April 1, 2016: Time to Launch (Part I of III)

My 90 days off is over. I actually hit the 90 day mark about a month ago. Which leads to a small confession. I gave myself an extension about halfway through my time off. I quickly realized how glorious it was to pull away from making any major decisions and just enjoy life for a while.

But I also knew that launching into a new career and starting a new chapter in my life would require some more time and planning. Time for decisions to be made and plans to be executed. Time to launch.

I have learned a ton about myself and life and much to share. But first off, I believe a recap of the last months is in order...

My 90 days off
I left my position in healthcare finance on a sunny Monday afternoon in early December. Although my departure was unexpected, I have always had a Plan B. And my Plan B was to take time off. Time to do nothing but enjoy my wonderful blessing of life.

Reflecting a bit last year, it was very apparent to me that my life had been full of the crazy train. Working through college to career to kids to promotions. All with only minimum breaks, if any at all. I have moved fast and hard my entire life.

My 90 days was a gift to myself. Will this 'break' add a 90 day delay to my future retirement? Possibly, but I chose the trade off. And it was a great choice.

Here's what I did over my 90 days off...
  • Traveled a total of 14,484 miles.
  • Visited 7 cities in 6 states.
  • Spent countless hours with family and friends, including having my father-in-law as our guest for a month and making two visits to my parents in Arizona (one with the grandkids and one with my husband).
  • Cheered on the Jays at 10 basketball games.
  • Visited with 55 business contacts in 48 meetings over coffee, lunch, or drinks.
  • Ran 281 miles.
  • Detoxed my body over 14 days.
  • Worked out 31 times with my trainer.
  • Read 11 books with a mix of fiction and non-fiction.
  • Wrote 29 blogs.
  • Spent 2 days developing my LifePlan (thanks to my great facilitator, Arlin Sorensen, and my husband as my supporting co-pilot).
  • Toured 3 not-for-profit entities and learned about their good works from their executive directors.
And I can't even begin to quantify the many laughs shared, the hours I was present for my family, time spent in my prayer room, and the many hours I had of restful sleep.

It is unbelievable how quickly one can adjust once off the hamster wheel. I would highly recommend to anyone to take time off for themselves. Listen. Learn. Live. That really sums it up.

You can pick up on what I did to listen and live based on the stats above. But as for what I learned, here are my main takeaways.
  • You can never compromise on your core values. Never. Not in any domain of your life. Sometimes people think exceptions can be made outside of their personal lives. Not true. If you compromise, you will not be happy. These are my core values to the right. I challenge you to list your own and then ask yourself if you have conflicts with any of your domains (work, family, friends, community, faith, personal).
  • Just like core values, you have key relationships in your lives. These are the people who lift you up and give you the best, most honest advice. And the net can go very wide. I met with so many good people over the last few months. Each have filled a special place in my life. Taking the time to enjoy those closest to us, while taking in their thoughts and observations, is time well spent. Adversely, steer clear of those who bring you down. Life is too short and they serve no purpose. I carefully chose each interaction I had over my 90 days with no 'bottom feeders'. It was unbelievable how much richer your life can be without the anchors who pull you down.
  • Self-awareness and perspective are the greatest tools for defining your future. They take a lot of time, energy, and reflection, but are well worth the investment. Great perspective is an asset difficult to quantify, but worth its weight in gold.

(Parts II and III to follow is separate blog posts...)


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