3 Reasons You Need to Be Prepared for a Year Off

"Chinese state media on Saturday reported the first known death from a new virus that has infected dozens of people in China and set off worries across Asia."

New York Times - January 11th, 2020

In case there was any confusion about how much the world cares about your plans for the future, 2020 made it abundantly clear. My clients lost jobs, got sick, shut down their businesses, and became homeschool teachers almost overnight. This year has not gone as planned for anyone. 

Despite the craziness, many people have thrived during the turmoil. They took this opportunity to expand their business, learn a new skill, or repair an old relationship. They can do this because they are prepared for what might happen. 

I didn’t know a global pandemic was coming, but I knew something was because it always does. In my life, as well as the lives of my clients, the only consistent is the unexpected. Below are three themes I saw this year that tested the limits of my friends, family, and clients. 

Job Loss

With an unprecedented 20% unemployment occurring almost instantly, job losses affected more people than ever this year. One day you’re paying your bills and buying crap you don’t need from Amazon, and the next, you are trying to figure out how to pay rent.

Sudden loss of employment creates one of two scenarios. Those with no savings, no backup plan, and no network to leverage found themselves lost. They were relegated to collecting unemployment checks and waiting for the economy to get better.

The second group prepared for a global pandemic and major global catastrophe. They didn’t prepare for this scenario specifically, but they were ready for anything. With money in the bank and weekends spent learning new skills, they were able to thrive in turmoil, not merely survive.

Many events that happen will be outside of your control, but most are not. You are 100% in charge of how prepared you are for the next calamity.

Health Issues

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but nothing destroys a good thing like sudden health issues. The young and healthy usually feel invincible. Those getting up in age a few years know what it’s like to injure themselves during a strenuous activity like sleeping. 

Health issues affect everything. You can lose your job, lose your savings, and lose your ability to take care of your family. Just as bad, you can lose your motivation to continue pursuing your dreams.

Even more troublesome than being bedridden by a mystery disease is having one strike a loved one instead. You can be a model of perfect health, but if medical trouble finds your family, you will encounter the same stress on your job, money, and attitude as if it were you.

Prepare for something health-related to go wrong in your life, because it always does.

Inspiration Strikes

Enough with the negatives, what if great things are happening? It only takes one conversation to change the trajectory of your life. 

I’ve had clients suddenly discover they want to work with the elderly. Many find a passion for starting their own business. One went back to school in his forties to become a doctor. 

Inspiration may strike while you are sitting on a beach with a cold drink, or it may attack while you are waiting for your government check to show up. Either way, when you have a glimpse of where you want your life to go, it can’t be money that holds you back. 

Prepare for a year off, because you never know when one will be forced upon you. Hopefully, it never is, but much of that is out of your control. You may even decide to force one upon yourself. Are you ready for that? 

Taking a year off isn’t about traveling the world and sitting on a beach. It’s about preparing for a time when you can’t travel the globe…and the beaches are closed. Change in your life may be positive, or it may be harmful, but rest assured it’s coming. 

Another unpredictable event is very predictable. Are you ready?