On Sabbatical

A self-paced online guided journey which helps you navigate your time away from work.

Give yourself time away from the whirlwind of work to explore what truly matters to you, redefine your ambition, and shape the next phase of your life with intention.

If you already know you want to buy 'On Sabbatical', let me save you the scroll:
It costs $125 plus your local sales tax, or $75 if you can't afford to pay the standard price.

If you want to find out more, read on!

Sabbaticals are on the rise

I don't want to keep grinding through work and life. I want to make a change. Not sure what but it's going to be a big one.
I used to love my work... but now the magic is gone. I can't stay but I'm not sure what to do instead.
I've been working 80-hour weeks for ages. I'm likely to get promoted in a couple of months but I want neither the jobs nor the lives that more senior people have at my company. I'm in the wrong career.

Research published by Harvard Business Review in February 2023 introduces three types of work sabbaticals. Those who take a working holiday usually do so to work on a passion project. Those who free dive into a sabbatical have usually reached the point where they "needed an adventure and a soul reset". Those who leave their current work path because it was untenable usually end up on deeply transformational quests. All those options often lead people through a truly transformational human experience.

Separately, an article by The Washington Post argues that an increasing number of workers across the economy may find that a career break is key to making their jobs work better for them. Some have mistaken this as an “end of ambition” among younger workers. But interviews and research suggest that’s wrong. This isn’t an end of ambition. It’s a redefining of it.

A sabbatical sounds awesome but...

I've worked hard ever since I entered the job market. I got promoted fast, landed great jobs and am well-recognised in my company and my industry. I'm really worried about how much of dent this going to make in my career.
I'm really worried about money. I can live off of my savings for a while but I can't afford to not make money for a long time.
You say sabbaticals can 'unveil a radically new sense of self'. What if mine doesn't and I've wasted my time? What if it does and I don't like it?
I'll be alone... who helps when I'm stuck?

You are not alone!

I've created a self-paced online experience for people who have already taken the leap.

I will accompany you from the moment you step out of your working environment to the moment you start shaping what you want the next phase of your life to look like. I won't tell you what that phase should look like, but I will point you in useful directions, point out typical challenges you might run into, and help you shape an environment from which true transformation can emerge.

Here are some of the topics you'll get insight into

Intentions, phases and transitions

Resting: easier said that done

Reconnecting with your true 'wants'

Starting from a blank page

Building an abundance mindset

Redefining your relationship to money and work

Nomading as an accelerator for transformation

Becoming the author of your life

Here's what it looks like on the platform

In each section, you will find short videos, useful resources, short exercises and longer quests to help you reflect on your journey, and take action in a playful and constructive way. You'll also have access to a community of fellow sabbatical-takers.

An intro to me and my experience on sabbatical

After 12 years working intensely for big businesses in strategy and transformation roles, including 7 years in leadership and senior leadership positions, I decided to take an intentional break and go on a 12-month sabbatical starting in February 2022.

My first intention was to rest. My second intention was to figure out what kind of work I would end up doing, and life I would end up living, if I stepped out of the constraints of traditional work, stopped 'doing' things constantly, and followed my curiosity for a while.

Of course I was worried about the dent this would make in my career and about living off of the savings I had been building up for a house deposit. I was also terrified that 'following my curiosity' would result in me realising that I was not a curious person after all.

Now that my sabbatical has come to a close, I can say it: taking the leap was absolutely worth it!

I ended up taking on all sorts of small projects that were sparking my curiosity. I started writing regularly in February and started being active online in April. I designed my first-ever blog in March and my own website in August. I created a newsletter in September and was a guest on my first podcast that same month. I made my first YouTube video in December. I attended courses, workshops and retreats that helped me develop my writing, design and leadership skills in ways that aren't taught in the corporate world. The list goes on. All this while living in 6 different countries across the world, including 6 months in Indonesia.

This has been an incredible opportunity to reconnect with what matters most to me, define my own identity, and redefine what ambition looked like for me in both work and life. Something I had been finding impossible to do while working demanding jobs.

Your sabbatical unique, just like you

I’ve spoken to a bit more than 60 people about sabbaticals. Half of them were thinking about taking time off work, a third had already taken the leap and the rest were actively preparing for their time away, trying to figure out how to “make the most of it”.

That’s many hours of conversations in which I was given a window into people’s lives, their unique and complex love-hate relationship with work, their excitement at stepping off their familiar life path, and their fears at the idea of diving into the unknown.

65% of the people I talked with were calling in from the US, 15% from India, 10% from the UK. Half men, half women.

They were coming from everywhere in the business world, from big corporations and top consultancies to start-ups and not-for-profits. Some were software engineers and product managers in tech, others worked in finance, strategy or marketing roles. Some had only been working for a few years while others had been thriving in the business world for twenty years until something started feeling so off inside them that they could no longer ignore it.

Every single one of their journeys was unique.

Every single one of them has unique gifts to share. Taking proper time off work would allow them to grow and unleash those gifts.

Here's what people have said about 'On Sabbatical'

Meryl, 36 years old, from the UK.
On sabbatical after 13 years in a law career in Singapore and London.

Vikaash, 40 years old, from Bangalore, India.
On sabbatical after 23 years in corporate life. Last role as CEO of a large publicly listed company.

Cecile has done an amazing job putting together 'On Sabbatical'. As someone who is on that journey right now, I can relate to a lot of what has been included in this course. The structure, content and concise yet insightful topics really resonate and helps one understand and better prepare to explore more during their sabbatical.
Clearly, Cecile has combined a lot of personal insights along her journey with other learnings and resources. I love the summaries after each section and the resources section which are really a treasure for those who want to get more from their sabbatical.

Lin, 34 years old, originally from China and residing in the UK.
On sabbatical after over a decade in banking, consulting and EdTech across Beijing and London.

Raymond, 35 years old, from the US.
On sabbatical from a 12-year career in software engineering.

I’ve started the course and can confirm that Cécile has put together some excellent course materials! If a sabbatical is on your mind, the extraordinary value within this course is absolutely worth every penny and more!

More people are saying lovely things about my work

Nice words from Bill following our sabbatical conversation:

A shout-out from Heather, currently on sabbatical, in her newsletter:

A lovely thread of reflections from Imani, following our sabbatical conversation:

A shout-out from Paul in his weekly newsletter with 10,000+ readers:

You can also hear Michelle and I talk about our sabbatical experiences on Paul Millerd's Pathless Path over here: