🦋 Come-to-Jesus Moments
How making space can trigger major changes
I quit my job when I got back from vacation. It was August 2021, and I felt like the Grim Reaper calling “time of death” on the projects I was meant to tackle in the coming months.
I expected my bosses to be shocked—potentially pissed off—that I was quitting days after a two-week vacation. Surely they’d think, “Why didn’t you tell us beforehand to give us extra notice?” But to my surprise, they understood. One of the Directors, who’s a veteran entrepreneur, said something I’ll always remember. He said:
“Don’t feel bad. It’s normal to have these “come-to-Jesus” moments when you take a break and remove yourself from your typical environment.”
I’d never heard that expression. But I resonated with its meaning:
“Come-to-Jesus moments: a moment of sudden realization, comprehension, or recognition that often precipitates a major change.”
My come-to-Jesus moment happened once I was back on the job. But in the lead-up, I spent two weeks in Miami refuelling the energy I’d expended over the seven months prior (since I’d last taken a break at Christmas). I’d been running a twelve-week, full-time program for recent graduates looking to dip their toes in the startup world. Not to mention a rigorous, month-long application process fielding hundreds of essay questions and video submissions, plus live workshops. It was an incredible experience. But it was also a marathon. And I was exhausted by the end of it.
I needed to get away—on vacation. At least that’s what I thought. So I decided to meet some friends in Florida. I wanted to see the ocean after a long time apart (Covid times). Being waterside has always been a source of rejuvenation for me. And when I finally saw the ocean in such a state of burnout, I couldn’t help but cry tears of gratitude.
After many lockdowns, curfews, and other stifling restrictions in Paris and Montreal (I was living in Paris at the start of the pandemic), it was freeing to stand on the beach and take in the beauty beyond it.
It took me four days to shift out of work mode (i.e., stop constantly checking Slack and email on my phone). But I eventually calmed down and got into a groove of going to the beach, strolling along the shore, perusing local markets, and being present with those I was with. It felt really good. It was the most I’d felt like myself in a long time.
But then I came back. And despite thinking I was ready to dive into another academic year (our programs ran in sync with the university calendar), I was barely into day two when I felt so burnt out I had to physically lie down. I realized something was wrong. Something about my role was making me physically sick. And that was my final push to quit my job and take a run at entrepreneurship.
I’d always had a gut feeling I was meant to be self-employed. I’m independent and adaptable, and I value freedom and learning above most other things, so it seemed like an optimal path for me. But I never felt “ready” to take the leap. Until suddenly, I did.
I credit that trip to Miami. The combination of the beach, the vibrant art scene, and the Spanish culture added much-needed flavour to my life at a time when things felt bland. And I brought that flavour home to Montreal to embark on a new chapter—or hell, more like a new novel.
I realize now how valuable it is to take time off, not just to reset for the job you have but to evaluate your life as a whole. Is the job you have the job you want? Does it align with the lifestyle you desire? Is it bringing you joy?
Until you stop and step away, it’s hard to answer these questions objectively. The catch with prompting come-to-Jesus moments is you have to take breaks. Whether it’s a long weekend, a staycation, or a longer trip to a different place, the further you get mentally from your day-to-day work, the healthier and more productive you’ll feel coming back.
My question to you is, when are you taking your next break and how are you going to make the most of it by disconnecting?
I’m practicing what I preach by taking a vacation of my own. As a family tradition, I’m headed to Maine on Friday and I’m looking forward to a week of beach time and fresh seafood. I’ve notified my clients I’ll be away and (for the first time) I’ve scheduled my next newsletter so I can fully disconnect. I look forward to sharing any come-to-Jesus moments that result from it once I’m back.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week,
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