Here I am, three months into my “radical sabbatical.” After eleven years of Executive Coaching aka my best career move ever, and more than 20 years of consulting the time came to tidy up loose ends on the home front, complete overdue projects and take more time to enjoy life. I’m finding the transition to be easier, more exhilarating and more fun than I’d anticipated. The clarity I have on who I am and want to be, what I do best and the legacy I want to leave points the way. I gladly dedicate the effort required to maintain focus on professionalism, poise and significance.
Jennifer Scott in her book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic writes, “To develop poise, commit to being your best self each day from the moment you get up until the moment you lie down for sleep. Keep your mind sharp and your skills relevant. Adorn yourself beautifully and carry yourself with grace and elegance.”
Here are a few ideas I’m implementing from my coaching days. Whether you’re deeply engaged in your career or planning your own radical sabbatical, you won’t go wrong implementing any or all of them:
- Recognize the gifts you possess and the potential you have to make a difference by sharing those gifts. Then act on the ones that matter most.
- Take time for self-care including nurturing your relationships and spiritual development.
- Examine your commitments and reassess them often. Whether subscriptions, memberships, board positions, or community events, drop the ones that no longer serve you to make space for commitments that matter.
- Keep growing and improving your inner circle. Use your gifts to add value to them as they add value to you. Help them be their best.
- Be a good listener whether in conversation or participating in meetings to grasp the essence of problems or situations. Then ask good questions—non-confrontational questions to help move them closer to a strategic solution. Go deep enough to make a difference.
- Develop a passion and get behind efforts to benefit at least one important cause such as child hunger or contributing scholarships that support a higher level of education for those unable to help themselves. Strategic giving and passion for causes that matter will shape the person you become as much as it will shape the people you serve.
- Stay focused on your priorities. My days are filled with requests from people with good intentions and their own agenda who would love to have me spend the time I need for my own priorities and instead help them with theirs. I can’t do that. I can’t fill out every survey, contribute to every capital campaign or spend time with everyone who invites me to meet to “catch up.” Seldom do I surrender my time for these kinds of requests anymore.
For any of us to be viable—we must know who we are, what gifts put us in line to deliver significance to those we care about and those we choose to help. Imagine the difference it would make if we all showed up daily at our best—at home, at work, and in our communities. What a difference we could make!
© Judy DeLapa March 2016