While I was away...

When I stepped down as executive director of The Loft Literary Center last August, I knew I needed to create a bridge for myself from the intensity of my Loft years to… well, I wasn’t sure.

I’d eventually continue working but was unclear on where I wanted to land. I decided to go on a retreat of sorts but struggled with whether to call this transition time a gap-year, vacation, or an endless weekend. I landed on sabbatical (without the paid or returning to the Loft part).

A sabbatical is precious time but it can be a failure if you let the days just flitter away. Like all situations, you have a better shot at succeeding if you can envision what success looks like. I know I can be Type-A, but I created a strategic plan for my sabbatical with goals and tactics to achieve my mission of finding my metaphorical breath.

Eight months later, I can announce that my sabbatical was a success, meaning: I’m feeling rejuvenated. I stepped out of my usual world to catch up on sleep, hike in a dozen National Parks, read novels to the final page, and travel with family and friends. I avoided my routines and when I wasn’t exploring the world, I was cleaning our garage, basement, and closets. Clutter cleared, I spent time peacefully staring at the horizon.

I was surprised how long it took to rewire my brain and not feel guilty for moving through my days at a slower pace.  As my brain quieted, I started to notice more around me and also get back in touch with my reflective side. I did not write (everyone asks that), but spent time reading and marveling at the writings of others. Sparks are flying through my brain.

I’m refreshed, so now what? As I hiked along beaches and through old-growth forests, I realized it’s unlikely I’ll love an organization as much as the Loft Literary Center. The Loft felt like my professional soul-mate. That said, I’m eager to continue working with nonprofits and organizations focused on improving our world. 

On April 1, I joined producer and writer, Glenn Miller (my favorite collaborator) to form MillerHale Associates. Our focus is to help clients tell their stories -- Glenn, through the lens of television production and corporate communications, and I through the perspective of nonprofits and foundations. If we can’t help you, we’ll recommend one of our associates who can.

If you aren’t refreshed from a recent sabbatical, the next best thing is to hire someone who is.

Jocey in Moab, UT.

Jocey in Moab, UT.