Refresh, Recalibrate, Reemerge! This might be a revolutionary hypothesis, but hear me out. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our mental health and overall well-being is to take a break and step away from our careers. Wwhhaattt?
It’s true. If you’re anything like me – a high-performer who doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘slow down’ and who’s often so busy you forget to eat lunch – I’m talking to you. We pack our schedules so full to the brim with work, family, volunteer, and extracurricular activities that there’s no time to hit the brakes. But why?
Why do we work so hard and burn ourselves out only to find that our cup is empty? We have no time or energy left for reflection, strategizing, innovating, dreaming, unless we make the time for it. And you can do that by taking a purpose-full pause.
What Is a Purpose-Full Pause?
Have you ever thought about intentionally taking a step back from your career for a limited amount of time? The goal of the time away might be to refocus your energy on discovering who you are, fulfilling your potential, or doing what you value most, and then deciding when the time is right to return.
Taking a career break is an opportunity to reflect, recharge, and redirect your career – and the broader scope of your life. It gives you the space to gain a different perspective and time to focus on your goals, explore new opportunities, and build skills and knowledge. It could take a week, a month, or a year, depending on your individual needs.
Purpose-Full Case Studies
Lisa: (That’s me!) In 2021, my company was offering a voluntary severance package. Although I loved my role, team, and the company, my spirit yearned for change, so I took the leap.
During a month of rest and reflection, I reimagined what my life could be. I knew I needed work that aligned with my strengths, passions, and purpose. The result? I founded Ascentim, my award-winning coaching practice. I shed my corporate executive identity and reemerged as an entrepreneur and certified coach, achieving results that I never imagined. This was only made possible by hitting pause on what was, by all accounts, a successful career.
Renee: One of my clients recently made what she called one of the hardest yet exciting decisions of her life to resign from her job. She was brave enough to realize that she needed time to rest, recalibrate, and refresh. She’s determined to experience a season of intentional living as the next chapter of her life plays out. When you ask what’s next for her, Renee will tell you honestly that she’s not sure – and she’s totally okay with that!
Jarrett: A former colleague, Jarrett recently embarked on her career break. She was eager to unwind and use the time to refresh while making the most of it. She’s partaking in a grand experiment to find out what work/life balance looks like when you take work out of the equation. (To learn more about what a career break looks like, check out this Forbes article.)
Signs You Need a Purpose-Full Pause
Here are a few signs that you need a career break:
- You hate Mondays! You dread going into the office and have to drag yourself out of bed on workdays. You might even feel resentment toward your boss or peers.
- Can’t focus on the job. You’re easily distracted because you’d rather do anything else. Missing your mojo. A lack of motivation or disinterest in projects that used to excite you might mean it’s time to move on.
- Feeling unwell. Stress, headaches, and frequent colds could all be signs that the current work situation negatively impacts your health.
Making the Most of It
Ha e you decided a career pause is exactly what you need? Great! Now let’s discuss how to use that newfound time and freedom wisely. Here are 3 steps to make the most of your break:
#1 – Refresh: Give yourself some space and grace to decompress. You’ve been building a career for forever. Here’s your chance to instead do your favorite things with your favorite people. List all the things that work commitments didn’t allow you to do – then do them! Just don’t overbook yourself. Allow plenty of breaks in your day to BE rather than DO.
#2 – Recalibrate: Now that you’re feeling refreshed, you can start to recalibrate. That means setting new standards to align your livelihood with your values. Ask some probing questions. What changes do I need to make to live the life I desire? Who would I become if I were living true to myself and my purpose? Recalibration requires deep reflection on what you really want out of your career. If you need some help recalibrating, a coach (call me!) can guide you through envisioning the possibilities, gaining clarity on what you desire, and creating an action plan to get it.
#3 – Reemerge – Do you hear Diana Ross singing “I’m coming out”? It’s time for the refreshed and recalibrated you to emerge from your purpose-full pause with… well, purpose. Whether you return to your former career, start a new business, or go in a different direction entirely, you’ve hopefully found passion, a sense of peace, and a renewed focus. Now that you’ve paused and gained a new perspective on your goals, go forth with confidence and strength!
What If I Can’t Take a Full Pause?
Not everyone can afford to take weeks or months off from work. However, you can take short, intentional pauses throughout the day by creating white space. White space is the gaps in your calendar between planned tasks and meetings. Try blocking out time on your calendar, like a 15-minute buffer before and after every meeting. Then use your white space in a #purpose-full way.
That might be something that relaxes you. Walk, meditate, write, listen to music, or do nothing at all. You can also use this time to reimagine your life, noting experiences you wish for, goals you long to reach, and the values you want to embrace as your career evolves. Do everything you’d like to do during a purpose-full pause but in bite sizes!
Let’s Pause Here
Taking a break from your career can be intimidating, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. My clients who have done it appreciate the time to reflect, rest, and explore new possibilities. With the right mindset, you can use this opportunity to return from your break with a fresh perspective, a different outlook, and a renewed sense of purpose. And if you need help to make the most of your purpose-full pause, let’s talk.