In this episode of Art of Online Business, I’m getting super vulnerable and peeling back the curtains so you can see what’s going on at the Rick Mulready headquarters. In this special episode, I’m sharing why I decided to take a sabbatical from my business for my own mental well-being.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make. But the truth is, I’m always my own worst critic and this is a necessary next step for my health. I’ve been struggling with burnout for several months now, and after feeling mentally and physically exhausted every day, I decided this is what I need to do.
I always talk about prioritizing and focusing on your health and your family above all else. It's the foundational business principle and one that I'm always trying to help others with. This is why I’m doing this for myself now and what you can expect from me going forward.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How long my sabbatical will be and when it will start
- The symptoms of burnout I recognized in myself
- The foundational business principle I’m prioritizing
- What I plan to do during this time
- How I plan to make coaching more accessible in the future
- What I’m doing with my Accelerator coaching program
- How I got to this point
- Why taking a stance for your own health and happiness is so important
Links & Resources:
- The Art of Online Business website
- DM me on Instagram
- Visit my YouTube channel
- The Art of Online Business clips on YouTube
- Full episodes of The Art of Online Business Podcast on YouTube
- The Art of Online Business Podcast website
- Check out my Accelerator coaching program
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use and love and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
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The Invisible Struggle: Navigating Mental Health as an Entrepreneur | w/ Shulamit Ber Levtov
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All right. What is up, my friend? Welcome to a special episode here of the Art of Online Business podcast. Rick here. And I'm going to try to peel back the curtains about what's going on over here at Rick Mulready headquarters. As I sit in my office here looking out the window recording this. I'm going to get super vulnerable with you here today. So if you don't like vulnerability and just just getting real,
that would be a good time to stop because that's going to happen here. So I want to take this opportunity on this episode here today to share with you that I have decided to take a sabbatical. I'm going to take a sabbatical from the business for mental wellbeing reasons. I'm going to do a 90 day sabbatical and that's the sabbatical is going to start on May 1st. And this was not an easy decision to come to at all. I feel like I've been I feel like I've done something wrong. If, to be honest with you, to allow myself to get to this point. I mean, after all, this is how I this is huge part of how I help people. But I'm always my own worst critic, and it is a necessary next step for my health. What I've realized is that I've been struggling with burnout for several months now. And it's so much easier to see burnout in others than it is in ourselves.
It got to a point where I was tired and I was lethargic constantly, regardless of how much sleep I got. And I did chalk it up to like, All right, you know what? Well, I just didn't sleep well last night, so I need to get more sleep and I need to be doing more exercise or what have you. I wasn't having as much fun or finding joy in the business and the things that I normally do have fun with and find joy with. I found myself being short with Maya, my daughter, and Amy, my wife, on a regular basis. My anxiety was through the roof and I went through frequent bouts of depression. I've talked about the struggles with anxiety here on the podcast before. It's something I've struggled with since I was a kid. And it's been kind of a roller coaster over my life. And. I figured this burn out period was just another period of anxiety, which is fairly normal for me, as I just mentioned.
And I didn't listen to any of the signs that, you know, the the lethargy, lethargy and being tired and being cranky and, you know, not having as much fun and enjoyment. I didn't I didn't listen to any of those signs until the last month or so. What happened was I was starting to get I started getting headaches every day. And that's not normal for me at all.
And I was starting to get headaches every day. I started getting this weird muscle spasm near my left eyebrow and I had brain fog, what felt like every day. And frankly, I've continued feeling exhausted, both mentally and physically every day. It's gotten better recently. And I think it's gotten better because I allowed myself to to do this, which I'll talk more about here in a minute. And so all this was all taking a toll on me as well as with my time with Maya and Amy. You know, I wasn't present.
When I was at the park with Maya, for example, or playing Peppa Pig with her, which we do frequently. Amy and I would be talking, for example, and my mind just could not focus. And it was really the headaches that were the last straw. I knew something needed to change, that I needed to take a step back and take a break. And 90 days was kind of the first length of a break that that came to mind. So when I started thinking about this, the first conversation I had about this was with Emily, my bookkeeper and CFO, to see if a sabbatical like this was even possible financially, I had no idea. And when I when I share with her what's been happening and how I've been feeling, she affirmed for me that, hey, you know what? Sabbaticals should be on the table.
It should be something to consider. And just hearing that from my CFO, that was a huge relief. And. She asked me. I'll never forget this. She asked me, She said, How does it feel to hear that? That a sabbatical can be on the table. And I remember just feeling this like this. A big exhale, almost like the weight of my shoulders just dropped. And it just. Just thinking that. Was amazing, which is really interesting in and of itself. Right.
That just that thought had such a big impact on how I was feeling. And so also in that conversation with Emily, we went through worst case scenarios in the business for when I came back from the sabbatical, we went through best case scenarios. I'm very, very thorough when I make a decision and I like to look at things from from all angles. Now, I knew that it wouldn't be the worst case scenario, right? But I'm also prepared for worst case scenario. I'm prepared for whatever happens. You know, whatever happens after the sabbatical, I'll deal with it like something. You know, this break needs to happen. So after I had the conversation with Emily, I then had several conversations with with Amy about it, and she was very much on board. You know, once we had, you know, the financial conversation, you know, to All right, we're okay. She was very much on board with taking an extended break.
One of the first things she said to me was this might mean we get to have you back. And hearing. Hearing this crushed me. She she knew I'd been struggling for a while now, and obviously she saw firsthand how it affected me and also my role as a as a dad. You know, to to Maya and a husband. And I knew that if I didn't take a break, that I would break in some way. And of course, I don't want that happening. Right. I always talk about prioritizing and focusing on your health and your family above all else. It's the foundational business principle and one that I'm always trying to help others with. Help you with. You know, listeners of the show here, everybody that I work with in my coaching program, ET Cetera.
It's something that I preach since day one, and I need to prioritize my mental health right now to get back to me, to get back to being way more present with Maya and with Amy and taking care of my brain and overall health. So what this looks like for me is a 90 day sabbatical beginning May 1st. And. I'm very aware that doing something like this is very privileged. That's something I've really been sort of wrestling with in my mind. I'm like, Who am I to be able to do this sort of thing? And I'm beyond grateful that I'm able to take an extended break.
But I'm very aware of, you know, of this and this opportunity that I do have. So what am I going to do during this time? I plan to spend time relaxing and exercising and spending more time with Maya and Amy and bass fishing and reflecting. And I'm also going to be going back to New Hampshire to visit my mom, where she is finally now in an assisted living facility, which has been both hard and also really, really good for her. I'm also going to be spending some time on a passion project that I've been working on sort of on the on the down low, which you'll hear more about in the not so distant future.
And just to give you an idea of what it is, you you can see hopefully you can hear in my voice as I get it, because I'm really excited about this. This is something that has been bringing me a lot of joy and a lot of excitement. So to give you an idea of what it is. I am creating a tool where you will be able to pick my brain 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's right. You'll be able to ask questions about your business whenever you want and get actual coaching from me based on the decades worth of knowledge and experience.
That I've gained while I've been running my online business for ten years. It's really, really cool. And I think this is going to be I think this is something that's going to make getting expert coaching on growing your business infinitely more accessible for people. And allow me to have even greater impact for people who maybe wouldn't have been able to get coaching. This will be the this will be an opportunity for them to do that and for you to do that. Now you're probably thinking, Rick, what are you talking about right now? Well, this is something like I said, stay tuned on this.
Really, really passionate about this. And I'm really excited about it. And so stay tuned for more information on that. So. What have I. What have I done with the business or what am I doing with the business during the sabbatical? So I have paused my accelerator coaching program for the 90 days. I announced this to the members a few weeks ago and everyone's been really supportive with the announcement, at least outwardly, at least outwardly to me. If they're feeling differently, you know, they're frustrated. I totally get that. But I've I've experienced nothing but support and, you know, positivity from them. I've created a wait list. So for applications to coach with me in Accelerator, I've created a wait list for those of you who want to coach with me inside the program after the sabbatical.
This podcast, it will continue during the sabbatical. I have batched a bunch of episodes ahead of time. I'm dropping down to one episode per week. Rather than the normal twice per week during the sabbatical. So you're still going to get episodes here so you can still, you know, stay subscribed and tuned in here to the podcast each week. I'll be doing one episode per week on Wednesdays, and like I said, they've all been batched prior to and they're really good episodes coming up.
I have also scaled back everything in the business, including my team, but I have kept on my three full time Filipina assistants and they're just amazing. I didn't want this sabbatical to affect, you know, their pay because they rely on this. So I didn't want this to affect them. And they're also working on this passion project that I just mentioned. So they'll be plenty busy. But I told them straight off the bat when I when I told them I was going to be taking sabbatical, this is not affect their their pay. Now. Also, I won't be in the DMS or in email. But if you do happen to email me, my team is going to be checking email occasionally, but just expect a little longer. The normal response. So you might be asking, How did I get here? How did I get to the point where the burnout got so bad affecting my mental health and well being and needing to make a change? Well, to be honest with you, I feel like I'm still working through that and trying to figure that out because I don't work more than 25 hours a week in the business, yet I still feel like I'm going, going, going.
I have a hard time shutting my brain off in the evenings or on the weekends, which is really exhausting. It's way better than it used to be, but it still it still happens. And that, you know, constant brain just thinking is really exhausting. And I feel like I think I've shared on the podcast here before, but I figured out a few years ago that I kind of live with a with this, you know, this anxiety. I kind of live with a low level sort of underlying fight or flight state, which is not good, right? And that's also exhausting and that affects everything. And this is something I'm actively working on.
And as I'm being honest with you, I've considered another thing that's contributed to the to the burnout. See, I've. I don't think I've ever talked about this before. I've struggled my entire life with this feeling of I'm not good enough in different situations. And this comes out for me sometimes when I'm coaching in my program. You see, I want the people that I choose to work with to succeed so much.
I want nothing but for them to have everything that they want. That I can often have a difficult time setting boundaries with myself. That's right. Setting boundaries with myself. Meaning if somebody I'm working with is not yet having the success that they want or something didn't go as well as they were hoping for, that not good enough feeling will rear its ugly head in the form of my feeling like I've let them down. Which I know it's not. I know that's not true. I know that I haven't let them down. That success is completely up to them. Right? But I do find myself taking this sort of thing on more often than I care to admit to.
And over time, I've realized fairly recently that it's affected me mentally and physically. And that's just, you know, over and over. That's just wearing. And so these are just some of the things that I'll be working on and reflecting on during during the sabbatical. And like I said, I don't know, I'm working. I'm still working through it, all these things. And how did I get to this point? And like I mentioned earlier, I do sort of feel like I failed in some way to allow myself to get to this point. But hey, I'm human, right? And my hope that by sharing all this with you, sharing the fact that, you know, hey, I'm taking a sabbatical and sort of why why this is happening and how I got here and, you know, everything that's affected and so forth.
My hope is that by sharing with you that I'm putting my mental health and well-being first and, you know, taking an extended break, it shows you that taking a stance for your health and for your happiness. Is possible. And hey, I want to tell you, nobody has it all figured out. No matter what they say, no matter what you hear on podcasts or you know what, they nobody has it all figured out. There's always something going on. So. So for you, maybe it's not a 90 day break. Maybe it's a week or two or 3 or 4.
Maybe it's just stepping back and rethinking your business. Is it actually set up for what you really want in life? Is it set up so that it's built around your life and not the other way around? Are you chasing the right goals in your business or are you chasing meaningful goals? Are you building the business that you want and not what somebody else is calling a successful business? And I hope this opens up some dialog around the seriousness of burnout as so few people will admit to being burnt out. Yet I know first hand like especially recently where I've mentioned this to a few different people and so forth, like I know firsthand this is going on a lot that so many people are experiencing right now.
But for whatever reason, they don't want to talk about it or admit to it or do something about it, and they just want nothing but rest. And so, yeah, I hope that this opens up some dialog around that. It's okay that you're feeling this way and there are options to try to deal with it. So if you made it this far in the episode. Thank you so much for listening and for allowing me to open up and be vulnerable today with you. As always, I appreciate you and thanks for tuning in each week to the podcast here.
Remember, I've got more episodes coming your way lined up. They're all batched and they'll be coming just one one episode per week on Wednesdays. And oh, by the way, when I'm when I'm batching these episodes, when I've been batching these episodes for May, June and July, doing one episode per week, I was like, man, like, I'm getting through these really quickly. This is what it was like doing one episode per week. This is so much easier than two episodes per week because I've been doing it for for so long. But yeah, they're batched out. Wednesday episodes coming your way. So until next time my friend, Appreciate you. Be well and I'll talk to you soon.