The Science and Purpose Behind My Sabbatical

Post by 
Andrew Reichert

Dear Friends, 

Last August, I took a one-month-long sabbatical in order to rest, recharge, spend some time away with my family, and continue to develop a  long-term vision for Birgo. A sabbatical is an extended period of time away from work. Although they are typically thought of in relation to academia, anyone can take a sabbatical. I gained so much from my first one last year, that I’ve committed to taking a short sabbatical every year.

The Science of Sabbaticals

Sabbaticals are more than just a mere extended vacation. Research has actually demonstrated significant personal and organizational benefits from leaders taking a sabbatical. Here are three of those benefits:

Sabbaticals Enhance Well-Being and Productivity

Studies have shown that individuals who take a sabbatical report a greater sense of well-being than individuals who did not. This was particularly true of people who traveled overseas during their sabbatical. Upon their return to work, these individuals accomplished something of great note and significance to their organizations and work. 

A Variety of Experience Powers Creativity 

Other studies have concluded that new experiences help power creativity and problem solving by offering new perspectives and ideas. If we continue to live in our normal 9-to-5 routine, we will get stuck in the familiar, and limit ourselves and our possibilities. New experiences create new pathways in our brain, which can foster more creative thinking, ideas, and solutions that will enhance our work and our lives. 

Organizational Benefits 

Although it might seem a little counterintuitive that the organization would benefit while its leader is away for an extended period of time, studies have shown this to be the case. The absence of a leader allows room and opportunity for other leaders to step up. They themselves can grow in their leadership and feel empowered and more confident to make decisions and excel in their work. Everyone wins when leaders take a sabbatical.  

Why I’m Taking a Sabbatical

So why am I taking a sabbatical? Well, besides receiving the benefits described above, I have a few personal reasons for taking this sabbatical that underscore why now is the right time for me to do so. 

Sharpening the Saw

In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the need to sharpen our saw and take time to invest in ourselves physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally in order to bring about the best results. I’ve had a busy year so far, working and traveling more due to filling two roles at the company. This sabbatical will not only help me recharge and fully rest, but it’s also necessary if I want to avoid potential burnout.

Reconnecting with Purpose

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

I absolutely love this quote. Taking time off will allow me to sit with my life plan in depth and  make sure that I am living out my why in every aspect of my life. This applies not only to my work at Birgo and our mission of “improving lives through real estate,” but also to my personal life and reconnecting and evaluating what’s important and why it’s important to me. 

Supporting the Company

Research shows that a leader taking a sabbatical is actually a good thing for the company for three reasons:

1. It serves as a force-function for others to step into additional roles and responsibilities

2. It empowers the rest of the team

3. It makes the leader more productive when they return

This sabbatical is not just for me and my own personal benefits. I believe there will be a greater impact on the rest of the company, which will launch Birgo into the next ten years and help us reach our goals. 

Reimagining My Role

Birgo is in a season of growth and transition. Over the past few months, we have brought new people onto the team and I have moved fully into my role as'' Visionary” (a term from the Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS). This is an exciting time not only for me, as I get to think through my work and what it looks like to live within my desire zone, but also for the team as we invite others to step into new roles and opportunities that fulfill and motivate them as well. 

I’m excited for this opportunity to take this time away, and I’m so grateful for our amazing team at Birgo who are stepping up in order to allow me to completely unplug and disconnect during this time.

Kind regards,

Andrew S. Reichert
CEO, Birgo

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