This the inspirational personal story of Wouter Scheepens, Entrepreneur | Adjunct Professor | Board member | Author
When I first talked to Wouter about the power of time off, his first reaction was ‘I don’t think you can ever expect me to become one of your clients’. To be honest, I was shocked and surprised but respected his choice. Several months later I received a phone call from Wouter about wanting to join one of our retreats as part of his planned sabbatical. Maybe you totally understand his initial reaction, and would react in the same way? If so, read his personal story and get inspired!
‘After many happy but intense years running both a family with three teenagers and my own company, I planned a three-month sabbatical from October to December 2018. Broadly speaking, for two purposes. Firstly, to disconnect from my work, to relax and to enjoy nice things. Secondly: I also wanted to use the latter part of my sabbatical to reflect on my work in the years to come. How can I (better) combine things I like to do and what additional pathways can I explore? I wanted to combine both having fun and productivity.
I decided to connect with Ingrid from the power of time off. I’ve known her for many years, and know that whatever she does, she does with her heart and a lot of professionalism and expertise. We talked about how to spend these three months of my sabbatical and I expressed my intention to join one of the retreats. Although it felt slightly unreal to sign up for a retreat, I knew that this is what I needed and that I would be in safe hands with Ingrid.
I was a bit worried about my total lack of yoga experience. But Ingrid convinced me not to take it too seriously, and just see it as just one of the tools in the toolbox to revitalize and become still inside. So, for the first time in my life, I booked myself on a retreat.
When working in my business I there is always a high pressure to deliver the best results. In the past I have tried several things to disconnect a bit. For example, I participated in a mindfulness course but didn’t manage to keep up regular and frequent meditation. I also once downloaded a mindfulness app but after four days stopped using it. I thought it would be great if the retreat could give me some experience, guidance and (practical) skills to help me integrate yoga and mindfulness into my daily life after the retreat.’
‘The power of time off’ created an environment enabling me to step totally out of my hectic daily-life. I was able to fully focus on revitalizing and there was a lot of time and guidance for reflection. Not everything was easy though. The yoga sessions were quite challenging for me, but on the other hand I did enjoy them and definitely learned to relax. Luckily Ingrid was not too strict on the coffee ban. The week was good for mind and body. I gained new insights to take home to my daily personal and professional life. The week taught me how yoga, meditation, silence and nature can help me continue to boost my emotional intelligence (mindfulness, (self-) compassion and connectedness), and increase my professional influence.
Now, I roll out my yoga mat every morning before going to the office, practicing mindfulness stretching my muscles. And I even take weekly yoga lessons in a yoga studio around the corner from where I live.
I enjoyed my three-month sabbatical and was able to put valuable and practical ideas given by Ingrid into practice. I joined the retreat without any yoga or meditation experience. A week full of reflection, relaxation and laughter with a nice group of people, pleasant and knowledgeable facilitators who are 100% committed to providing you with an experience with long-term impact, in a wonderful environment in the nature. I can thoroughly recommend planning a sabbatical and talking to Ingrid to create a the power of time off plan. Even if you just have one week, I would recommend booking yourself in a retreat too.’