In May of 2011, I had had enough. The previous five years had been spent in very public executive roles, ramping up new ventures for other people. All of them, at their core, were about helping others, so I can say that I had passion about what I was doing. But the reality was that I didn’t wholeheartedly agree with the approaches taken, nor was I in an ownership position to where I could create the change that I wanted to see. Being the perfectionist that I am, I had pushed myself to exhaustion. I had gone as far as I could go. It must be like what someone in a survival situation feels. Trudging through the snow, forcing one foot in front of the other, just trying to get over the next horizon to hopefully see salvation on the other side. In my particular situation, the only way to survive was to stop. I was overweight, not giving enough attention to my wife, and worst of all, my daughter was two years old and turning into a little person. I knew that if I missed the opportunity to be the best dad I could be the first few years of her life before she started school, I would never forgive myself.
Like the saying goes in reference to the definition of insanity, I would have been a fool to keep going in the same direction, doing the same things and expecting different results. It was time for a change.
During those chaotic times, my wife and I had fantasized about moving to Costa Rica. We love it there. We would vacation there and dream of what it would be like to trade in the ‘rat race’ for la ‘pura vida’. So that is exactly what we did for one year.
The time there proved to be exactly what we needed. With no television and no work distractions, we completely focused on each other and our daughter. My wife enrolled in a yoga certification course and became a yoga instructor. I surfed, meditated, journaled, and contemplated my next move. We used bicycles as our main mode of transportation and became a part of the little beach community that we had relocated to. We spent nearly all of our time outdoors, recreating… and re-creating.
Several truths were realized during this chapter of my life. I knew that I could only ever work for myself, I knew that whatever I did needed to allow me to spend all the time I wanted to with my children, and I knew that without spending time outdoors, I was nothing. I craved that connection with nature more than I knew.
My passion for shave oil had only grown stronger over the past years, and I felt the time had come to start pursuing it. I was still perplexed as to how mainstream shaving cream and gel manufacturers used toxic ingredients and how the market was not demanding a superior, organic alternative. I was convinced that the next decade would see the conscience consumer movement effect the shaving industry in the same way that it had groceries, coffee, and countless other industries. Someone was going to lead that revolution, and it might as well be me.
So I began to formulate my own. I found a certified aroma therapist, and embarked on formulating the perfect shave oil. I started sending samples to my friends and family to let them know what I was working on. One of my childhood friends who I have always held in the highest regard was one of the recipients. I kept bugging him for feedback, and when he finally gave it a try, he was floored. This was a huge validation for me, as Travis doesn’t touch anything he isn’t passionate about. Even more importantly, I had found a counterpart that I was excited to work with. What happened next was the most exciting project I have ever undertaken, the creation of TICO*.
Have you ever taken a sabbatical? Taken advantage of a transitional phase in your life to check out momentarily to eliminate the noise that life creates and focus in on what is important to you? If so, please share it with me, I would love to hear your story and what it meant to you.