I’m doing something I’ve never done — I’m taking a personal sabbatical.
For the next six weeks, we can think of it like a big ol’ rest day amidst training for life.
I’m excited, a bit nervous and very grateful for a team that is ALL IN for this moment. While I am stepping away, they are jumping in and ready to lead you through one heck of an amazing summer.
We’re also celebrating this as an opportunity to elevate voices from this community, feature fun guests, share more from our team, bring you into our ideas and launch some big plans for fall and winter!
What I want you to know more than anything: Our team is celebrating this, because this is normal and healthy.
I want to normalize women stepping away — in whatever that might be for them — not because something is wrong, but because something is right.
We have big dreams for 2022, and I need to be mentally and physically ready to chase them. I know what’s ahead, and I know the work it will require — the last thing I want to do is put myself in a position where I resent the work, the dream, the vision. I’m far too smart to think I can come in with a half tank of gas and go the whole distance. (I’ve tried that — it’s called BURNOUT.)
I think of it like how Ali’s physical therapist described it this past week to us as she was doing her exercises. “You can’t take out withdrawals unless you’ve put in the deposits.” For Ali, it’s strengthening her foot so she can return to sports. For me, it’s strengthening my mental and physical health so I can kick ass and have fun this upcoming year.
Or, think of it like this: When we take rest days during training, it’s not because we can’t get out there and run, it’s because our muscles need a moment of stillness to rebuild and get even stronger.
This is the same. I’m taking a rest day so that I can come back even stronger.
Women shouldn’t wait until they are on fire to look for water — we need to take a break before we break down.
Also, this: Celebrate this with me. We are conditioned as women to think something is wrong when a high-achieving, goal-oriented woman takes a rest day. I can assure you that I’m filled with tremendous amounts of JOY and excitement right now. When I look back on my life, I don’t want to attach my worth to how many days I worked, but rather, how many days I fully lived.
I joked with my team that it feels like I’m going off on maternity leave with a new little baby, except that baby is actually me. I’m taking care of myself, and wow, it feels incredible.
Okay, now that you’ve got the news, here are some other fun things to know!
Why is this decision even possible?
Since starting this business nearly a decade ago, I’ve never been able to fully step away from it. Even when I gave birth to Maggie, I remember checking my emails later that week to ensure projects were moving forward. For the past two years, driven by the leadership and vision of my business partner Jen, we’ve built a talented, capable and kickass team of women who manage and direct different areas of this business.
When I told the team I was going to step away for the next six weeks, I was met with immediate support and ‘we’ve got you.’ It almost felt like a maternity leave moment, where the team is so excited for you to take time away and they’re already taking things off your plate so you don’t have to worry.
Jen and I have worked through our plan for the next six months, we have our goals set, and we are so excited. I’ve spent the last month creating and putting together the vision for some really fun races, challenges and projects, and now, our team is ready to execute and bring it all to life.
- A new fall race that we’re calling the Fall 5. It will feature a 5K and five-mile distance. It’ll take place Friday evening, October 1st, and the focus will be on fall temps, fun times and enjoying our friendships.
- Opening registration for my oceanside retreat, Breakthrough & Begin. We’ve got eight spots left, and I’d love to see you there. Also, this will be the third and last time I offer this specific retreat. I’ve given the curriculum one last refresh, and I’m so grateful to teach it one more time. If you’ve been thinking about attending these past two years, now is the time.
- A three-month fitness challenge that focuses on finishing 2021 strong. It will focus on minutes of movement through October, November and December, and YES, it will lead us right into the #ffholidaychallenge! This challenge will be inclusive of all fitness levels and goals and, most importantly, create accountability, fun and motivation during an often stressful time of year.
- The framework for our signature Made to Move race this coming June 11. I mean, BIG THINGS COMING, ladies!
- Bringing you a fresh and fun holiday collection that focuses on gift-giving and splurges for yourself!
That should do for a bit, right? Ladies, so much good stuff is coming!
Being able to do this is a privilege.
I recognize that my ability to step away and be with my family is a privilege many women do not have. I recognize this. During this past year, the uneven and unfair burdens placed on women — specifically mothers, and even more specifically, women of color who are mothers — was laid bare for all of us to see. And the more I learn from organizations like &Mother and Every Mother Counts, I am acutely aware of how privileged I am to have an ecosystem around me — work and family — that isn’t just tolerating my decision, but celebrating it. I am in the minority in being able to make this decision. There are women in this country whose work, insurance, home, family, financial or economic situation does not create a safe and accessible path to stepping away.
I have no fear of retribution, loss of advancement opportunities or being labeled or perceived as uncommitted for making this choice. Sadly, I believe I’m in the minority of what so many women face in the workplace.
I just think it’s important to call out and acknowledge my privilege in this choice. It doesn’t make it a bad choice and it’s different than feeling guilty for making it — my work is being part of discussions and using my voice to help advocate for safer work environments that support women’s needs around mental health, maternal and family care needs, encouraging flexible schedules as a norm and rethinking business as usual.
And lastly, I just want to be there for Jason and my girls right now.
For this entire past year, my family has seen me at the kitchen table typing away at this keyboard. They’ve supported me, worked around me, prioritized me and loved me through one of the craziest years ever. Our family has shown so much resilience, and the way my girls have adapted makes me so, so proud.
It’s time to love up on my wonderful family, and in all honesty, they need me more than anyone right now.
Our other family business, 608 Threads, is booming and growing! It’s been wonderful, but it’s also been really crazy. Jason is working insane hours, and I need to be there for him, both as a supporter within the business, but also at home with the girls. I want him to know that I’ve got him, I’ve got our kids, I’ve got our schedule, I’ve got the carpool, I’ve got US. He has made hundreds of little sacrifices for me and my business over the years, and now, I need him to feel the full weight of my support and love.
What to expect from sabbatical Mel?
I have no idea! I do know that our team won’t miss a beat with sharing all the fun stuff we have coming. I also know our plan is to highlight and elevate voices from within this community these next several weeks!!! I'm so thrilled about this.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be dropping in to say hello and share what’s happening these next weeks, but I’ll just trust whatever feels good and easy. Maybe I’ll write, maybe I won’t. I will say I’m super excited for morning coffee, morning runs and grocery shopping. (I usually loathe grocery shopping because I’m always in a hurry!) And, I joked with my girlfriends the other night that I’m stupid excited about finally spending a day looking for a damn couch! OMG our leather couches are in rough shape and, yes, these are the little things that I’m looking forward to finally focusing on.
I think what I’m most excited about is unplugging the mental ticker that has been running in my head for these past ten years. I’m excited to wake up and just exist in the day and enjoy them as they come.
You can look forward to so many good things while I’m gone! I’m actually really excited to watch my team and this community shine in this way. It’s going to be really, really good.
P.S. If you haven’t listened to Glennon’s new We Can Do Hard Things podcast, do it!!! The episode called Overwhelm will help you understand all of this even more. I AM SISTER. If you know, you know.