wind runs through my not-so-long and luscious locks of hair (a bald head equals more speed, BTW. Less resistance, or whatever).
Contact me, I’m cool with calls, emails, a face-to-face, or even a slow motorcycle race (boomer alert):
+2783 253 3339