Adventure called sabbatical…

A lot of friends and colleagues who liked my previous article wanted me to write more about my sabbatical experience. For many, the previous article gave glimpses of start of a journey but they wanted to know more. So, here I am, writing the follow-up article and honestly the pleasure is all mine.

I had been thinking about taking a break from work for a long time, I guess since December 2013. It is at that time I spoke to my wife about it and she was cool with it. But the fact is even though I wanted it I did not have enough courage to act on it. I must tell you, I had a few passionate and emotional discussions with my close friends about this topic but went back to my comfort zone to continue with my routine. There were times when I was totally frustrated at work, sad and emotional, even broke down when it became too much but I kept dealing with it in my own ways. There was an impact on my health as well, I suffered from severe eye strain, frequent headaches and did not feel very good.

Slowly, I started taking action along the way. I was desperate to get professional help. I Googled for Life Coach and found a few profiles. Went through those and I found my Life Coach Milind. I started working with him on my goals and challenges.My goal was simple (on paper) – find a way to start doing what I love doing.

Needless to say there were many challenges starting with my own beliefs, comfort zone and old habits. I was extremely fortunate that my family was super supportive including my parents. I want to share this with you – one evening I sat down with my parents and told them that I want to quit my job and start doing something that I love to do, something in Training area. Frankly, I was expecting a lot of questions, words of caution and dose of wisdom. But both my Mom and Dad just simply said “Great. All the best.”  I was shocked and asked them what made them believe that I am doing the right thing. What they said will remain the best compliment of my life. They said, “So far you have done very well in your life so we are sure whatever you will do in future you will do well. And we are sure you have taken this decision after giving a good thought. Go ahead, we are with you.” I can’t explain what a relief it was for me and such a great motivation.

Then I requested my Manager for a long leave and he was considerate enough to grant me that.

My wife was my continuous support and sounding board throughout this time. I can’t thank her enough for that. My Life Coach Milind was another big pillar of support for me. He kept me on track, in action and always optimistic. He shared his own journey and it was inspiring all the way. He used to often quote

Doing what you love is not necessarily a recipe for an EASIER life,

it’s a recipe for a more INTERESTING life.

My son, 3 years old,  played a huge part in making my sabbatical thoroughly enjoyable. He was the happiest person on the planet to have me at home all the time. On one occasion I heard him telling somebody, “my Baba (father in Marathi) does not go to office anymore and always at home.” and then some of the days he used to ask me to get ready and go to office.  :-)

It took me a few days to adjust to the sabbatical state. What I mean is, no emails to check, no long calls, no immersion into the laptop and spreadsheets. Yes, I did miss the lunch gossip and tea breaks :-)

You won’t believe but I kept checking my office emails for almost a month before my ID was disabled as per the policy. It was a huge relief!

During my early days of the sabbatical, neighbors used to raise their eyebrows when they saw me at home all the time. The typical question, “Hey, no office today?”. First few days I lied to them saying “Working from home”.  Then after a couple of weeks I gathered enough courage to tell people the truth that I have taken long leave. Now the next question, “What are you going to do with your long leave?” I used to say, “Relax!”. It was a lot of fun.

During this time, I enrolled myself into few a Training programs, learned new skills, met new people and came to know many new things about the world around me. I attended a few Transformation programs which helped me see my way of being, thinking, beliefs and life overall in a new light.

In nutshell, six months of sabbatical was an experience of a life time and I won’t trade it for six months salary :-)

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