5 Things I Have Learned from Being on Sabbatical and How I Can Apply Them to My Next Business


The following article was written by Craig Morantz, former VP of Sales with Polyconcept and founder of Burning Prescence (post was originally published on his blog Seems Obvious to Me).

  1. When I was working I was always booked, every 15 minutes in my calendar I had a meeting or a task to complete. Initially and really for the majority of my sabbatical things did not change, I was busy all the time. Often starting from 6am at the gym ending the day often out and about….buzzing around like a bee. But as soon as I stopped making myself busy all the time I realized what a douche bag I am. Ok, that might be a bit harsh…. jerk maybe? But let’s just say that my being busy covered up what I really needed to see. Once I stopped being busy it was there and I could not ignore it. As we objectify ourselves, we come to see the body as a thing to be controlled and maintained (and that is what I was doing by being constantly busy) rather than as a living, dynamic statement of who we are. Same thing for a business or any brand, by staying busy in meetings, conference calls, strategy sessions and more meetings hides how crappy we may be instead of discovering how great we can be. Most meetings are about control. Our companies are living, dynamic statements of who we are and too much control stifles growth. There needs to be more breathing room.
  2. Passion is not an easy thing to uncover, but it’s worth the work to find it. It’s worth the work in your personal life and it’s worth the effort for a marketing person, a sales rep, an operations employee or even product development employee to find the passion of the client. You have to find the passion of the customer. After you discover the passion of the customer you are creating what’s important for them. Now that I am focused on my passion I can ask the question when I am working on anything…“is this helping me towards being focused on my passion?” When you are focused on the passion of the customer you won’t go wrong.
  3. People are irrational, especially kids. Just like customers they change their mind and their moods without warning. I learned to stop saying “no” to my child. Thanks to my wife I learned to instead  say “what about this Winslowe?” Can we do something similar in the workplace, with our friends and colleagues? Why not?  Everyone is irrational if compared to ourselves. Clients change their minds and it seems irrational, embrace it and ask “OK, what about this?” instead of “no, our policy is….”
  4. A hammer can build bridges or bash brains. It seems I have been using my hammer to do both and when I look forward to my next business I am reminded that client service challenges are the single greatest opportunity to beat the competition. Those are the stories that spread. While I’ve been off I catch myself using my hammer in ways that can be destructive and energy draining. I now work diligently to use it to build versus destroy. I’m excited to soon use my hammer to build a new company that people will be proud to be part of either as a customer or an employee.
  5. In reflection I’ve probably made mostly wrong decisions in my life, but that’s OK because where I have been successful is where I put my attention on making the wrong decisions right. What is important is that I have not been afraid to make decisions, I am not one to get stalled in the decision making stage. It took time off for me to see this and appreciate the value of simply making decisions without being caught up in getting permission. As I said, in reflection many were wrong at first but I made adjustments. I see many people frozen with fear when faced with a decision, asking other’s opinions on “what should I do”. Marketers and Product / Service Developers need to act quicker than ever before and assume they may be wrong but act quickly to make wrong decisions right.