HAMSTER WHEEL: “I Went on Sabbatical from Work to Decide My Future”

Wed 8 Dec 2021 10:00 am UK Time

• Everyone dreams of having a break from work…
• ….but would a sabbatical be the right option for you?
• Find out how taking time away helped Pete Reis-Campbell make some important decisions about his agency’s future, and why he is now looking to exit.

Pete is now looking to exit the agency and take on a more advisory board role as a result of his time away from the business.

“What do I actually want? What is my plan here? Do I want to do this business forever?”

“I was always told by business mentors that you’re trying to make yourself redundant when running an agency. But now I have, I didn’t really think about what the fuck I was going to do once I’d done it.”

These were just some of the questions Pete Reis-Campbell, founder and CEO of Kaizen, was asking himself. To help answer them, he went on a three-month-long sabbatical.

And he realised the answers sooner than he expected.

“I was making a decision over my role in the company – and I probably locked into that decision after about a month,” he admits.

And it was a big one, the break giving Pete the confidence to explore an exit of some kind.

“Before, my mindset was that anyone I met who sold their business seemed really miserable afterwards because they missed it so much, and I realised I didn’t miss 95% of it. I didn’t miss the stress. What I missed was the people,” he says.

The time away also made him realise how much he needed to change the kind of role he was playing in the business altogether.

“I spent the first six months of this year feeling like a figurehead, having little things to do. It wasn’t very empowering,” he says. “But my break has shown that there were things I was doing that I didn’t realise I was doing, culturally, to hold it all together.”

“I didn’t realise all this weight I was carrying. Whenever something would go wrong, I would jump in and save the day – or at least try to. It highlighted a lot of systemic issues which over time could destroy the business if we don’t get it right, like people, culture and recruitment.”

Looking at an exit, Pete now envisages his future role as more of an advisory one and is energised at the thought of a new mission.

“It’s going to be a test for me. I want my role moving forward to basically be board advisor and coach,” he says. “I think the thing I’ll struggle with will be not interfering – it’s worked for three months without me.”

So, would he recommend a sabbatical to agency leaders?

“When it comes to taking a sabbatical, it depends on what you’re going to be doing. If your goal is to travel the world, it should probably be a year.”

“You have to set an intention or purpose for the break, but also each day, even if it’s something small like a run. Otherwise, you drive yourself crazy because you’re living this semi-retired life,” he says. “When you get the time off you’ve always wanted, you realise how important it is to have an actual purpose in life.”

Come along and hear Pete’s sabbatical story, and how it’s completely changed his outlook on his agency. If you have questions over your agency’s future or are considering a break, this will be a very helpful session.