The Value of a Sabbatical

Having a break can be a good thing. It gives you time to rest, to think, to explore. You can get things done or you can do nothing at all. You can focus on your closest circle or you can cast your net wide and do and the “we should catch up’s” that you never had time for before.

Coming out the other side of a four month break after finishing a six year role as the CEO of the Planning Institute of Australia, I feel like I’ve done a bit of it all. I’ve packed up a house, car and a child to relocate across the country. I’ve unpacked a mountain of boxes to combine two households and worked with my partner to blend our families and grow our relationship. I’ve focused on nurturing and supporting my son transition to a new school in a different state, along with encouraging him in a range of extra curricular activities. I’ve volunteered in the school community and have been getting to know my neighbours and local businesses - especially the many local cafes.

I’ve been exploring my new city and got out in the nature in the surrounding region. I’ve been walking and riding my bike in my neighbourhood, taking the time to slow down my old pace of life and get to know my new environment. I’ve reconnected with old friends and started to make new ones. I’ve read a couple of books, although not anywhere near as many as I’d hoped. I’ve dabbled with exercise, and while not a gym junkie, I am leading a more active life than before.

I’ve had time to think and reflected on my life and career journey so far. I’ve thought about what I’ve learnt; what I’m proud of; things I could of done better or differently; what I enjoyed; and, what I didn’t.

And so now it’s time for the break to end and for the next phase of life to begin. I’m hoping it’s one that I’m able to bring within me the best of what I’ve gained in the past, to combine with the great potential of the future. New opportunities and challenges. Exciting new beginnings. I’m ready.

Originally published on LinkedIn 11 May 2017

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