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  • Writer's pictureLeeanne Carson-Hughes

The Savvy Leader #9 - Why you may need a mini retirement

I don’t know about you, but I had a long bucket list of things to do “someday”.

They were actually really important to me but the time never seemed right to step away from my career to pursue them.

I didn’t just want a 2 week holiday to visit a destination but rather an intentional break from all work to single mindedly pursue those things that I had always wanted to do and experience.

What do we usually do?

Well, we book a 2 or 3 week holiday and try to jam as many things in while secretly checking work emails without the family noticing.

Or we visit our parents or attend children’s events like school camps to make up for lost time with them but our mind is still in work mode.

Maybe we wait until “retirement ” and hopefully have enough health and time to do the things that matter.


And while we can absolutely tick off some things and have some amazing experiences in smaller spaces of time, the reality for me is that I was at the point where I needed more than small and sporadic adventures.

Because I realised…. the most important thing is actually the most important thing.

And it was time to get serious about pursuing the most important things.

The options

I starting reading about grey gap years and sabbaticals and that is where I came across Tim Ferris's work and his book "The four hour work week".

Tim describes the concept of a mini retirement.

Why save up all your retirement goals, $ and time for when you are older.

Why not take regular breaks from your career to pursue your goals throughout your career and have more balance in your life.

So what is a mini retirement?

It is a planned extended break from work, allowing individuals to explore new experiences, travel, personal projects or learning endeavours.

It's an opportunity to embrace life's adventures while stepping away from the 9-to-5 grind. 

It is in effect, the art of placing more value on time and experiences than money and status in the pursuit of happiness.


Sort of.

I am married, have personal responsibilities, am self-employed, had clients and commitments so would be stepping away from my life, business and my income to pursue a few months of travel dreams for my first mini retirement.

What would people say, how would this look to the market and would this self indulgent pursuit of happiness be perceived to be negative?

But I loved what Tim Ferris said:

Reality is largely negotiable.

If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.

That sold it for me. I had my method now I just needed an action plan.

Here are the steps I took:

​1. List the most important things you want to do. Things that you would regret not doing on your death bed. For me it was it was an extended European self drive adventure.

2. Make the plan and then enact it no matter what people say.

3. Cross out the diary for months, save the $ and book the trip.

4. Go….and be present in the moment of whatever your adventure is - sip the wine, throw open your shutters in a French village in the morning, visit your grandfathers Irish village and live your best life.

5. Rinse and repeat - plan the next mini retirement!

What did I learn from my first mini retirement

Making the decision to do this was the hardest step, actually doing it is just a series of actions that you commit to.

As I was leaving I also wondered if I would have some major epiphany about my life while I was away.

Actually I did.

I realised that I love my life just as it is. I love my work and all the people I get to work with and I feel excited about my future. But I loved taking time out to do the most important things.

I came back feeling grateful, relieved and at peace.

I learnt that some journeys simply lead you back to where you were always meant to be.

So if you have unfulfilled desires and dreams to spend time with children, pursue a passion project, travel, write a book, simply wander, restore a car, rest, look after aging parents or study then maybe a mini retirement is for you.

Go for it!


Please do reach out if you think my coaching may help you with work out what your journey could look like.

Connect with me on LinkedIn - I share insights there regularly.


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