Monday, March 3, 2014

Lessons From My 6 Week Sabbatical

For 6 weeks after I completed my post as a rehab director, I took a much needed sabbatical to refocus myself and gear up for the next leg of life's journey. There have been many lessons learned; both professional, and, personal. These following is a collection - in no specific order, nor grouping - of the lessons I've learned from taking a 6 week break from professional working life.

Lessons From My 6 Week Sabbatical
  • Time is the only currency that is held a constant equalizer in the human experience. We are given time, we spend our time, and we never get it back.
  • My family needs my availability in depth and frequency; dedicated weekends aren't always enough.
  • Make your work empower your living; living to empower your work - that may take you down a road of emptiness.
  • I *really* needed to spend more time with my family; work consumed me far more than I realized. Trying to take on directorship, MBA program, and a growing family was too much for me. You must pick your priorities - there is always later for those other goals in life.
  • The money is out there; there are those who work 18 hours a day... others work 8. Certain jobs pay more, certain jobs pay less. Those jobs that "make a lot of money" may not make so much on the hourly rate.
  • For me, lifestyle is everything. Sure, the earning potential is available should one pursue it, but, look at what it may cost you. Those best years of your life that you could be spending in the enjoyment of wonderful experiences... how enjoyable will such experiences be later? What's worse... what if you never get the chance to enjoy them?
  • A career should be aimed on how you want to spend your life. If you are rewarded by the achievement, the promotion, the money, and the grind... by all means, work 80-100 hours a week!
  • Most company jobs pay poorly and offer benefits, or, pay well and offer poor benefits. The jobs that pay well tend to be less stable. The jobs that offer excellent benefits tend to be more stable. However, neither of those jobs promise to be rewarding. When you seek a job, be sure you identify that x-factor... the elements which will keep you engaged in your work.
  • Time is too precious to be devoted to the dollar; devote it to meaningful pursuits in matters which impact the lives of others.
  • Live life like you're on vacation!
  • Take your time to enjoy the simpler things.
  • Take the time to enjoy things that are "free."
  • Take time to sip coffee slowly.
  • Enjoy the local cuisines - explore - try new things.
  • Nature is a beautiful thing. Take a walk on the weekend.
  • Star Wars Wisdom - Savor "the moment":
    • Obi-Wan: But Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future.
    • Qui-Gon Jinn: But not at the expense of the moment.
  • Disneyland is NOT too expensive; it is only "expensive" if you are measuring the worth by the number of rides you go on, crammed in a very stressful window of time.
  • I really love coffee! Has anyone tried Vietnamese style iced Espresso Coffee? Amazing! (typically available at your local Pho shop)
  • Source pic linked.
  • Planet Earth has some really amazing captures; my favorite were the water based ones.
  • I need to make more time for my hobbies.
  • Have you ever just sat down on a bench at Disneyland? Just sit there on Main Street. Grab a coffee or tea. Just sit. You'll see the magic.
  • I turned out to be quite a good consultant!
  • I'm a good teacher, and, hope to get into formal teaching in some respect in the future - whether it be professorship, or, teaching via continuing education or a related outlet.
  • I have a passion for problem solving; it's something I'm naturally good at - it's something that I find fulfilling. Fulfillment is important. I need to continue to focus on that aspect of life.
  • When I reflect on all the wisdom I've gathered from patient/client encounters, I always get the feedback consistent with my studies in psychology; when people have thanksgivings and/or regrets at the full of their lives, they do not seem to consider the physical. It's never about the money, the cars, the houses, the land, the properties, watches, jewelry, etc. Their hearts long for the people, the experiences, the chances they never got to take - or - never had the braves to take.
  • Invest in people.
  • Take risks!
  • Have fun!
  • Be generous with your mind, and, your heart.
  • Make your path one that is filled with loving footprints left in the lives of others.
Some Closing Thoughts:
My lovely and beautiful wife, Christina, and I took our son, Nathan, to Disneyland an uncountable number of times during these 6 weeks - noted, he was in the 6-7 month age range at the time. He was a champ! There was much driving, lots of stroller and Ergo carrier time. There was turkey legs, chicken this, chicken that... fried chicken, ice creams, sodas, pastas... I mean, we ate a LOT. We also went out for breakfasts, took local mini-hiking trails, took pictures around town... we really took it slow. It was life like we were retired... And, you know what? It was awesome.

It was a stark contrast of what I have been doing in my professional career. From a professional standpoint, I've been nothing but a high speed bullet train on the express line to "success." I had developed a strong track record of being promoted in the fasted time allotted to any position I've held. I reached a directorship in record time, and, demonstrated high octane performance in terms of running the business - stellar metrics were attained in such expediency for which my superiors thought it'd take me at least a year to do what I achieved in months. I had developed many business connections in a very short amount of time which were proving to also benefit my work. At the same window of time, I was hitting those MBA courses with ferocity - even achieving acknowledgment on the Dean's List. It was a path of true busyness. However, the bullet train, like any other train, made stops along the way. One of the stops in this direction was a very hard November of 2013. During this month, my family suffered. To be vulnerably honest, it came to a point that one couldn't pay me enough money to keep up the pace. It wasn't worth it. My time wasn't worth it. My family wasn't worth that price.

The health restored and even elevated to my family is more than enough confirmation that slowing down, taking a slightly different route, and, amending my philosophical operand was the best choice I ever could have made. Now, I do plan on finishing the MBA in marketing. The pursuit of the degree, and, especially the content along the way has been much of what has lead me to this point - a very happy point I might add. I've learned a LOT. I can't wait to learn more. More so, I can't wait to apply the art and science of business for the benefit of others. I aim to utilize my training and education in a unique way - to go beyond the clinical, the educational, and the financial. I hope that in the end, I am able to contribute to the lives of others in extraordinary ways through revolutionary innovative solutions.

We'll see! ;)


Final Thought - "The Story of the Fisherman and the Businessman":
While I've researched this story a little bit... it seems to have many versions - a popular version seems to be based out of Mexico - and - since I'm in San Diego, I'm going to give this version the "local nod." And... it goes a little something - like - this.... enjoy!

There was once a businessman vacationing south of the border. His path crossed a small Mexican village along the coast. There, he saw a fisherman in a small boat coming back to shore with a few tails of yellow fin tuna – fine catches.

Impressed by the catch, he asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch these fish?”

“Not long at all,” said the fisherman.

Further impressed, the businessman asked “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch even more fish?”

The fisherman replied, “This is more than enough to feed my whole family.”

Then, the businessman asked, “What do you do with the rest of your day?” 

The fisherman said, “Well, I usually sleep in late – wake up whenever I want. I play with my kids. Go out and fish when I need to. I take afternoon siestas (naps) with my wife. After dinner, my friends and I go out for some tequila – we play guitar, sing and dance into the night. I live a full and happy life.”


The business man thought for a moment. “Look. I have an MBA from Harvard. I can help you be more successful!”

“From now on, you could wake up early in the morning and spend more time fishing; try to catch as many fish as you can. You can sell the fish and make lots of money. Soon, you’ll need to buy a second boat and hire a crew – eventually you’ll have your own fishing fleet and can own your own processing plant. Your fish is fresh and naturally caught – you can set up your headquarters in a larger and nicer city… Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles! You could own your own business with branches all over the world!”

“What happens after that?” the fisherman asked.

The businessmen laughed, “Well! You’d be so successful, you could take your company public – into the Stock Exchange. You would make millions upon millions… live like a king in a mansion. You could buy anything you want and do everything you like!”

The fisherman asked, “Well, how long would that take?”

“Well… maybe 15… 20 years,” answered the businessman.

“And after 20 years, what would I do?” asked the fisherman.

The businessman said, “Then – you could retire… find a nice quite island or coastal village. You could go out and fish whenever you want - pursue your hobbies, spend time with your wife, enjoy your kids, and go out with your friends late into the night!”


2 comments:

  1. That six weeks must have flown by! I'm currently on week 3 of paternity leave and exhausted but so happy. It was supposed to be 2, then I made it 4, then 6, who knows maybe I'll make it 8. Not likely to lose my job! You can't get back the time away from family.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post and great insight about keeping life balanced! I have not tried Vietnamese Iced Coffee yet, but definitely will!

    ReplyDelete