Sabbatical Stories

Stephanie’s Sabbatical Helps Rebalance Her Work and Life

stephanie sabbatical rebalance work and life

Summary: When Stephanie’s long-awaited sabbatical comes, it brings her the opportunity to rebalance her work and life.



I first had a vision for a sabbatical when I was 38. My idea was to take my daughter and live abroad for my 40th year. The pandemic hit when I turned 40 and my business grew exponentially. I expanded my role, hired more people and doubled revenue. The vision for my sabbatical stayed in the back of my mind. When I was 41, I brought the idea back and began to talk to friends about taking a year off. Then the idea shrunk to 6 months.

I actively prepped for my sabbatical by looking for someone to run my company. The first person I found ended up leaving a month before she was supposed to take over. I modified my plan and took 6 weeks off over the course of the summer to see how systems would work without me there. Then I asked someone else to step in and she said yes.

The original sabbatical plan was pushed 5 years. I took my sabbatical when I was 42 and it lasted 4 months.

It took me about 2 weeks to unhook from my business and another 2 weeks to settle into not having to go to work.

Once I was fully detatched, I engaged in other studies: creative writing and spirituality. I meditated more and spent time in class, reading and writing. In my time outside of structured activities, I worked out and spent time outside with my dog, my loved ones, and my partner. I felt I relaxed on a deep level.

3 months into my sabbatical, I got engaged and began planning my wedding. I enjoyed this time because I could focus on my big life change and soaking it all in. When I came back, I kept the woman who was running the company in a COO role. She manages the team on the day to day now. I am free to spend more time doing other parts of the job, my job is more concise. Our business decreased while I was gone, but we are still profitable and successful.

I don’t know if I will push to grow the business again. I feel I have a different orientation to the business. More gratitude for it and also more relaxation around the different options that I have.

Activities you engaged in during your sabbatical:

  • I dedicated myself to weightlifting 3 times a week.
  • I took two creative writing classes.
  • I began working with an editor and submitted a piece for publication.
  • I spent time with my daughter over the holidays.
  • I got engaged to my partner and we traveled together.
  • I traveled to the East Coast to pursue further certification in a field of spiritual studies.
  • I read copious personal essays and a half dozen books.
  • I cooked for myself more.
  • I decluttered my house.
  • I spent time with family and friends.

How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)

16

Did HOW you work change at all, post-sabbatical?

Went from full time to part time in the same company, different role. As my own employer, I thought about how I could permanently transform my role.

Why do you think others should (or shouldn’t) take sabbaticals?

I believe my sabbatical was restorative on a deep level. Being in front line service with nonprofits during the sabbatical, I didn’t realize how maxed out I was. I began to feel like I was on auto-pilot and drained of motivation.

Taking a sabbatical reminded me that I have options. I have choices about how to structure the business and also how much I work in the business.

I found it particularly helpful to take the sabbatical around my relationship change. It helped me process the shift from single to engaged to be married. I also took time around the end of the year when my daughter was off school. In the end, a lot of relaxed family time was a result of the time off.

You can connect with Stephanie Sample here.

Interested to hear more from founders who took sabbaticals? Dice into Mary’s story.

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