Start with full.

Start with full.

In his TED Talk, The power of time off, Stefan Sagmeister shares his practice of shutting down his New York design firm for 12 months every seven years to pursue projects and experiments that he can’t get to when he’s working full-time for his clients.

During this sabbatical, he seeks out inspiration and experiences that will inform the next seven years of his work when he returns.

In his TED Talk, Why we all need to practice emotional first aid, Guy Winch speaks to the importance of taking care of our emotional wellbeing, whether by ourselves or with the help of a professional.

Not only does this allow us to become more resilient, but it also allows us to enjoy our lives more and has the potential to positively impact those around us.

In the spirit of both of these TED Talks, I took an impromptu—although not impulsive—vacation this week.

I sent off what needed to be delivered to my writing clients and switched on my out of office reply. Aside from keeping my commitment to my daily blog post, I am mostly staying offline. I’m not going anywhere—this vacation isn’t in my budget—and I’m giving myself the next five days to do me.

Last year was big and I need a moment to catch my breath before diving into what I have planned for the next 12 months.

More than that, prior to my decision to take a short break, I was starting to notice the familiar cues that have preceded burnout and professional breakups in the past.

The red light signalling that I was getting to empty.

So, in an attempt to do things differently, I decided that the best thing I could do for myself—and my clients—was stop and refill my tank.

This is a new move for me. Historically, the breaks I took have been very impulsive and even destructive. I’d bail on projects, burn bridges with clients, and buy one-way tickets to somewhere the grass was greener. (Or at least where the surfing was good.)

What makes this week’s vacation impromptu and not impulsive is that I didn’t get to empty this time.

I saw the cues for emotional fatigue and creative exhaustion and pulled off the road immediately. While this is inconvenient timing, I did not justify my choice to anyone but myself.

This year I am starting from full.

I often talk about being generous in the work that we do. About giving away so much that by the time you get on a call with someone, they are already your next client.

You can only be generous in your work in a sustainable way if you feel like you have more to give.

You can only do your best work if you’re full.

Creatively.

Emotionally.

Physically.

Spiritually.

Interpersonally.

As someone who used to be in love with the story of the hustle, I have finally extracted that narrative from my way of being. Which is difficult as everywhere you look it is reinforced as the ideal formula for success.

Weekends are for people who don’t want something bad enough. Working all the time proves that you deserve every accolade you receive.

What an uninspiring way to create and to live.

Moving forward, I have scheduled regular breaks into my life. Pit stops where I can fill up and get back on the road ready to take on the next stretch of a project, relationship, or change.

I am prioritizing my creative work and taking care fo my body. There’s room for me to socialize and explore Detroit, my new favourite American city. I will continue to update my budget and manage my money in ways that support me in only working for other people as much as I need to so I can build my coaching practice on the side.

I don’t have an excess of resources at my disposal to get where I want to go and I have enough. As long as I keep topping off the tank along the way.

So, what does starting from full look and feel like for you?

How can you begin with more?

What I do.

What I do.

Include and transcend.

Include and transcend.