Professional Opinion: Maxie McCoy on When—and How—to Take a Sabbatical

Have you ever had a moment of such intense frustration that your mind wandered to ditching it all, putting your things in storage, moving to a foreign country to just be, and create. You probably shrugged it off as totally illogical. Completely impossible. Crazy. And irresponsible. But what you should really do the next time your mind goes there is go for it. Literally do it. Take the leap.

Around this time last year, a version of this happened to me. I had a dream business I wanted to launch. Everything else seemed like a block to it. A loud whisper told me to go. Instead of pushing it down, I gave it a microphone. And I went—to the other side of the world to Bali—where I created the foundation for my now very real dream. The next time you get the urge, call or screaming whisper to take some significant time away, re-read the answers to these questions, because they're probably the very same questions that are holding you back. 

What if I don't have enough in the bank?

I didn’t either. Truly. When I thought about needing to go away and jumpstart my dream, it was the last thing I had thought about or financially planned for. But then I learned the power of “and” by getting over my own fear. I learned it didn’t have to be one or the other—I could work a bit and still go away to work on my dream. I talked through it with a team that I loved, and had work I was grateful for. It was a win-win for everyone.

If that’s not realistic, then create a plan for what you would need. Having lived in a dream-place like Bali, it’s amazing how much less you need for your day to day. Get out an excel sheet. See what you’re working with. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.

Having space will provide clarity beyond anything you can imagine.

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What would I do solo for so long?

Everything. Nothing. Anything. You might surf. Or write. Or better yet create the foundation for your future business. Hire an intern to help you move things along. Finally sit down to create the business plan. Meditate. Stare at the ceiling. Having space will provide clarity beyond anything you can imagine. You’ll get into the groove of uninhibited creativity. And it’ll be momentum that will carry you and your dream work forward.

No matter what you do, you’ll learn what it means to find happiness and comfort from within. You’ll learn to rely on yourself for the comforts you need, instead of your usual external go-tos. And you’ll likely meet a lot of friends along the way, whether you stay close to home or travel to a faraway continent.

Will people think I’m crazy?

Totally possible. I’m sure many people thought I was. But the right people got it. And that’s what matters. Largely, people who are openly judgemental are simply experiencing something within themselves as they watch you go after something awesome.

And regardless of who judges, and who raises an eyebrow, I can promise you this: When you return, everyone will want to talk to you. You’ll be the business launch that has a very fun story. And you’ll have an experience so important to the development of your soul and your work in this world that what 'they' think is rockingly irrelevant.

Everyone needs some space. Space to breathe. To dance. And most importantly to dream. There’s no better place to jumpstart your future than on a sabbatical.

Maxie McCoy is the energy designer of Maxie, where she shares soul wisdom on the digital video series #maxie and her weekly writings. Maxie offers soul sessions, workshops, one-on-one coaching, and words of wisdom you really shouldn't miss. If you want your spiritual and emotional IQ shooting to the stars, follow along at

Kate Williams

Writer + editorial director in Los Angeles. Reading books + watching palm trees.