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You want to take a break. No, you need a break.

But you don’t take one.

You’re worried you’ll be seen as irresponsible, unreliable, or selfish.  You keep saying, “Things will slow down in a couple of weeks and then I’ll schedule some time off.”

Two weeks go by.  Then two months.  And the tasks just keep coming.

When I said I wanted to be a writer, I did not mean a writer of to-do lists.

Sometimes I’m tempted to curl up with a cat and not get out of bed until I’m too hungry to lie there anymore (which, for those who don’t know me, is about 15 minutes).

Sometimes when I sigh particularly loudly and my daughter asks me what’s wrong, I don’t know what to tell her because actually, everything is freaking amazing in my life right now.

It’s just that, sometimes, I want to cry from exhaustion.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  People often tell me they feel so overwhelmed, they’re paralyzed.  They don’t have the emotional energy for dinner, much less career change.  The best they can muster is some down time in front of the TV or computer, but it’s not relaxing and strangely not satisfying.

The writer in me would like to give you 5 simple steps to solve your problem.  But let’s face it, ignorance is not the issue.

Nope, I’m not going to tell you what to do.  I’m going to do one better: I’m going to show you.  Even if it hurts.

Life is complicated (because we make it that way)

It’s not like I didn’t see this coming, though maybe not quite to this extent.

In my 2010 annual review, I said the theme for 2011 would be focus.  My approach can be summed up like this:

[blackbirdpie url=http://twitter.com/MindAdventure/status/85081673846366208]

Not only does this advice work, it works in spades!  Look at what I’ve accomplished in just six months:

  • Quit my job as a consultant, forcing myself to “sink or swim” with my business
  • Landed 5 guest posts on big name blogs I admire
  • Launched my very first product in career design, a pilot program that sold out in less than 24 hours
  • Developed an 8-week course for my career pilots, penning nearly 35,000 words in just two months while still maintaining my blog
  • Coached 12 awesome students through the framework I developed
  • Began preparations for a larger launch of the program, scheduled for September
  • Completed three professional development courses on entrepreneurship, online marketing, and speaking
  • Started taking voice lessons from premier coach Roger Love (something I’ve always wanted to do)

I thought I could just run off into the sunset with my passion and scream, “I’m never coming back!” (insert mildly manical laughing here)

Yeah, well.

All that stuff that others insist I do?  I can’t always make it go away.  When you sell a house, it involves a lot of boring paperwork and trips to the notary.  Want to move to London?  It’s a lifelong dream, sure, but it’s also a huge hassle (and the consulate doesn’t want to hear me whine about it).

And then, because I’m madly in love with my husband and we have a mutual agreement to support each other’s dreams no matter what, I told him it was okay to sail across the Atlantic for 30 days right before we move.

With all that, you’d think I’d be writing pithy, 20 minute blog posts so I can sell our cars and pack our bags.  But you know that saying: do it right or don’t do it at all?  Well…

A difficult (but deliberate) decision

Even when I’m crazy busy, I see parallels between ordinary life and our career needs everywhere.  This is what happens with obsession.

For example, I’ve been taking my daughter to swim lessons.  I wanted to get her private lessons because she tends to be cautious by nature, probably because her mother stumbled along behind her at a young age yelling, “Careful, careful!”

I worried group lessons would provide her with a mechanism for hanging back behind the crowd and she wouldn’t get enough time in the water.

And that’s exactly what she did, except it wasn’t a bad thing.  Hanging back actually helped her move forward, and I suspect it can work for you too.

If my daughter had been one-on-one with an instructor who wanted to dunk her under the water on the first day, I think the experience would have been so scary she might have refused to go back.

But after watching 10 other little kids go under and survive, she was at least willing to consider the idea, even though she was still scared.

So here’s my deal: I’m willing to be the first to dive into a much needed break, but I really want you to follow.  You can’t hang back too long.

It makes sense for me to go first anyway.  After all, I’m my own boss.  I can (in theory) take a vacation at any time. I can (in theory) re-prioritize or reschedule my deadlines.

Except I’m scared.

But I made the commitment to step up to my fears instead of stepping away from them, so there was only one way forward that made any sense.

I’m taking a break from blogging.

Not like I’m lining up a bunch of guest posts for you so the blog continues cranking out material.  The truth is that still takes quite a bit of work on my part to make that even halfway worthwhile.  I’m talking about a true sabbatical, where this is the last post on the blog until I return, bright and shiny, in September.

Okay, it’s not a true sabbatical because I’ll be moving overseas and gearing up for the launch of my No Regrets Career Academy in the Fall, but it will be a lot less hectic than it is now!

Part of me (and I’m sure some of my fellow bloggers) thinks this is crazy with a capital C.  There’s this idea that if you stop writing, the crowd will disperse and never, ever come back.

There’s no way of knowing in advance.  It’s a real risk.

But you know what?  I built this blog from nothing, and if I had to, I know I could do it again. (Though just for the record, I’d really prefer not to!)

It’s true for you too.  Absolute worst case scenario, your boss fires you or your business falls apart and you have to start over.

Not that it’s going to happen.  You know that.  But isn’t it funny that when you graduate from college, everyone assumes you’ll find your way just fine.  But later in life, re-starts are to be avoided at all costs.  Apparently the only time we’re capable of starting from scratch is when we’re least prepared and least connected.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I hope you’ll be bold enough to join me in taking a break.

Maybe not for two months.  Maybe just for two days.  But I urge you to make it at least one day longer than you think you can afford, just to prove to yourself that you can.

Fight the fear, vote for freedom

In the U.S. we just celebrated Independence Day, and I’m not above hijacking a holiday for my own purposes.

(As a side note, I’ve been hijacking this particular holiday a long time. The 4th of July was known as Kid’s Day in my family, which resulted in a card, some candy, but oddly enough, not a lot independence.  I’m still trying.)

Look, this isn’t easy.  I hate admitting that I need a break.  After 20 years in the military, I’ve pretty much trained myself to get up and keep fighting for the goal, no matter how tired I am.

There’s no whining in war.

But that’s just it–there’s no war on for most of us and I wish we’d quit acting like everything is an emergency.

Lisa Johnson recently asked on Twitter for tips or tricks for dealing with being overwhelmed.  And I was able to respond (with a completely straight face): take a break.

What’s holding you back is you.  Tell yourself it’s okay. Remind yourself that the pyramids weren’t built in a day or even a long weekend.

Let’s stop trying to be superheroes.  Here’s how you can step away from the to-do list and encourage others to do the same:

  1. Fight the fear.  Vocalize the fear (in the comments if you’re really brave) and you’ll find it has far less power.  What are you really afraid of?  Now pay it forward by sending this post to one person who you think needs a break.  Tell them it’s okay.  Even better, take the plunge first and lead the way.  Want to make a donation to my sanity?  You can subscribe, letting me know you’ll be here when I get back. (Gulp!)
  2. Vote for freedom. Commit to a date and time for yourself.  Let the community hold you accountable.  Be specific.  When’s that vacation and what will you do with the time?  Did you ask for more time off than you thought you could afford?

Oh crap.  I think I just told you what to do.

Well, here goes nothing.  Now who’s going with me?

(Seriously, I want you to be here when I return because when I do, I’m going to bring it.  In addition to packing and unpacking boxes, I’m preparing an entire mini-course on career design that I’m going to give away for FREE.  It’s something many of you have asked me for, especially those who aren’t in a financial position to pay for career advice.  So if you haven’t subscribed, just do it. We’ll both be happier as a result.)

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106 Responses to When Wonder Woman Isn’t Feeling So Wonderful

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am
    • Sadya
    • Said...

    And somehow I’m the first person to post on this blog post. Good thing you’re taking the break. Here’s the thing and i think its with women only – we feel guilty about taking time out for ourselves. Its like somehow within our psyche that notion of superwoman is deeply rooted. Sure we say that’s ridiculous, ‘you cant really do it all at once’ but I guess secretly we are being smug and saying to ourselves ‘but i can’.

    What would the point of Everydaybright be unless of course you took this break to make each day of yours bright.
    Have a great time, we’ll be right here.

    • I love that this post drew you out of hiding! :)

      You know, it’s funny. Women are more likely to feel guilt about taking time for ourselves, but we’re also more willing to admit when we’re overwhelmed. So from the outside, this seems like more of a problem for women, but I think men are just as overwhelmed these days as women. They just don’t talk about it as openly!

      But you hit the nail on the head, as always, Sadya. Leading by example is the centerpiece of Everyday Bright. It’s one of the things I love about blogging in fact–it makes me a better person in so many ways. Thanks for everything–great comments, great support, and always being there. I appreciate it!

  1. Hi Jen,
    I love it when women listen to their inner voice. Sometimes we get wishy washy about how we really feel. That usually leads to burnout.

    Best wishes for an amazing summer. See you in September ….
    Melissa Gorzelanczyk

    • Thanks, Melissa. The inner voice always gets its way. You either listen or it finds a way to make you listen. I opted for bravery. The great thing is, I should have more time for reading other people’s blogs, yours included. So maybe see you soon than you think!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 9:17 am
    • Lindsay
    • Said...

    I think this is FABULOUS. And I’ll be here when you come back in September! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites and I respect your decision to take some time off. Enjoy your summer!

    • Thanks, Lindsay. Seriously, that just makes my day, if not my whole summer.

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 9:50 am
    • Stephanie
    • Said...

    Thank you for your honesty about what you are doing and how vulnerable it makes you feel. As you say, we need more women to allow themselves to take a break. Maybe if we all gave ourselves a break from being Super Over Achiever Women (to impress whom?) we’d all be more happy, peaceful, fewer heart attacks, (and less backstabbing to each other? ;) Since I personally believe women rule the world anyway (as mothers, wives and/or Hillaries), I imagine what change we could effect with a movement to slow down ourselves (children, husbands) and thus the ever faster and impossible pace of society.

    • I’m trying to find a happy balance between Super Over Achiever Woman (which I do believe is in my genes), and completely relaxed woman, if that’s even possible for me. The thing is, when you love your work, it’s sooo easy to cross that line. It happens without even realizing it. So I actually like the idea of periods of intensity followed by “mandated” (by me, of course) periods of rest. It’s quite possible I’ll make this an annual thing, so I can see what this feels like when I’m not moving and launching a new product! LOL

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 9:53 am
    • Stacey
    • Said...

    I only have a moment (meeting husband for an afternoon date – my version of taking a break :-) ), but I want to chime in immediately and say that, for sure, I will be here, ready to cheer, when you get back!!

    I am so moved and inspired by your post today and I can’t wait to hear about your summer adventures in September.

    Thanks again for everything!!

    • Thank you, Stacey! I’m so glad to have you here. That inspiration thing is totally mutual. :)

  2. great post

    • Thanks, Jonathan. Great to see you here. Hope you’ll be back!

  3. Such a well written & vital post! I just sent my husband away for 3 days so I could take a working vacation and beat back my overwhelm at my site doing so well by blazing through my to-do list without distractions. I am planning on taking a work-free vacation this summer too but honestly just being able to work without a 6 year old & toddler demanding my focus was just about the sexiest thing ever! I wish you the best of luck with your blog break (& moving adventures).

    • I so know what you mean! As an introvert, I LOVE alone time, but especially when I need to power through some work. My real secret is that not having hubby here for 30 days may be part of the reason I’ve been able to crank so hard. But shhhh! Don’t tell him!

      Thanks for the well wishes–see you in Sept!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 10:19 am
    • Meg
    • Said...

    Enjoy your summer break. I think it sounds like a great idea. You will come back and have energy and be rested. We all need to slow down sometimes we just don’t do it so I admire you for taking a step back and taking care of you! I just found your blog through skool of life but I will make sure I will be here when you come back and for now I can read through the archives. :)

    • Hi Meg,
      Any friend of Srini’s is a friend of mine! Thanks for subscribing–it means a lot. Would you believe I actually had a few people un-subscribe after reading this post??? I mean, how heartless can one be! It’s kinda like switching on your turn signal to change lanes and having the car behind you speed up so you can’t get in.

      Great to meet you and I look forward to many more conversations. :)

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 10:48 am
    • Barbara
    • Said...

    With everything you’re in the midst of at the moment I think this is very wise. I’ve taken a brake… meaning I’ve slowed things down a bit but not stopped completely. I’ve spent so much time writing I realized I’d abandoned my art and I really need to get back to that.
    I hope you’ll stop by Zeroto60andbeyond to say hi and tell me how you’re doing. You know I’ll be back.
    xob

    • Barbara,
      I will definitely stop by Zero to 60 and Beyond when I’m connected again on the other side. Can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more than spending some virtual time with you. :)

  4. I’m really glad you wrote this post. I’ve always felt that it’s necessary to take time to just relax and do nothing and I’ve seem to always catch resistance to that. I come from a family with a workaholic father and brother and they don’t take breaks, yet they’ll complain about not having enough time. While you may be making money, is that really worth it?

    If I remember correctly there’s an old saying that goes, “Remember to stop and smell the roses.” We do burnout physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and we need to take time to just rest, relax and do nothing. I’ve taken time away from working and now I’m ready to get back out there and do something again. Only this time, I’m choosing to follow my passions.

    • I agree, Tim. As a person with workaholic tendencies, I really do struggle. What helps me is to realize that I simply don’t do my best work when I’m tired and stressed out. It takes longer and the quality isn’t as high. I’m all in favor of using short deadlines to force yourself to do something hard, but if you want to do it right, sometimes slowing down is the right answer. And I really never want to get to the point where I’m writing medicore posts just to check a box. Why do that to your passion?

      Thanks for your comment and your support. I’ve really enjoyed our conversations here and on Twitter!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 11:24 am
    • Jennifer Gregg
    • Said...

    Hi Jen – Thank you for this post! I have to tell you – what a relief! Knowing how much you had going on and seeing you continue to crank it out day after day was making me feel like such a wimp in my own endeavors. :-) So thank you for setting a good example for the rest of us. Breaks are okay. Taking time for our sanity is okay. Wow – who knew?

    • Ahaha, that cracked me up, Jen! Thanks for a good laugh and for being one of the most successful, talented wimps I know!

  5. Jen- I know that overwhelmed feeling all too well, and I think your break sounds like a great idea. I’m sure most all of your readers will be here for you when you return. I know I will.

    • Thank you, Seth, for your wonderful support–not just here but Twitter as well. It really means a lot. See you soon!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 11:39 am
    • Sabine B.
    • Said...

    Hi Jen,
    I am impressed you will be the first one to dive – you are the one who sent out your Challenge Series to your blog followers and now you take several of them at once for yourself: I find this extraordinarily brave. Yes, it’s true: especially women say “I can do this and +100 other tasks …”, hardly ever admitting they need a break, much less going for one. Your writing has got me going, and I thank you a lot for challenging everybody, including yourself. Have a wonderful time even if it does feel scary right now – your gut feeling will never be wrong on you. And you can be sure: I’ll be looking forward to joining your program in September.
    Thanks again,
    Sabine

    • Sabine,
      That’s the wonder of blogging. You can’t, in good conscience, write about something without doing it yourself. And since this blog is all about courage, it inspires me to be a braver person all the time. The fact it insipires anyone else is just a huge bonus! LOL

      I’ll see you in Sept, both on the blog and hopefully in the No Regrets Career Academy. I’m having a blast polishing it up from the Pilot Program–I honestly can’t think of a single other thing I’m more proud of, outside my marriage and my daughter!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 11:49 am
    • Larry Warrenfeltz
    • Said...

    I’ll be here when you get back, Jen. I’ll join you in taking a break, too. (But I’m not sure it really counts if I’m taking a break from retirement.) We’re flying to Seattle later this month. That’s a challenge for a one-legged guy, but I look forward to figuring out how to navigate airports without resorting to the wheelchair pushers.

    • Larry,
      If ever there was a one-legged man who could maneuver the airport with grace, it’s you. And I think it’s totally ok to count taking a break from retirement. Many retirees I know work harder than I do!

  6. Oh yeah! Good for you! I decided to do this on January 1–take one full day a week off after working 100 hour weeks. It was a big deal. Now I gratefully take off two or three days a week with no problem. It powers me. So much so I declared it publicly and asked others to join as well via my website! So I’m with you girl. Take your sabbatical, do your big Thing, make your big move and come back with a bang! YES!

    • Susan,
      I love that! It really is true–you take the break and realize not only does the world NOT come crashing down, but everything you wanted to do is better and fresher. The sabbatical is surely one of the great ideas from science. So yeah, I’m getting really psyched about it!

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm
    • Kerilyn
    • Said...

    Hi there –

    LOVE your post today! From beginning to end, it spoke to me. Where you are is where I want to be and so I have yet MORE evidence that it’s possible and what I need to do to accomplish it (I mean you wrote out a list for goodness sakes! Quit your 9-5, Guest posts, 12 clients, etc…)

    Enjoy your Sabatical. I, for one, will be here when you get back. (Not quite where you are to need a break – unless you mean walk into my 9-5 tomorrow and resign, i’m working on that.)

    You are appreciating the flow of your life.. Sounds like a GREAT way to live!!!

    Good luck on your move!

    *aka @thisdreamergirl on twitter

    • Kerilyn
      At least you have the goal. That truly is the first step. Then start making a plan, a real plan on paper, on what needs to happen to get there. It’s always easier than you think. I’ll show you in that free training, so stay tuned. And thanks!

  7. Sounds like a HOT plan Jen:) Enjoy the well deserved break and have fun chucking away all your belongings as you gear up for the big move. I know you’ll be back bigger and better when you’re ready:)

    • You did it first, Annabel. I am, indeed, having a great time chucking all my belongings. The movers came to see how many boxes they would need and couldn’t believe how empty our attic and garage are. Come to think of it, hubby may be a bit surprised too. LOL

  8. “When you’re getting run out of town, get in front and make it look like a parade.”

    Well, okay, you are not getting run out of town, you’re choosing to go! But I still like the quote.

    And I like your post. Very funny, really. You have let your great sense of humor really pop in this post.

    I am amazed by your list of accomplishments. I barely keep up with my blog, and I’m still trying to figure out how to write a book on top of that. Not whining–people manage to get lots more done than I do. Just observing.

    Anyway, sail off into your future, literally! We’ll see you when you reach the next shore.

    • I like that too, Galen. And while I’m not being run out of town, I am getting out of town, so it’s still apt. :)

      Thanks for noticing and appreciating the humor. That was a conscious decision too, though I didn’t write about it. Heavy topics are always easier when you get a dose of laughter with them, and the reason many of us don’t share our humor is that we’re afraid others won’t laugh along with us. You’ve definitely encouraged me!

  9. Kudos to you, Jen, for keeping your attention on your intention and saying “YES” to sanity and time to settle in and space for creativity. I preach retreats, and time off, and solitude and unplugging – and still catch myself saying (to quote you) “Things will slow down in a couple of weeks and then I’ll schedule some time off.” And I’m SO grateful when I do catch myself saying that, because then I can take action to schedule that much needed time.

    My own experience and that of my retreat clients shows that “intentional” time off (whether you call it a retreat or a sabbatical or a vacation, or just paring down to the essential projects) always pays off. Usually in peace of mind AND increased productivity.

    Best of luck to you with the move and your product launch. I just discovered you, but I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you in the fall.

    -Cheryl

    • Totally agree, Cheryl. We know, logically, that we’ll be better off with a break, but emotions aren’t logical. I’m honestly touched and relieved by the response to this post. I think, in fact, I’m going to follow in the spirit of this post and go to bed now. Whew! (See you in Sept!)

  10. Yes! I was cheering you on all through this post. I’m actually writing this from a vacation with my husband’s family in Alabama (we’re at their lake house, on Lake Martin). It’s the first vacation we’ve had together since last year. And I keep asking myself: Why did we not do this sooner?! We both need this!

    And your timing is perfect, too…this afternoon, I was getting down on myself for reading a ‘beach book’ instead of working on my next project. Somehow I forgot: on a vacation, it’s OKAY to take a break! Thank you for the much needed reminder. I hope you have an amazing month, Jen! :)

    • OMG, Caroline, you know how close you are to me right now? It’s only like 45 minutes away! Were I not in the middle of a moving maelstrom, I’d say come for another visit. But nah, you’re better off with your book anyway. Reading is one of the great joys in the world–but also one of the most fruitful things a writer can do. So don’t feel guilty for a minute. I always count reading as work. In fact, I plan to do a lot more of it too!

  11. Jen, I know you have a lot of female readers, but I think that this subject is one that ALL of us can relate to…I know I can.

    I, too, have started my own business after launching my book project this past year. It has been a whirlwind of learning (mostly the “what not to do” kind).

    I realized a week or two ago, that this process was running me…instead of me running the process.

    This realization forced me to sit down and do exactly what you’re doing–Stop. (Although, I didn’t have to fit a move across the ocean, etc., into my brief break).

    I did take the time to evaluate my goals with my business and really clarify my intentions. I’m still working on this and learning to become a business person of precision.

    I really look forward to when you continue to “bring it” (as you always have). I know this brief stint away will be exactly what you need. And you are much appreciated and loved by us, your readers.

    Always remember, though, that you are responsible only to yourself and your own intuition. We respect, honor and connect with that decision. In its own wonderful way, your example gives us a pattern to imitate as we each carve out our own path with everyday “brightness”! :)

    • Steve,
      Thanks so much for the reminder that feeling overwhelmed and tired is a gender-neutral problem! Launching a business, writing a book, going after any big goal and turning that into a reality is hard, hard work. And it involves real change–in ourselves and hopefully the world around us. Who wouldn’t be a bit tired?!

      Thanks for all the kind words. I deeply appreciate it. I feel lucky to know you and the other luminaries. You’ve all changed my life–the least I can do is return the favor. :)

    • On
    • July 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm
    • Janet
    • Said...

    Will you REALLY be taking a break? It sounds like you’ll be doing quite a bit behind the scenes ;) I’ll still be here when you get back. A good way to deal with overwhelm is to hire a VA/contract stuff out etc to other people with less work load (hint).. jk I love the picture you use in this pic. Have you ever tried it?? It’s really fun! I’ve done it a couple times.

    • LOL. It’s true, Janet, this isn’t really a vacation, but it is certainly a break from the pace I’ve been living. I spend A LOT of time writing my posts (I sincerely hope it shows!). Then there’s the process of spreading the word about said posts, which takes a chunk of time as well. So taking a break from blogging will give me the time and energy I need to make this move and create a product I’m truly proud to give to my readers.

      I do have assistants for my worst areas: design and transcripts and audio/video editing. And I have amazing mentors who are helping me move quickly, or more quickly than I would on my own, on packaging this much material. But I agree–I probably need a more permanent assistant, and if the launch goes well enough, I plan to hire one.

    • On
    • July 6, 2011 at 8:05 am
    • Cordelia
    • Said...

    I will so be here for you when you return, and will be waiting w/bated breath to find out what fantastic things you’ll have in store for us at that time

    Good for you for recognizing your needs and having the guts to do what needs to be done for YOU. We’ll miss you, but enjoy the heck out of your break!! (p.s. Moving overseas? = Jealousy.) :)

    • Cordelia,
      Thanks, dear Cordelia! I will enjoy the time and the move (once I get there of course). Maybe we should schedule a fun Everyday Bright meet-up, and make it an excuse for your own vacay? I’ve been wanting to host a live event, but was thinking I’d do it back in the states. Hmmm, maybe I’ve got that all wrong!

  12. Everyday Insights are the Bright(est) and that’s what you’ve demonstrated here. This a wonderful, purposeful, and perspective-building step you’re taking that will serve you and your clients going forward.

    Life requires us to sort things out everyday–priorities, goals, preferences, burdens, and joys. We can’t do everything we want to do every day, so we do what ensures our best life, even our survival.

    This is a terrific time for you. It will make you better and wiser. This is a time to feel more free. No one is going anywhere, we’re just sharing some quiet.

    So enjoy these times. Never look back. Stay committed…keep reaching. That’s what you do best! ~Dawn

    • Dawn,
      Really, you should get a bunch of credit for this. You were the one who said to me, “What would you advise a reader to do?” when I complained of all the tasks on my to-do list. So thanks for giving me the nudge I needed, and for helping me get the peace of mind to just do it. :)

      • It’s easier to ask a question than to let it move you. This is a big hurdle for you and the fact that you now lead by example is huge. It’s all about personal courage and a willingness to let go of some things while you seize others. The credit is all yours. Please know I’m always here for you…more than likely with another question!

        All the best, ~Dawn

  13. Jen – I’m so glad you had the courage to write this post and to take a break! It’s something I’ve realized I need to do as a business owner, as well. Everyone told us from the start that we’d need to schedule vacations – but we thought they were crazy. We thought for sure we’d find time to take off. Boy, were they right.

    Enjoy your much, much deserved break and good luck with your move. I’ll be spending your break catching up on old posts and will be waiting with a smile when you return!

    Cheers,
    Jill

    • Jill,
      I know. When I imagined my new career, I was thinking about working out everyday and long vacations in exotic places. Who knew that your passion for your work could take over so completely? It’s the better problem to have, but still one that has to be dealt with. You know, it’s a great point. I should have put a list of old posts to read in the meantime. That would have made a lot of sense! (Clearly, my brain needs a break to think better!)

      Many thanks, for being here today…and tomorrow (or technically, Sept).

    • On
    • July 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm
    • Benny
    • Said...

    Like you said, you’ve built this blog the way it is now and in September I know you’ll build it back up when you get back.

    I don’t think you’ll lose that much. You have so much great content in the archives that new people can stay busy with.

    You deserve a break from blogging to focus on more important things in your life.

    I know I’ll be back here!

    And I can’t believe some people would unsubscribe after reading this post?? It’s crazy but those aren’t the people you want to attract anyways.

    Look forward to your post in September that catches us up on what happened the last couple months. :)

    • Benny,
      I hope you’re right, but in the end, it was a risk I was willing to take. My dream is that it’s actually the reverse, that I’ll be able to tell people in Sept that I got a steady stream of new subscribers even while I’m gone, helping them to see how supportive people are when you put yourself out there. I dunno. The unsubscribes were a small heartbreak, but I also know not to take things personally.

      Thanks so much for your support–I can’t tell you how much it means to me!

  14. Jen,
    As I mentioned in my email, I love this post. It’s one of my favorites of yours, probably because aspects of it resonate with me.
    Hearing of someoneelse’s humanity helps the rest of us accept our humanity. ( Although I must say your 6 month list of accomplishments sounded super human. :))
    I glad that you’re doing something you always wanted to do – voice lessons. That is a dream of mine as well and that you made me remember it doesn’t have to remain a dream. Thank you. Hugs, Cherry

    “When I said I wanted to be a writer, I did not mean a writer of to-do lists.”

    • Cherry,
      There’s something wonderfully refreshing about putting your whole self out there. One of my criteria for a new career was one that I could be completely myself in. I’m so glad to have found it, and where it is appreciated.

      I highly recommend the voice lessons. The ones I’m taking are for both singing (which I love but have low confidence in), and speaking more broadly. The highlight was when Roger and I were going through some exercises and he said, “You’re a singer.” And I started to stammer that I had some experience, but was by no means “a singer.” And he said, “Yes you are. It would be very difficult to do these exercises if you weren’t a singer.” Knowing the caliber of his other clients, this alone made the entire expense worthwhile. Now I sing far more often. :)

        • On
        • July 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm
        • Cherry
        • Said...

        Your voice lesson story is wonderful and exciting. Congratulations. I’m looking forward to a singing video in the fall. Cherry

  15. Setting sail off into the sunset Jennifer? Thanks for making our every day bright with your transparency and wisdom – especially in this rendition. Appreciate it.

    • Peter,
      Well, I plan to cross that ocean by plane myself, no sails for me! LOL

      Thanks for the kind words. The sun will rise again on Everyday Bright. I promise!

  16. Great post Jennifer. I totally understand and you know, your post has given me permission to do what I feel is important right now, which is taking a break and enjoying my summer…yes, now that I am back to work my schedule and priorities have changed, again and instead of spending my weekends on my computer working on my novel, marketing my novel, blogging or commenting on other blogs, I too am taking a break.

    I spent most of my life (since the age of 7) as a ballet dancer. As an adult I take classes when I can but I remember one particular year when I decided to take a summer off. My teacher was not thrilled with my decision, but I knew I had reached a plateau and needed a rest. You know, when I returned in the fall I was a better dancer. My mind and body needed to stop for a bit and not focus so much on dancing.

    You have so much good stuff going on in your life and yet something has to give. Family won’t wait and moving to London sounds so exciting, yet it is a lot of work. Right now I have chosen to work, enjoy my family and relax on my beautiful deck that I filled with furniture, plants and flowers. If I don’t enjoy it now, then when?

    • Yay, Denise! I’m so glad to hear you’re taking a break as well. I hope it makes it a little easier to know you have a sister at rest. :)

      I think this will be just like your ballet experience. When you do return to your novel and blog, there will be more creativity and energy. Yes, enjoy your family and that deck now…as well as your work. You’ve earned it!

  17. Jennifer,

    Have you ever had one of those days when you’re so busy that you put off going to the bathroom until you have to go so badly that you’re doing a potty dance like a preschooler? Sorry if that’s a bit graphic, but I’ve admitted doing that to a number of women and they ALL knew exactly what I was talking about. How sad is that? How insane is it that we won’t even take five minutes to go to the bathroom? What hope is there that we’ll actually manage to take time to read a book, visit with a friend, go for a long walk, or – as you’re bravely doing – give ourselves permission to take a sabbatical?

    There is hope. There is hope when people like you set the example and show others how to do what feels impossible.
    Congrats to you for taking the plunge and Big Gratitude coming your way for sharing the process and the fear and the doing it anyway.

    I will DEFINITELY be here when you get back and can’t wait to see your bright & shiny new self in September.

    Good luck with all the changes and evolving. You’re gonna rock it!!
    :)
    XO

    • Jamie,
      LOL–YES, I have had one of those days! I love it when people speak the unspeakable. You should always feel at liberty here to speak the truth. :)

      I’m pleased as punch this post is resonating with so many people (with thanks to you), and I hope they actually do it! That’s the really tough part. We know we should, but we don’t. One way to do that is to create a mini-movement, making the uncommon common, so it’s not so scary. That’s my wish.

      Thanks for all the support and encouragement!

      • I’m tickled to introduce you to some of my friends. I knew you’d all get along! ;)

        “See” you soon!

  18. Wise decision. You won’t regret it.

    Especially after a major life change — moving across the ocean — we need to stop, take time and be present with what is in front of us.

    I just moved from Michigan to Western North Carolina a month ago, and I didn’t rush to get my computer set up and plugged in. I was offline for 10 days. The world didn’t stop or fall apart. And I was more refreshed, settled and willing to dive back in when I did reappear.

    Enjoy. I look forward to getting to know you better this fall. (I’m one of Jon’s students.)

    Cheers,
    Marsha

    • Great to meet you, Marsha. Any student of Jon’s is a friend of mine (I love people willing to invest in themselves!).

      I’ve seen more and more people embrace the idea of a digital sabbatical. I can see the value, and pretty soon I’ll experience it myself. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  19. Hard to find true authentic awesomeness now a days, which is why I’ll totally be here when you come back! Awesome post, do it up!

    • Awww, thanks, Ryan. You’re definitely someone I’d like to have hanging around. :)

    • On
    • July 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm
    • Portia
    • Said...

    I felt like this post was written with me in mind. I definitely find myself suffering from wonder woman syndrome and sometimes need to bonk myself on the head. Thank you for the virtual bonk and for sharing your story. I’ve really enjoyed your posts and the ensuing discussions. Love your thoughts on fighting fear. Yes! If we name it we take away it’s power. Looking forward to when you come back in the fall recharged and ready to “bring it”.

    • Portia,
      It WAS written with you in mind! Well, it was written with all the overworked, overachievers in mind, of which you are one. :)

      Happy to give you that virtual bonk any time, and look forward to connecting on your blog as well when I have the space to breathe. So glad we found each other!

  20. You’re moving to the UK? Did I get that right? I went to college there. Anyway, just listened to NPR today where Larry Mantle had people call in about whether they could stay “disconnected” from social media. I was so surprised to hear one woman say her husband stays awake until 4 a.m., to catch up with e-mails, blogs, FB, Twitter etc. and then tries to go with his family on excursions the next day during their vacation. What crazy vacation is that? See you in the Fall.

    • Yes, we’re moving to London. And thrilled about it. I can assure you that as I travel around the country and Europe with my family, I will not be staying up until all hours checking email and Twitter! I mean, I’m bad, but not THAT bad! LOL

      Thanks for the vote of support–very much appreciated!

    • On
    • July 8, 2011 at 8:03 am
    • Linda
    • Said...

    Taking a break from blogging–oh, how I envy you, Jen;).

    Yesterday while in the library as my son had a tutoring lesson, I sat down to write a (late) post, and all I could come up with was, “Do you ever get tired of being so responsible?” So, after about 10 minutes of staring at that one line, I thought, Well, yes. Yes, I do. And that was the end of that endeavor:p. I brought along case files, but groused about that, too. “When I signed up to be a therapist, I didn’t set out to analyze paper work.”

    I guess I was channeling your post, in more ways than one.

    You’ve obviously worked very hard (your entire life), and this is a well-deserved break, and great role-modeling for the rest of us…

    Have a wonderful and safe trip to London, and I look forward to connecting in the fall.

    • Ack! Sorry for the delayed response. It got a little hectic arond here. You’re right. I’ve worked hard my whole life. It’s part of who I am. Now I hope to make taking breaks part of who I am too. Sounds like you should join me! I completely relate to the “Do you ever get tired of being so responsible?” Don’t keep putting it off, Linda. The world won’t come to an end. This post is proof. Hugs!

    • On
    • July 8, 2011 at 10:46 am
    • Daria
    • Said...

    Way to go Jen! Loved this post and ditto to pretty much everyone said. I think it’s wise to recognize that you don’t “HAVE TO” do any of the things you’ve put in front of you and to take a break before you burn out.

    You have exciting things happening and I hope you take the time to revel in them and enjoy the moment. Life is too short for stress – especially self induced. :)

    • Thanks, Daria. No reveling yet (the first set of movers are here today and hubby just had surgery three days ago), but my time is coming. August should be a very good month. :)

      See you soon!

  21. Jen,
    Glad you’re taking a well-deserved break. Congratulations on all you have achieved and good luck with the move. I admire your courage, focus, honesty, determination.

    • Thanks, Melanie. That means a lot coming from you. :)

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  23. Hope I’m not catching you too late, but just wanted to wish you luck.

    You deserve a nice break. I’ll be here when you get back. I think many others will as well.

    • Not too late for well wishes. Thanks Bryce!

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    • On
    • July 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    • Debbie @ Happy Maker
    • Said...

    Hi Jennifer,

    Good for you taking a break. We all need to learn to do this. The only problem that I have is after taking Jon Morrows class, I found you. This is ok, I’ll study your blog and get to know you while you have a little fun.

    You take now and blessing to you,
    Debbie

    • On
    • July 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm
    • Jeni
    • Said...

    I’m taking a break! Tomorrow is my last day working for an org for almost eleven years. The day after that will be my first day of figuring out what’s next and surely it will be an adventure! Good luck on yours!

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    • On
    • August 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm
    • susana
    • Said...

    Hi Jen :)
    You truly need to feel very, very, very proud of your accomplishments. I mean, Wow! :) Of course, those naughty little fears and worries will always try to creep up, even when everything seems perfect, but it sure seems you are in charge and will continue to be.

    Just be sure not to take long, because your readers will surely miss you. :)

    Hope your projects turn out to be a huge success,

    xxx
    Susana

    • Thank you, Susana. I’m already itching to get back. Can’t wait!

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    • On
    • August 26, 2011 at 6:56 am
    • yen
    • Said...

    stumbled on this site just when I needed to really make a go on a plan that I have put off for the longest time…would really love to have time to just write and travel anywhere. ;)

    • Make that plan! I recommend starting by talking to people who are already living the life you want. Folks like Karol or Ayngelina. Learn from those who have done what you want to do, and really listen to what they have to say. You’ll find it’s not as hard as you think.

      Good luck and keep us posted!

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  29. Hi Jennifer. There is much truth in your post – it’s certainly worthy of some serious thought. I, too took a break from my blog, albeit a small one, because instead of making me happy and inspired, I felt like it was starting to bring me down. Not the same thing I know, but I agree that a break can do wonders for you in terms of rethinking your purpose of things – it reminds you why you do things in the first place. Hope you come back soon. Good luck with your plans. :)

    • Sabbatical is almost up and honestly I can’t wait to return. It’s been a good, if busy, break, but I’ve had some wonderful time with my daughter. And yes, I think giving the mind a break helps clear the wellspring for more creative ideas. Here’s hoping!

    • On
    • August 30, 2011 at 9:54 am
    • Mary Rogan
    • Said...

    Jen, just found you today through following zenhabits on twitter…what a find! You might say I am on sabbatical since voluntarily leaving my last job, but truth is I am busier now (husband works from home; mom had a stroke; kids (grown, but still delightful to be with). Oh, and did I mention getting the house in-order (IT career demands many hours). And I am dying to get started with some learning that will take me forward. And I dusted off the guitar after sitting up half the night with young grandson “jamming” (okay, he played, I listened). Truth is I love a lot of things but need some focus. I will be looking forward to your return! Best regards, Mary

    • Mary,
      It’s true, there’s no end of fun things to do when you’re on sabbatical. It just goes to show how much gets shoved to the side in the typical career! When I made the decision to change careers, flexibility was at the top of my criteria, so I could do the fun stuff, at least every now and then, and enjoy my family and my other interests to the fullest. I find the largest obstacle to making that a reality is ME. LOL. So still working on it, but this break has been a great first step. I plan to make it an annual thing, even when I don’t have the excuse of moving across the ocean!

      Thanks so much for your note. I look forward to having you as part of the community. :)

  30. While I was doing my daily blog browsing for inspiration I saw your article on Leo’s Google +. I loved the story about your dad and the science magazine.

    It appears from these comments that you haven’t lost your previous audience, and you’ve gained even more! Amazing how fear often has no base in reality, isn’t it?

    It’s Sept. 1st, I’m here ready for you to hit the ground running! … or even a warm-up jog, remember after a long break stretching is important. Thanks for all you do!

    • Hi Margarey!

      It’s true, my audience has actually grown significantly. I think we have to teach ourselves that fear has no real basis over and over. Making the decision to take a break was honestly scary, but certainly necessary. Maybe next year I’ll finally be comfortable enough to take a break without any gnashing of the teeth! LOL

      Thanks so much for your note, especially the warm-up humor. That made me laugh. Really look forward to sharing ideas–and hopefully some more laughs!

    • On
    • September 2, 2011 at 1:01 am
    • noch
    • Said...

    i think sometimes, many of us just prefer to not acknowledge the signs that we need a break. once we get to the point of thinking ‘we need a break’ then we are on the right track. but many of us just dont get to that point. i didn’t for many years. i believed i was invincible. oh wells. life teaches us the lessons we need to learn. so now i’m taking a break from banking, and just writing everyday :)
    thanks for the inspiration

    • It’s a good point. I can’t decide if we really don’t know we need the break, or are simply unwilling to admit it, even to ourselves. Maybe that’s the same thing? But I do think a big part of it is this sense that everything will fall apart if we stop to breathe for a moment. The consequences of stopping feel dire, even if all we’re talking about is making sure my daughter has a lunchbox for school. LOL

      But the real thing here is to congratulate you on your own break! I hope you truly enjoy the time away. Who knows, maybe this breather will convince you it’s time to take another career path. (wink) We’re here for you either way!

    • On
    • September 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm
    • Jane
    • Said...

    Jennifer, I am happy to see that you just took an extended break. It is so easy to be run by other people’s expectations plus one’s own internalized expectations- especially when one’s work could easily absorb one 24/7. I think some of us, like me, have learned self-sacrificial norms which are hard to transgress. I’ve discovered through occasional family emergencies that I can in fact clear the calendar pretty fast if I have to, and life goes on, and what really needs to happen will happen another way. I am in a workplace [not I think my ultimate one!] where the load is accumulating and it’s harder and harder to set aside enough consecutive days to get emotionally away from it. Another issue I find is that I am tempted to devote more and more of my free time to my aging mother- though she actually doesn’t , at this point, need support that only I can provide. This August I took 5 days for myself- it helped clear some emotional and spiritual space in my life- and coming back from that, I am finally able to make some decisions and choices. So yes, even a little hint of sabbatical makes all the difference, I find.

    • I so hear you, Jane. I had the same experience–at first, I started missing small suspenses, and was shocked to discover no one cared. In fact, not only did it not result in the counseling I feared, but often times, the person making the original request completely forgot about it! Even when I was in the corporate world, I got to the point where I never took work home, and was still valued and promoted by my boss. We have met the problem, and the problem is us–one of the real hidden dangers of being an entrepreneur.

      Give your mother all the time you want. I certainly wish I’d had more.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • On
    • September 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm
    • Marsha
    • Said...

    Hi Jen,
    You’ve very quickly become my go-to blog writer for your quirky and insightful posts. What you say is always honest, inspiring, and hits me right in the heart and gut.

    The excerpt of your poem in the article about introversion was beautiful – I’d love to read more of your poetry.

    I’m excited to be a part of the 8-week No Regrets Career Academy course. A major dose of self-compassion a few days ago seems to have done the trick.

    I look forward to reading about your UK adventures. I was just mentioning today to my mom that I’d love to live overseas someday. So it’ll be great to hear about how your new life in London unfolds.

    I’ll end this love letter by saying that I’m so grateful that we’ve connected, as you seem to mirror and echo so many of my sensibilities, a fellow introvert, poet, biologist, and writer. You’ve entered my life at a time when I really DO feel like I can and will shine with my next adventure. I feel the spark even now.

    Happy fall equinox and talk to you soon,
    Marsha

    • Marsha,

      If you go to the poetry page on the blog, you can see the two books of poetry I have available. I’d be happy to sign/dedicate one for you.

      It’s a good point–I need to talk about the UK adventures. There’s a lot to say. Maybe I’ll add that to the editorial calendar in the next couple of weeks. Long story short: everyone should do this once. Amazing experience!

      And yes, I do think we get to a time in life where we throw off the old inhibitions and just let ourselves shine. It’s so invigorating to be our true and wonderful selves!

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