I left a system that had nurtured and helped define me for the better part of 17 years. I went from being in the center of the grid to not only off the grid, but underneath the coffee table that the grid sits on, lost in the shag carpeting that is underneath the coffee table supporting the grid. It was the making of a career disaster, and a terrible analogy.
But then something spectacular happened. Fogbound, with no compass, and adrift, I started trying things. I grew a strange, cinnamon beard. I dove into the world of social media. I started tweeting my comedy. I threw together a national tour. I played the guitar. I did stand-up, wore a skin-tight blue leather suit, recorded an album, made a documentary, and frightened my friends and family. Ultimately, I abandoned all preconceived perceptions of my career path and stature… I did a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational things and guess what: … it was the most satisfying and fascinating year of my life. To this day I still don’t understand exactly what happened, but I have never had more fun, been more challenged—and this is important—had more conviction about what I was doing.
During my sabbatical, I spent two years not listening to my songs at all.
Misty May Treanor (Olympic Beach-Volleyball player)
It’s important to just kind of get away from your sport until you miss it. It’s about taking time to enjoy other aspects of life or learn new things. It helps rejuvenate.
Jason Scott Lee (Martial Artist, Actor)
The basic thing is that I want to do the best work possible, and I can only do that if I’m relaxed and have a lot of energy. And that can only come from taking a lot of time off – so I do.
Rick Moranis (the Keymaster in Ghostbusters)
Well, I took a sabbatical. I walked away from shooting movies because I couldn’t handle the travel. I’m a single parent. I had young kids, and I found that keeping in touch with them from hotel rooms and airports wasn’t working for me. So I stopped.
If that doesn’t get you stoked to take some significant time off, I’m not sure what will.