My 3 biggest takeaways from my annual sabbatical + $50 Amazon Giveaway

January 22, 2019


After several weeks off for my annual winter sabbatical, I’m so excited to be back in the office diving right back in to some amazing branding projects for my sweet clients, kicking things off with my group coaching students inside the Heartfelt Brand Society, and so much more.

There’s nothing quite like being able to take time work off for a season of intentional rest and growth. But as much as I love that sweet time to recharge and reflect, I’m so excited to dive back into this work that I love so much!

During my time off I had plenty of opportunities to reflect on 2018, review what worked and what didn’t, and strategize for the year ahead. I created time to pour back into myself through books, great resources and even some podcasts.

Building an intentional morning routine

One of the biggest things for me during my time off was to build upon my current morning routine by focusing on incorporating some really strong certainty anchors: like journaling through specific prompts, mediation, and allowing as much time in the sunshine as possible.

Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I’m very much solar powered in the sense that I love being in the sunshine and soaking up as much vitamin D as I possibly can. By structuring my morning routine around a room that gets a lot of sunlight or, if weather permits, sitting on the back patio is something that instantly lifts my mood and allows me to really dive into that day in the best possible mindset.

So each day of my sabbatical I focused on intentionally starting my day by walking through the same morning routine. As a result, I was able to dig deeper into some strong takeaways from these days off that I would love to share with y’all and that I think you could benefit from in your own life and business.

PS : stick around until the end to enter the $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Takeaway #1 – Continual Refinement

The first takeaway that I really received in this experience was the idea of continual refinement within your business.

I think that it’s really easy, especially as we become more established as entrepreneurs, to fall into a mindset where we think we know everything. Or that we are so ahead of the curve and have all the answers that other people don’t.

And while we may excel in some areas and know a lot of things that maybe newer entrepreneurs don’t know, I think it’s really important that we continually remind ourselves that we are never done learning.  There is so much content and wisdom in the world to absorb that we can never be done learning.

In order to get my head in the right space to come back into the office, I sat down and took a hard look at my existing workflows and systems to see what me and my team could improve on. What was working? What wasn’t? What could we streamline and refine?

I found that some workflows I’ve been using for almost seven years still had ways that could be refined.

For example, with my incredible branding clients I guide them through a very specific workflow and it’s worked well over the past six plus years. But after putting it down on paper and taking an analytical look at it, I saw some really simple ways I can continue to streamline this specific workflow that would in the end elevate my client touch points.

It’s so easy to say don’t fix what ain’t broken, but if you don’t take the time to analytically look at your systems you’ll miss out on some great opportunities to elevate your workflows and your client experience.

Just because it works doesn’t mean it couldn’t work better.

Give yourself the gift of continuing to refine every facet of your business. Not just your workflows or systems, but also the client experience touchpoints or the tools you’re using to serve your clients well.


Choose to stay in touch with your vision.

As we are chasing after big beautiful goals in the New Year, it’s so easy to lose touch with our vision for how we want things to look or feel inside our businesses. As we get caught up in the day-to-day and implement the steps towards those goals, it can be easy for us to unintentionally get further and further away from that original vision.

In order to stay on track with your vision, you must check in with your vision on a regular basis:

  • Assess where you’re going
  • Why you’re going there
  • Why those specific goals are the goals you’re chasing after

Make this a part of your regular schedule so you never find yourself so far off track and distracted by #alltheshinythings.

Over my sabbatical I gave myself a “solo date” where I took myself out to coffee and brought my favorite notebook along.

I sat down and wrote out what my vision for my business looks like in the next year, three years and five years.

Since this is an exercise I do every year I then went back and reviewed what I wrote for my one year, three year and five year vision from last year and I was so encouraged to find that my vision was so similar yet had some very intentional shifts and growth.

Forcing myself to focus on those visions over and over again on a regular basis gives me the opportunity to not only understand not just what I’m doing in the day-to-day of my business, but it also gives me the gift to understand what it is I’m chasing after, how I can unite my team around those goals, and how I can be crafting services and experiences for my clients that help us all get where we want to go.

This is a must do! Everytime you sit down to plan out your month or add appointments to your calendar, I highly recommend putting a “solo date” on your calendar!

Take yourself to coffee, even if it’s just for the morning, and give yourself the gift of getting back in touch with your vision. Understand why it is you are doing what you do. How you are going to get there. And assess on at least a quarterly basis how you’re going to make that vision a reality.

If we don’t do this, we will find ourselves so far off course from what we actually want to pursue. But if you can stay close to that vision, then you have a better opportunity of making it happen.


Okay this one is slightly a joke. It’s more than just sleep, but trust me friend there is no substitute for good sleep. Over my sabbatical I took a lot of time to catch up on sleep, but I also did many other things to take care of myself.

It was so important for me to focus on continually refining my morning routine, prioritizing good quality sleep, sitting down and getting on the same page with my husband about how we want to improve our eating habits and our lifestyle choices, and creating a more realistic schedule with exercise a part of that daily routine.

I took time and looked inside my medicine cabinet and analyzed what supplements I was currently taking or needed to be taking.

If I can continually make small everyday choices that continue to make me the healthiest, happiest version of myself, then I know I’m taking the very best care of me.

Now I don’t want you to think it’s necessary for you to go on sabbatical just to catch up on sleep or figure out how to be the healthiest version of yourself, but I do believe that every top performing CEO and entrepreneur out there has really one thing in common and that’s that they are unified and consistent in their physical, mental and emotional wellness.

The consistency of their well being directly ties back to how they run their companies and how they are visionaries for the brands they are building. They understand that if they aren’t taking care of themselves there is no one to stand at the helm of that ship that is their business.

I think we all need to take a page out of their book and understand that we don’t have to sacrifice our own well being for the sake of the entrepreneurial journey or in order to run successful, profitable businesses.

In fact I would argue that in order for us to be the most successful that we can be in our businesses we first have to be the healthiest we can be in our lives.


With all that to say, my sabbatical was a very sweet time of rest, celebrating the holidays with friends and family and dreaming big for what 2019 has in store.

As a part of that I want to invite you, sweet friend, into that conversation with me.

On top of everything I’ve learned over the past few weeks on my annual sabbatical, I’m diving back into a year where I want to figure out the best ways to continue to serve my audience well. One of the simplest ways I can make that happen is by getting super valuable feedback from you through a quick anonymous survey!

As a thank you for taking the survey I’m giving everyone a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and the winner will be announced later in February.

Take the survey here!

My 3 biggest takeaways from my annual sabbatical and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. | b is for bonnie design #brandesigner #brandstrategy #givewaway

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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