Taking a Career Break? How to Be Clear About Its Purpose and Ensure Its Success

People consider taking a career break for a multitude of reasons, but the common denominator always seems to be that they want to do something different. They have a sense that ‘there’s more to life than this’, and they don’t want to miss out anymore.

So, if you’ve come to that conclusion yourself, what is the next step? You know you want to go, but you’re not really clear about what you want out of it. You simply have a vague idea that it will somehow change your life for the better. The first step is to consider the reasons you want to take time off and what you hope to achieve. The clearer you are about this, the more chance you have of it being a success.

Why? Simple: If you don’t know what you want to achieve by doing something, how will you know that you have achieved what you wanted?

It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking something is going to magically change your life, and focusing blindly on that thing, letting it be your ‘saviour’, without really thinking about why you want it:

• If I get this job, I will be happy

• If I have my own apartment, I will be happy

• If I could meet a nice partner, I will be happy

• If I could just have some time off, I will be happy

As humans we have a habit of placing our happiness in the hands of the achievement of some ‘thing’, be it a possession, an experience, or even another person. But what we are really looking for is the feeling we get from these ‘things’:

• New Job – Self Worth

• Own Apartment – Feeling secure

• Nice Partner – Happiness and Contentment

• Time Off – Peace

These feelings represent our Values: the things that we constantly strive to have present in our lives in order to feel happy and fulfilled.

So, if you want to take a Career Break, it’s important to think about what feelings you want it to give you, and what feelings you want to bring more permanently into your life. This is the crux of anything we do in our lives. Not convinced? Then think about some things that you have wanted in your life, things you’ve wanted to possess or achieve, and honestly reflect of why you wanted those things. I can bet you it’s because they made you feel a certain way. Am I right?

The same applies with your Career Break. Now, take some paper and answer the following questions. Write everything that comes to mind. This will help you get to the heart of what you want your Career Break to do for you.

• What is the reason for me wanting to take this time off?

• What do I want to get out of it – personally, emotionally, spiritually, practically, even professionally?

• How do I want it to make me feel? • How do I want to feel once I have returned home? • How will I know it has been a success?

• How can I measure this? • Where do I want to visit? • For what reason? • What do I expect to gain from visiting these places?

• What do I want to do while I’m away? • For what reason? • What do I expect to gain from these activities? • In what ways do I hope to have changed after this trip? • How am I going to achieve these changes?

And the Big One:

• What is it that is missing that I am trying to find?

If you can get to heart of what you want to get out of it all, and why, then you will know yourself better, you will experience life with more awareness, and you will feel like a more fulfilled human being – and not just during your trip, but for the rest of your life.

The principles discussed here apply to everything we do in life, not just taking a Career Break. If you would like help to ensure that you are living the life you really want, perhaps working with a Life Coach can help you.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust

Bebhinn O’Loingsigh is a Life Coach at Hightail Coaching Solutions. She works with professionals who feel stuck in a rut and want to take a Career Break. Learn more at http://www.hightailcoaching.co.uk

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