Last year at this time, I was nearing the long-awaited end of a longer-than-needed sabbatical during which I was angling to get hired as a coach. It worked out. I’ve just finished up with my first client team. I’m already feeling joyous pangs of anticipation about what might come next. I should keep doing this.
But not yet. Traveling every week for a year has worn me down. When I’ve been less effective at caring for myself, I’m less effective at caring for others. I’m not ready to offer myself in the way that coaching requires.
Stop and recharge
Feeling that I ought to keep doing this, but also feeling that I can’t keep doing this, I did some self-retrospecting. My first “try this” is to address my immediate need to look after my own needs. So I’m taking six weeks off, starting now:
- Two in Germany to be with my in-laws-to-be for the holidays (as usual)
- One in Ohio to be at CodeMash (as usual)
- Three in Indiana at a fitness retreat (very much not as usual)
As may be evident, the themes here are to renew and reinvest in my connections to loved ones, to programming, and to my physical health.
I’d hoped to build up a buffer of podcast episodes so the show would continue uninterrupted in my absence. That didn’t happen. When I recently missed a week, that was a gift: it helped me let go of the idea that I must keep going no matter what. When I was about to take some vacation in July, I highly doubted my self-discipline, and the show was just taking flight; in my mind it still is, but as of today it’s averaging over 300 downloads per episode, for a total of more than 10,000. These days, I’m much more willing to believe that I’ll start a new streak when I get back, and that you might still be willing to pay attention when I do. So my time off will also be a break from podcasting, from writing on this blog, and if I’m smart, from consuming Twitter maniacally.
Then go slower
My second self-retrospective “try this” is to address my need for a pace I can better sustain. So my next assignment will need to accommodate at least one travel-free week per month. That will give me much more time with my favorite person and furballs, much more rest, and the chance to participate in the thriving tech and Agile meetups in my own neck of the woods.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing when I get back to work in February — perhaps at the same client, perhaps elsewhere. Whatever that challenge is, I’ll be physically and mentally ready. It had better be ready for me.
Keep in touch
I’ll be significantly less on the grid, but I won’t be off it. I’ll be happy to hear from you about anything that’s on your mind. Meanwhile, if you’d like to read more from me over the next month and a half:
- Browse this blog’s articles by tag
- Read the “TDD in Context” series in the sidebar
- Read other of my best-liked posts, also in the sidebar
- Buy the Agile in 3 Minutes book
To hear and see more:
- Come to my CodeMash talk
- Look for my first “Crash Course Crayon” video to drop in a couple weeks on Pillar’s YouTube channel (RSS)
- Catch up on my seven guest appearances on Ryan Ripley’s Agile for Humans podcast (RSS)
It’s been a fantastic and formative year. For your attention and encouragement, I thank you, and I hope to live up to it in 2016.