Taking a step back from day to day life is all about taking some time and space to design the next chapter of life. It is about having time and space to reflect, contemplate, consider new possibilities, rest, re-fuel and plan. It is a powerful strategy in the quest to create change to design the life and results you really want. A fulfilling and meaningful life doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by design.

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Why choosing to take a step back can change your life

A sabbatical could change your lifeI am taking a bit of a sabbatical in the weeks running up to my 50th birthday.

I have never taken a sabbatical before.

This is nothing to do with any negativity about turning fifty or any kind of midlife crisis.

Quite the opposite.

I am actually genuinely excited about the next chapter of my life. To me, age is just a number. Nothing more. So all is good, and I am ready and excited for the fabulous fifties!

Taking a step back from my day to day life is all about taking some time and space to design this next chapter of life. It is about having time and space to reflect, contemplate, consider new possibilities, rest, re-fuel and celebrate the life my husband and I have created together over the years.

For me, it all stems from this core belief:

A fulfilling and meaningful life doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by design.

It requires time and space to just be, contemplate, allow thoughts to process, play with ideas and possibilities, and work out next steps.

So it is really important to carve time and space out from the day to day noise and busyness. I see taking a step back, on a regular basis, as a powerful strategy in creating the life and results you really want, ongoing.

I know it feels very hard when you have a load of stuff to juggle every day in the busyness of your day to day life. And you might be wondering how the hell you can possible take time to step back for a while when you have so much to do and your schedule is packed.

To help with this, challenge yourself to shift your mindset to stepping back being a strategic way to create change and improving any area of your life. When you see it as a necessity rather than a nice to have it is easier to find a way to make it happen.

The bottom line is this:

Taking a step back is often the best way forward.

Stepping back and creating time and space for yourself is an essential part of designing the life and results you really want.

Having experienced first hand the benefits of taking a step back at regular intervals over the years, I decided to approach this next chapter of my life by stepping back big style, with this mini sabbatical, to open up time and space to contemplate and hatch plans for designing the next chapter of my life.

But it isn’t necessary to be taking some kind of lengthy sabbatical and running off alone into the wilderness to embrace the stepping back to step forward strategy.

Just carving out an hour or two here and there to do this works just fine.

Usually my husband and I do this by just getting outdoors into nature and walking and talking for a few hours. Or finding some undisturbed quiet time for an hour or two. I am just doing it as an extended process this year as it co-incides with other things me and my family have to celebrate.

But taking a step back to give yourself some time and space doesn’t have to be anything overly time consuming or fancy.

If you are serious about creating change and designing the life and results you really want, it is important to commit to finding time and space to think, plan, play with your thoughts, process dreams and ideas, rest, re-fuel and contemplate how you want all areas of your life to be and the changes you need to create.

So with all of that said:

How could you embrace the strategy of taking a step back in order to step forward toward the life and results you really want?

What difference would it make to you if you found a way to create some time and space to focus on designing the next chapter of your life?

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  • I’m excited for this new chapter in your life Ali. All the best, Nancy

  • Thanks Nancy, Exciting times ahead for sure.

  • There’s no question that sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. Stepping back (or aside) can help to clear the trees so one can see the forest. I tend to be a tree person, so putting myself somewhere (like a purposeful time out) is crucial for me to be able to see the big picture.

  • Ah yes! I’m not sure when it happened (actually, it was probably in the run-up to my 50th birthday ;-), but I remember learning that there really is no such thing as a step back (or at least that’s what I tell myself, because it feels good when I think it). We’re not static…steps “back” are invitations, they are full of wisdom, and they pull us forward (even when it feels like we’ve regressed).

  • Hi Suzanne, great that you have that self awareness.

  • Hi Karen, love that perspective.

  • You are so right about this! I was fortunate enough to have about a year to just exhale when we moved to Kaua’i several years ago. The breathing space allowed me to let go of things which weren’t serving me well, and created room for the creative, wonderful and fulfilling things which do.

  • Hi Betsy, sounds like you had a fabulous experience. How wonderful to have such a lovely long period to do that.

  • Glenda Harrison

    An excellent move and very empowering. I am an introvert by nature. I have to take steps back quote often to refuel. I tend to be in my head or in the moment quite often. It is during this time, the greatest inspiration shines through. Enjoy your time.

  • Hi Glenda, you are so right – inspiration and creativity happen in that space.

  • Karen Shatafian

    I agree Ali. Sometimes it’s only in those down times that I can really hear myself. In our busy, noisy world I think it is imperative! Enjoy!

  • Hi Karen, I can totally relate and agree with what you say.

  • I love the idea of taking purposeful time out like that. I know it will be an incredibly fruitful time for you. Enjoy!

  • Hi Carol, excited for what is evolving already. Exciting times.

  • I know of several companies that encourage their elite to take a sabbatical to regenerate their creativity and those I know who did agree it worked. I wish the same success!

  • Yes, a sabbatical has many benefits on many different levels. Boosting creativity is certainly one of those things.

  • I so need to do this at this point in life. Thanks for the reminder.
    Wishing you everything that’s wonderful as you get to your 50th.

  • Hi Corinne, delighted you found this a useful reminder. Have fun finding creative ways to incorporate this in your life. Thanks for the good wishes. Much appreciated.

  • Hi Ali! You are so right that the best way forward is often a pause to reflect and recharge. I think we’d all be better off if we spent a bit more time in reflection than always go, go and go! I’m looking forward to seeing how your life unfolds and reading about it along the way! ~Kathy

  • Hi Kathy, I agree, we are all better off when we take time to step back from time to time.