Thriving On Sabbatical


by Edel Harris

11th April 2019

I had the very good fortune to take a sabbatical at the beginning of the year. Six weeks away from my busy job as CEO of Cornerstone, one of Scotland's largest charities and providers of social care across the country.

To take a holiday is one thing, but to be able to go to the other side of the world for 6 weeks and to completely switch off from the day to day stresses of work was an opportunity I will always be grateful for.

A few things needed to be in place before I left.

I have a talented, competent Leadership Team all of whom were supportive of me taking some time out. I had no worries about leaving them 'in charge' while I was away and I had the utmost confidence in their decision-making abilities. They didn't need to think 'What would Edel do?' They simply had to think 'What is the best thing to do?'

The leadership team had done all the hard work.

I timed my sabbatical to avoid Board meetings and the only work-related issue that I felt uncomfortable about leaving totally behind was the budget for the 2019/20 financial year. However, much to my delight when the CFO sent through the draft budget all I had to do was look over it – the leadership team had done all the hard work.

I realised while I was away what well-being really is. Sleeping well, fresh air and sunshine, swimming and walking, relaxing and reading books and special time spent with the person I love. It isn't until you step away completely that you realise how much of your time you spend at work and when not physically 'at work' how much time you spend thinking about work. I slowed down and took the time to embrace all the adventures we were having; appreciating every moment of every day.

I realised while I was away what well-being really is.

So, if you are thinking about a sabbatical don't leave it too late. It is a refreshingly wonderful thing to do and believe it or not your business will survive without you – in fact it may even thrive.

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