Please enjoy this transcript of my second interview with Jerry Colonna (@jerrycolonna), the CEO and co-founder of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm dedicated to the notion that better humans make better leaders. For nearly 20 years, Jerry has used the knowledge gained as an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity.
Prior to his career as a coach, Jerry was a partner with JPMorgan Partners (JPMP), the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase. Previously, he led New York City-based Flatiron Partners, which he founded in 1996 with partner Fred Wilson. Flatiron became one of the nation’s most successful early-stage investment programs. Jerry’s first leadership position, at age 25, was editor-in-chief of InformationWeek magazine. He is the author of Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.
Jerry lives in Boulder, Colorado. You can find his first appearance on the podcast at tim.blog/jerrycolonna.
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With many episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
DUE TO SOME HEADACHES IN THE PAST, PLEASE NOTE LEGAL CONDITIONS:
Tim Ferriss owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as his right of publicity.
WHAT YOU’RE WELCOME TO DO: You are welcome to share the below transcript (up to 500 words but not more) in media articles (e.g., The New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian), on your personal website, in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., Medium), and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided that you include attribution to “The Tim Ferriss Show” and link back to the tim.blog/podcast URL. For the sake of clarity, media outlets with advertising models are permitted to use excerpts from the transcript per the above.
WHAT IS NOT ALLOWED: No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Tim Ferriss’ name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Tim Ferriss from the media room on tim.blog or (obviously) license photos of Tim Ferriss from Getty Images, etc.
This interview was transcribed by Rev.com.
Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs, this is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss Show. I’m going to keep my preamble short. My guest today is Jerry Colonna. C-O-L-O-N-N-A on Twitter at Jerry Colonna. He is the CEO and co-founder of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm dedicated to the notion that better humans make better leaders. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Jerry has already been on the show. It was an excellent episode, and it was named the coach with the spider tattoo. We’re not going to have time to get into why we chose that title necessarily, but suffice to say very, very detailed, very, very tactical. And I wanted to have him back on for reasons that will be clear shortly.
For nearly 20 years he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, one hell of an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. Prior to his career as a coach, he was a partner with JP Morgan Partners, the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase. Previously, he led New York based Flatiron Partners, which he co-founded in 1996 with partner Fred Wilson. Flatiron became one of the nation’s most successful early stage investment programs. Jerry’s first leadership position at age 25, a young whippersnapper, was editor in chief of InformationWeek magazine. He is the author of Reboot, subtitle, Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.
As I mentioned, this is his second appearance on the podcast, definitely also check out his first which goes deep into his bio, and all sorts of topics. You can find that at tim.blog/jerrycolonna. Again one more time, C-O-L-O-N-N-A. You can find on Twitter, as mentioned @Jerry Colonna, on LinkedIn, of course. Reboot’s Twitter is at RebootHQ. And the website for all things Jerry and Reboot is Reboot.io. Jerry, welcome back to the show.
Jerry Colonna: Thanks for having me, Tim. It’s a bizarre experience hearing your life played back at you like that. I’m sitting there listening, and I’m going, “Damn, I’m old.” You’re referencing something from 1996, and I know that’s in my bio.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, man. Yeah. When I ever hear my bio read back, which I’ve usually crafted carefully in third person, I’m like, “Wow. Well, that’s the highlight reel, it’s all downhill from here.” So a very terrible way of setting expectations. So Jerry, I want to explain for folks how we came to be here today talking again. And we’re actually recording this episode about five feet from where we recorded the first. I’m in Austin. And I remember it very, very clearly. And we reconnected, I want to say, a month, six weeks ago —
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. Something like that.
Tim Ferriss: — maybe, something like that. And we were covering a number of different things, but it quickly came up that you had just finished a two-month sabbatical, and then you’ve casually mentioned that you had done that for, how long, roughly, would you say?
Jerry Colonna: Well, I interrupted it last year because of the disruption that was 2020. But previously, it was nine straight years, so that was my 10th two-month sabbatical.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. So 10th two-month sabbatical. And I wanted to hear all about this, I wanted to dig into this. And thought it might be a great bridge and launchpad for discussing all sorts of things. So since we covered so much of your bio, and background, and trajectory, the ups and the downs. Let’s just jump right into it. Can you perhaps begin at the beginning, with the first sabbatical that you took, and how that came about?
Jerry Colonna: And if we were a TV show, the image would get all wavery as he flashes back in time. I think that I came — okay. So I’ve been a coach now for about 17 years, and I came to coaching, on the one hand very much having been trained and gone through methodologies that are known as coaching. But it would be dishonest or not completely honest if I didn’t also say that I modeled myself after my psychoanalyst. And as every good New Yorker who’s in therapy knows, August is when all the therapists go on vacation. And so you don’t want to be in New York in August, because not only does it stink to high Heaven, it’s also when all of our therapists are gone.
Tim Ferriss: Home alone in New York City.
Jerry Colonna: Exactly. For more on this, watch the movie, What About Bob, which is a very good — anybody who watches the movie will get the reference.
Tim Ferriss: “Is this corn hand-shucked?” It’s all right. Continue.
Jerry Colonna: Indeed.
Tim Ferriss: Excellent, excellent movie. Continue please.
Jerry Colonna: Excellent movie. Bill Murray, in search of his therapists. So when I started doing this work, one of the things that I found myself doing was feeling the repercussions, if you will, of being fully emotionally present. More fully and emotionally present than most folks are in a given conversation. And I also found myself terribly depleted, terribly exhausted on a regular basis. And I remember talking to my therapist, with the idea of at first taking four weeks off. And what I started to do, though, was I started to realize that I needed longer than that, because I know this is going to sound really indulgent, but I also wanted to take a vacation during the middle of sabbatical. I know that’s a bit of a controversial statement.
But I would do things like, go to Tibet for two weeks and help build an orphanage, or I would take these monumental trips. I rafted the Grand Canyon for the third time in 2014 with my son. And so what began as, “Well, maybe I’ll take a month, and then take two weeks of vacation.” Started to morph very, very quickly into modeling myself after my therapist, morphed very, very quickly into, “No. I actually need to take a pause. I need to take a break.” And a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, a funny thing happened on the way back. I found myself being a better therapist. Oh, did I say that out loud? A better —
Tim Ferriss: Freudian slip, there. Is in one.
Jerry Colonna: A much better coach. A much better coach, because I was rested, and I could be there more fully for my clients.
Tim Ferriss: What did the very first sabbatical look like? Did you have any internal conflict or pushback?
Jerry Colonna: Oh, yes, I laugh —
Tim Ferriss: It doesn’t have to be the very first, it could be one of the first, but one that comes to mind.
Jerry Colonna: The first one that comes to mind is, “Can I afford this?” Which is crazy, but it’s the thing that we’re programmed to think about. The second is, “If I go away, will everybody leave me?” Which is a variation on a theme, which is, “Will I become irrelevant?” What if it turns out that all my clients decide, “Hey, that was great. Thanks very much. We’ll see you, buddy.” So there were those feelings, and those feelings can still arise for me, which is why I think when we were talking on email, I was like, “Yeah. Of course Tim is interested in this.” So we can get to that, what prompted you.
And then that the other thing that happens, and I think a lot of folks can relate to this based on what I hear from clients, even just about taking a long weekend in our vacation. There’s the hot and cold boredom that can set in. We often live with a forward momentum, an inertia, if you will. This pushing forward, pushing forward. And when you suddenly stop, here’s a mixed metaphor, it can feel like musical chairs, and the music has just stopped, and you’re standing there and you don’t have a chair. And that’s really disconcerting. Because part of what we do, which I think leads to a significant amount of burnout and existential struggle, is we take meaning from motion. We take meaning from performance. And then when I take away the motion, what happens to my meaning? So like a good Buddhist, there’s a piece of me that goes, “Oh, very good. That’s perfect. That’s exactly what we want to have happen.” But it’s challenging.
Tim Ferriss: I want to touch upon something that you mentioned briefly for folks, and that is, “Can I afford it?” And this question. Because on one hand, depending on your expenses, one could argue that a sabbatical is a very indulgent one percent activity. But you can also take a different perspective. And it makes me think of a book called Vagabonding by a now friend, after I read the book and gave it to many, many, many, many, many, many people, I later became friends with the author, Rolf Potts. But Vagabonding was one of the books I took with me when I took my sabbatical of sorts in 2004, I want to say. 2004, 2005, that 18 months, and did work at points throughout that period, but it was largely a walkabout.
And one of the points that he makes in his book with a story is recounting part of the movie Wall Street, with Gordon Gekko with the brick-sized cellular phone walking on the beach. This iconic film, “Greed is good,” et cetera. And the Charlie Sheen character at one point is asked by, I want to say his girlfriend, or his love interest, “What are you doing this all for?” And he’s like, “Well, someday I’ll have enough where I can just pack it all in, and ride across China on a motorcycle.” And Rolf, who’s done a lot of traveling, said, “You could work as a toilet cleaner for six months, and save enough to ride across China on a motorcycle for a year, particularly if you put a pause on some of your other expenses.”
And I think about a lot of people over the pandemic, including family members of mine, who packed everything up, or put it into storage, canceled their leases, and ended up traveling around the country trying different cities, and it costs a lot less than their previous fixed expenses. So depending on how you approach it, and depending on how you organize the rest of your life, hit pause, or don’t hit pause on certain expenses, a sabbatical can be something that’s very, very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also be something that’s very, very achievable. And I just wanted to mention that.
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. I think that’s a really, really important conversation. We are too relatively well-off white men yakking away on a podcast. I mean it’s almost a trope at this point. And so we have to be very, very conscious and mindful of the fact that we often have choices that are not available to everyone. And whether it’s a two-month sabbatical, or an 18-month sabbatical, or it’s two months sabbatical every year for 10 years, those are choices that are afforded us, sometimes by external forces, sometimes a combination of what we ourselves, the choices that we make. We choose to spend less money. But I think what we’re also talking about, Tim, is something really important, which is behind all that, which is a mindset.
And the mindset, I think, not to be too playful with my own work, a mindset is the mindset behind rebooting and resetting. Let’s go back and think about that word “sabbatical” for a moment. In swapping notes with the producer I was saying, “To recall the fact that sabbatical is a term actually is related to the same root word of Sabbath.” And this is why I’m playful as well when I talk about sabbatical, taking a vacation in the middle of my sabbatical. Sabbatical is also a time of thinking differently, of considering things differently. I think it was Bill Gates who popularized the term “think week.” It’s the same impulse, which is, I’m not, not working, I’m just working on something other than what I have been compelled to work on for the rest of the time.
And for many of our friends who are in the startup land, the thought of taking a weekend off is as terrifying as my thought of taking two months off. And that’s a problem. That’s a problem that not only affects them physically, it’s a problem that affects them mentally. It’s a problem that actually, I would argue, undermines their leadership capabilities and creates toxic environments. And so what we’re really talking about in this way is this notion of, can I afford myself a moment to pause, stand still, and think a little bit differently, and see the world a little bit differently?
Tim Ferriss: Do you mind if I ask you some mundane questions? I would like to look at the plumbing inside the cathedral for a moment. And by that I mean, we have a rare opportunity. We, I’m using the royal we, I mean Tim Ferriss, has a rare opportunity.
Jerry Colonna: King Tim.
Tim Ferriss: King Tim, who has deep pockets and short arms, so he gets his therapy for free on the podcast, would like to ask you tactically and practically, what you have learned about making sabbaticals work? What do you set up in advance? What are some of the mistakes you made early on? What are some of the things you’ve learned? Because we’re going to get into much more of the deeper first principles philosophies. But I want to front load some tactical stuff to lure people in as a honeypot. So let’s, if you don’t mind, focus on some of the tactical, practical. Anything that comes to mind in terms of, what you’ve learned about making sabbaticals work for yourself?
Jerry Colonna: Well, you raise a really good point, which is, to think about it in advance. And I would argue that a corollary to that is to set expectations. And so a good example of this from my own life was that when my three co-founders and I set up Reboot in 2014, two of my co-founders had previously been clients of mine, so they were aware of this. But I said to them, “Whatever budget we model for this enterprise, if it cannot afford to have me not working, not bringing in revenue for two months a year, then I don’t want to do it.” And so if you think about it, you think about me not as a coach, but as a CEO, stepping into the launch of a business. And from the beginning, we modeled in the notion of taking time off.
Now, as soon as I said that, my co-founders were like, “Yeah. I like that idea. I’d like to take December off. I’d like to take this time off.” And so we built a financial model, presuming not two weeks’ vacation, but sabbatical time. And I think that that’s really critical because that was me being in conversation with my co-founders. Now they could have said, “We can’t afford to do that.” And I would have said, “Okay. That’s great. But that’s how important that is for me, so we have to do something else.” That’s that setting expectation. And if someone out there listening is privileged enough to be able to say, in stepping into a new position —
We have this funny notion, especially in the tech community of unlimited paid time off, unlimited PTO. And studies have shown that the more unlimited it is, the less time people take because there’s no sensibility around it. But I think that if we start to build into our companies, and many companies do this, we say, “After one year, you get a week of sabbatical in addition to your vacation time. After two years, you get a month of sabbatical.” Something along those lines. Excuse me. If we build that into our models, we start to change the perspective about EBITDA, about profitability. And if we start thinking about this as simply a cost of doing business, it builds into the structure of the business a humane work environment.
By law, you have to build into the structure of the business: sick time, vacation time, parental leave, all sorts of policies. And then periodically, something awful happens, and we say, “Okay. Let’s build in some mental health time.” But it’s always after some sort of horrible event.
Tim Ferriss: Jerry, may I double click and zoom in a little bit?
Jerry Colonna: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: To look at the sealant on the plumbing. Just to come back to your personal experience, what were some early mistakes, if any come to mind, that you made or cases where you back slid to default behaviors, and how you, perhaps, counteracted those, when you were when you were kicking the tires and first taking sabbaticals?
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. So first taking sabbatical. So I wouldn’t say that there was a mistake that I encountered as much, but there was a heck of a lot of backsliding. And there still can be a heck of a lot of backsliding. So I guess one mistake is, I said to myself, I was going to be completely off the grid and not answer any email, and that’s just not possible. I just don’t do that. And so what I did early on, was — the first thing I did which didn’t work was create all sorts of rules. I’m only going to answer email this time or this time. And you’re smiling because you know your rules. And you create all these structures around the rules, and, “I’m going to do this.”
And for me, that just doesn’t work. All it did was engender a sense of self-criticism. All right. Because I would quote, unquote, backslide. I remember I always do in away message, and I always try to do in away message that in some way or another inspires other people to think about these things. So I remember one away message I did on sabbatical, where I talked about my plan to go to Italy for a couple of weeks, and I did that, and I said, “My plan is to eat more gelato than to read email, and so if you’re actually getting an email from me, I’ve failed.” And that tends to make people laugh, but what it does is it also helped me in managing expectations. So a mistake, a lesson I learned was to not turn the sabbatical into another source of self-criticism.
Tim Ferriss: So how did you decide to then handle, say, email? Because it’s easy to get pulled into the vortex and time dilates, and you realize four hours later, “Holy shit, I’ve been looking at my inbox for four hours, and I’m supposed to be eating gelato.”
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. It’s so funny, when I was thinking about our conversation today, I was thinking about it yesterday. And if I remember correctly, in our first conversation, you also asked me about email. “How do you handle email, Jerry?” Or at some point in our life, you asked me this question. And I gave you the perplexing answer of, “Just don’t respond.” And you were like, “No. That’s internet.” And so —
Tim Ferriss: We’ll come back to that. I was slightly —
Jerry Colonna: It’s complicated.
Tim Ferriss: Like Rashomon perhaps, slightly different remembrance, but we can dig into that, but —
Jerry Colonna: To go back to your question for a moment, I think the way I handle email is I will scan it, and I feel super liberated if I decide not to respond. Because I’ve already given them a response that says, “I’m not going to respond.” And yet there are times where it could be really important to respond. And so for example, this past summer, I think I did probably six or seven sessions while I was on sabbatical.
Tim Ferriss: When you say sessions, what do you mean?
Jerry Colonna: A session is a coaching conversation.
Tim Ferriss: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jerry Colonna: And there was genuine crises that my clients needed some help with. And I consciously said, “Yes, I can do that, two o’clock on such and such afternoon.” Kind of thing.
Tim Ferriss: Boring process question. How did news get to you that that was a crisis and important to handle?
Jerry Colonna: I will allow people to text me, and I allow people to email me. So as I said, I scan things, and I don’t have anybody answering my notes, and stuff like that. I need to have a direct relationship with people.
Tim Ferriss: So does that mean that you’re scanning each day —
Jerry Colonna: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: — as the spirit moves you, or as —
Jerry Colonna: Well, I think you know that I have a fairly healthy morning ritual, where I don’t really, for the most part, check email. I will scan —
Tim Ferriss: Why don’t you remind people? I do recall us discussing this in episode one, but just for people who don’t have that context.
Jerry Colonna: I’m a really early riser. Pretty much regardless of time zone, I’m up between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. every day. My morning consists of a little caffeine, and a lot of journaling, and meditation. And when I’m at my healthiest, I don’t really glance at the phone until my brain is ready. And so generally speaking, it’s usually the third or fourth thing that I’m doing, and it’s a glance. And then if there are things that I can respond to quickly that just clear it out, then I clear it out. I’m a zero-inbox kind of guy anyway. And I suppose that all sounds quite disciplined, it doesn’t feel disciplined, it just feels normal to me. And the people I’m most responsive to are the people I love. So my partner, Ali, or my children. And they always get responded to, even if officially I’m off the grid. But the other thing I will do is, I will say to people, “I’ll be unavailable next week.” And then I’m really unavailable.
Tim Ferriss: When you look back at the sabbaticals you’ve taken, so nine or 10, two-month sabbaticals now. When you look at the sabbaticals that have recharged you the most, versus the sabbaticals that have recharged you the least, do you see any patterns, or do you see any characteristics that have some explanatory power for you?
Jerry Colonna: This past sabbatical was incredibly recharging. It came after the year that time forgot, 2020. And in 2020, I got into cycling. And as I said, in my away message, during this past sabbatical. I said something like, “May your summer be filled with fireflies and s’mores.” For me, I hope to have it filled with weeding in my garden, and cycling in the mountains, and writing and working. I’m working on a new book, and working on my new book. And I slept well, I ate well, and I rested well, and I exercised my mind with a new book. And I traveled. I saw a family that I hadn’t seen in 18 months.
I spent two weeks on the coast of California in a lovely beach house, and my kids each came to visit and cycled through, which was lovely. So if I would say there’s a pattern of sabbaticals that are done right, it’s a focus on mind and body, and it’s resting both, and taking care of both. For sabbaticals that did not go so well, I would say the pattern is to load it up with expectations like, “I’m going to finish a book.” Or, “I’m going to read these 10 books.” Or, “I’m going to write a new business plan.” Or, “I’m going to travel to Europe and see all these friends, and then travel back.” I mean these are all examples that my clients have given me. And the number one rule in sabbatical is Sabbath. Rest. Rest. The body needs rest; the mind and heart need rest. That’s the simplest way I can put it for you.
Tim Ferriss: Do you have, or could you tell us if there are any examples of epiphanies, or breakthroughs, ahas of any type that resulted from being fully rested when you came back to quote, unquote normal life?
Jerry Colonna: Oh, man.
Tim Ferriss: The epiphany could happen during the sabbatical, but let’s just say something — and what I’m trying to do here is to speak to people who have disallowed themselves from taking breaks to try to sell, and this might be the wrong way to approach it, but some of the payoff of resting, does that make sense to me?
Jerry Colonna: It does. It does. And I’m looking away, and I’m getting uncomfortable in my body because what I’m feeling is the impulse which I think you’re giving voice to, which is to make sabbatical productive. And if that at all feels resonant, that’s the problem. When I was saying before, let go of those expectations, that’s part of what I’m talking about here. Okay. So there’s an image that I write about in my first book, something that occurred to me in 2001 when I was lying on the ground at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, which by the way, if you really want to disconnect, go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you’re four billion years into the past, and it’s an extraordinary experience.
And I’m lying on the beach, there may or may not have been some alcohol involved, and I’m staring up at the sky, and someone lying next to me says, “Oh, a shooting star.” And I begin trying to stare at the shooting stars. And I’m looking, and I’m looking, and I’m looking, and it’s driving me crazy because I can’t see them. And then finally, someone says, “Stop looking for them.” And I rest my eyes, and with peripheral vision, this is a true fact, all of a sudden I can start catching the motion. And that’s an image I would give you for sabbatical.
People who go into sabbatical with the plan to, “A, I’m going to lose 10 pounds. B, I’m going to get into really good shape. C, I’m going to finish that book.” Typically, after farting around for a week, not getting anything done, start to feel terrible, and then it becomes this voice of, “You’re wasting time, I can’t believe you did this, what’s the matter with you, you’re failing at sabbatical.” Which is insane. But if we go back to that notion of Sabbath, which is in the Jewish tradition, disavow or disconnect from anything that is electrical. Put your keys down, put your money down, rest. There’s something very, very profoundly holy in rest. Now I know I’m swimming upstream, everybody wants to be productive.
Tim Ferriss: I could also just, if you don’t mind me playing stand-in for the listener, I could also say, “Well, you spoke about this hot, cold boredom.” And even if you don’t say “I’m going to finish the book,” the fact of the matter is, you are writing, working on a book, and likely on some level feeling productive. So if we removed that, would you have needed an alternate activity, which I don’t make wrong, by the way. But one could say, “Hey, you’re a writer, you’re working on books. You’re saying we don’t need to be productive, but I bet you feel productive after a good day of writing; what if I’m not a writer?” There may be people who would say something like that.
Jerry Colonna: Sure. And I get that. When I felt good working on the new book this summer, it was when I let go of the production goals. Some writers like to say 1,000 words a day, 500 words a morning, something like that. And I went into this past sabbatical with a little bit of that mindset. “I’m going to get part one. It’s all mapped out. I’m going to get part one done this summer.” And I did hand in 15,000 words of what will eventually be a 70,000-word manuscript due next summer, and they were a mess. As Annie Lamott would say, the shitty first draft. But my editor was able to pull it apart, break it up into two chapters, which is a more appropriate status.
So it was productive. But I was at my most productive when I stopped trying to be productive. Man I hate to sound zenlike here, but it’s all of the emotional load that we put into that notion of productivity that actually exacerbates the stress and tension that causes us to need to take the rest in the first place.
Tim Ferriss: Let’s, if I may, we can make this personal on my side, and we can explore those muddy waters for a minute. So I have been able, over the years, to take many trips and disconnect. Particularly since I’m in an intimate relationship with my lovely long-term girlfriend, we don’t like to be apart for long periods of time. She has a job that doesn’t totally disallow, but largely disallows her to take the type of time off that I might want to take off for a sabbatical, let’s say. Nonetheless, we’re able to take trips. We took our first trip post-COVID, just a few months ago. And I was effectively offline for three weeks, which was wonderful.
And I will take shorter trips, and be typically completely in the wilderness or the jungle, or somewhere with nothing. No electronics for a period of time. I do that generally, at least once or twice a year. Nonetheless, what I have found for myself, and some people may resonate with this. Actually, I’m going to give a few examples of friends, and then I’ll give my personal example. So there are friends who have been in zero sum games for so long that that lens has become their default. And so I would argue that in some startups at certain stages, if you’re the CEO, and you took a week off, things would blow apart.
I do think there are certain scenarios in which that’s the case. However, let’s say you ride that 100-foot wave, you have some wonderful exit in the case of a founder. They think they will just be able to turn off that script. And I have seen close to zero examples of them being able to. It’s very common. Or I have a friend I shan’t name, but very good friend. And we’ve known each other a very long time. And I’ve watched as his magical number, this number, “Once I hit X, then I’m going to build a workshop in my garage, and make artisanal rocking chairs.” Or whatever the hell. And I’ve seen that number move and move and move. So every time he gives me some new number, I’m like, “Yeah. I’ve heard that before. Great.”
I was talking to a friend who said, “I’m never starting X type of podcast again.” He’s done this twice now. And I’m like, “Yep. I’ve heard that before.” And he said something to me, which I thought was interesting, it’s not totally germane here, but maybe we’ll tie into it. We were texting and he said, “I suppose that I need a target for my free-floating anxiety.”
Jerry Colonna: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: And I identified with that quite a bit. I said, “You’re right.” I mean it’s a lot. It’s reassuring in some perverse way to have an external object or circumstance you can point that and say, “That explains why I have this really uncomfortable feeling inside.” So I’m going to park that for a second, because this is all a way of me backing into my own personal experience. So when we last spoke, and I thought, “Hot damn, this is something we should talk about on the podcast.” What I had realized for myself, is not that I can’t take time off, or that I can’t ignore the inbox, or refuse to reply on the vast majority of things that come in.
What I simultaneously have realized is that, over the last, say 10 or 15 years, there has been a creep of complexity. So when you have dozens of different entities, like LLCs, and so on. When you have hundreds, or at least 100 different investments, and funds, and capital calls, and this, that, and the other thing, and you’ve added people to your organizations so you have more headcount, there is a certain amount of complexity that comes with that. So while there are a million emails I feel like I can safely ignore there are certain others from whether it’s a tax authority, or some registered agent, or an employee that I do feel like I should keep track of, or there will ultimately be some consequences to ignoring those things. And so this is a very roundabout way of asking: how you have seen people either reframe the complexities so that it has less of a fearful impact on them, and/or reduce complexity in a way that lessens this internal drama that they experienced going along with it?
Jerry Colonna: I love the way you frame that question. And there are tips, and tricks, and hacks that you can do to reduce the complexity. But the complexity will creep back. And I think you know this, because you’ve experienced this, and we’ve had conversations over the years about that tension between those two spaces. I hire an assistant and then all of a sudden I need two, and then I need five, and now they need to be responded to, and it goes. And so let’s take us all the way back to one of Jerry’s very, very famous questions, which is, “How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?”
Tim Ferriss: I like that you just referred to yourself like the Hulk uses the third person.
Jerry Colonna: “Hulk mad.”
Tim Ferriss: “Hulk smash. Jerry ask.”
Jerry Colonna: “Jerry ask question that cause fear.”
Tim Ferriss: How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?
Jerry Colonna: Right. And so I’m going to alter that just slightly. What benefit do I get from the conditions I say I don’t want? What benefit do I get from the conditions I say I don’t want? And so let’s turn it back to the question. So you create these really complex structures, and you probably spend an enormous amount of energy sorting them out, responding them, maybe even use autoresponders, tax person go here kind of thing. So if you want to alter that behavior, you have to understand what the benefit is to you.
Tim Ferriss: Right. The payoff or the secondary payoff.
Jerry Colonna: That’s it. What’s the secondary payoff? What’s the secondary benefit? And for you, what does it make you feel like living a very complex life with hundreds of investments, and lots of fingers in multiple pies, and doing all sorts of things. What does it do for you?
Tim Ferriss: I’ve thought about this, and I would say that I think the complex structures are a side effect of something else. I don’t think that I actually get much payoff from the complicated structures, but I think they’re a symptom. And I would say that for much of my life, I had competitive athletics and other things that consumed in a very good way, I think, a lot of my focus and provided a lot of excitement. Just as important, excitement. And I haven’t had that in a very long time after a shoulder reconstruction, and an elbow surgery, and a twisted SI joint, and all these things. I’m like, “You know what, maybe I don’t need to get heel hooked today. Maybe I don’t need to get thrown on my head in judo class this week.”
And I’ve stopped a lot of that. And I think in lieu of that, I enjoy competition, I enjoy it. And I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I actually really, really enjoy competition. And I think I’m a good competitor in a lot of ways. So I’ve shifted the arena from sports and all these other things, art, although I haven’t treated art competitively, but these activities and I’ve substituted in investing. And I’ve substituted in different types of projects that often have some creative component, almost always they do. Whether it’s deal structuring, or a podcast episode, or a pre-loading podcast that I can do A, B, and C elsewhere. But very often, I would say the investing side in particular is related to excitement. I would say that’s what I get from it. And the side effect of having lots of investments, and lots of things that come along with that, is this complication, the complexity and the systems.
Jerry Colonna: That makes sense to me. What’s the opposite of excitement?
Tim Ferriss: The opposite of excitement would be boredom, which is why I wrote down this hot and cold boredom for you that you mentioned earlier. I think it’s boredom. And I used to be more maybe optimistic about this. I mean I am sure fundamentally, it comes down to not wanting to be alone with my own thoughts, and certain feelings that might come up. So the question of, what is it that you’re unwilling to feel? I think it was Tara Brach who said, “One sage said, ‘There’s only one question that matters: what are you unwilling to feel?'”
And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that, and I’ve spent a lot of time working on that. And I’ve also arrived at a point where I’ve looked at my family — I went to a family wedding recently, and I’m like, “Okay. This could all be nurture. Maybe it’s just behaviors that have been passed down the bloodline.” That’s one explanation. It could also be that our code, our DNA, just leads us to have a certain baseline of anxiety, or depression, or any number of other things. And maybe I’m exerting a lot of calories trying to prove to myself that that is not the case.
Jerry Colonna: Tim, the thing that occurs to me every time we talk is, how much self-work you’ve done. And I’m going to make you feel really uncomfortable, because I’m really fucking proud of you.
Tim Ferriss: Thank you, Jerry.
Jerry Colonna: You go there, so we’re going to go there. The proclivity towards anxiety could have a genetic component here, but the proclivity to be uncomfortable with what the Buddhists would call hot boredom is not DNA. It’s, to use the term from my first book, it’s a subroutine. It’s programming. It’s nurture. And you said offhand, but really, with a self-awareness. “Okay. So I’m uncomfortable, perhaps with boredom because I don’t like to necessarily be afraid to be alone with my own thoughts, or to face those things.” And God bless you, you’ve done a fantastic job of learning to deal with your own thoughts.
So let’s imagine if you will, that this learned behavior was boredom, bad. Hulk, boredom bad. Well, the learned behavior may just as equally have been the family saying, we don’t want to actually be with these questions. We don’t want to be alone with our thoughts collectively. Because when we’re alone with our thoughts, bad things happen. So let’s get busy, and let’s make sure that we’re competitive, and complicated, and busy with lots and lots of different things so that we don’t have to feel those things over here.
To go back to Tara Brach, family systems can reject feelings, not just individuals. It reminds me about, I remember sitting with a group of executives at a company, and they asked me to just observe their executive team, and I was watching, and something came up, and it happened once, it happened twice, it happened the third time. And what it was, any time that there was a real moment of tension, somebody would make a joke, and the whole energy would dissipate. And when I called it out, the CEO said, “That’s just like my Sunday afternoon family dinners.” And sometimes, we get really complicated and busy because we don’t actually want to feel what those thoughts bring up. And there, again, is a reason why sabbatical can feel really challenging. Because if I pause, I’m going to feel really uncomfortable, I’m going to feel hot boredom.
Tim Ferriss: Can you expand on hot boredom? And then I’m going to come back to what we’re talking about. But could you just explain the difference between hot boredom and cold boredom, I mean the spectrum of boredom?
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. So hot boredom, and cold boredom is a really great framing to think about. We don’t really do this so much anymore. But imagine you’re on line at the post office, or on line at the DMV. And it’s just an interminably long line, and you’ve got to be someplace else, and there’s nothing to distract you. And that discomfort, that’s hot boredom. That’s like, literally my body starts to feel achy and all that stuff. But contrast it to cold boredom. And I know you’ve done meditation retreats. Imagine not the first three or four days of meditation retreat, which often provokes hot boredom. “What the hell am I doing here? I can’t even sleep.”
But by day four, day five, day seven, day 10 you’re sitting there, and literally there’s nothing dramatic going on in your mind. There’s no drama, and you’re okay. And all of a sudden, you catch a glimpse of a bird that’s really interesting, that’s cold boredom. And I would argue that the mind needs cold boredom. It needs those days of simple — my therapist calls it just simple stirring the oatmeal kind of morning. “Here I am, just stirring the oatmeal.” Because that’s a moment of rest, from which we can then go about the rest of our time, the rest of our day.
Tim Ferriss: I have many questions, as one would expect to find, but I’m doing the podcast to talk about this. Let’s start with a hypothetical situation. And I’ll tell you something that I haven’t talked about much, maybe not at all publicly. But I’ve spent the last, I would say, a year sitting with a lot of void. Very deliberately not committing to any big projects. And it has been one of the most difficult, painful experiences of my life, and I threw every tool in my toolkit at it, meditating. Do it twice a day, do it three times a day, take two weeks in the wilderness. I threw everything I had at it, and ultimately decided sitting with this void for this long is actually not good for my mental health.
And still haven’t prematurely committed to something huge just to commit, but I got to a point where sitting with that void felt unhealthy. And so my question to you, and I’m not at the point of total burnout. But if you’re talking to a client, who, like it or not, is not going to get to a place of comfortable cold boredom before they burn out, and you jointly decide, or he or she decides they’re going to take a sabbatical. So they have yet to become comfortable stirring the oatmeal, but they’re going to take a sabbatical. What advice do you give to that person?
Jerry Colonna: Start small. Start with tiny steps. When you were talking —
Tim Ferriss: Baby steps out of office.
Jerry Colonna: Baby steps. Yeah. How about starting with a weekend? How about starting with one evening? I mean, literally, you asked me before about when I started sabbaticalizing. And it feels so long ago, and it feels so natural to me that I actually forgot what really began this. And it was something that you said, where you talked about going off into a jungle, going into a forest. For the 10 years previous to me taking two months sabbatical, I would take monumental off the grid trips. Why were they monumental? Because that was the only way I could really break being attached to the grid.
Because if you go to, as I did, across the polar ice cap and Greenland, for some reason you don’t get a good cell signal. It’s amazing. You are forced or — I went rafting the Futaleufú River in the Chilean Patagonian area, and there really isn’t a good Wi-Fi signal. And it’s beautiful. And so those small little steps. I have a client I just started with in September, and he’s taking his first vacation, two weeks in Namibia. First vacation in 10 years. First vacation in 10 years. And it was only because his life partner recently sold her business and they feel like they have the time. That’s not healthy.
So practical advice, start small. Start where you are, start with a day. Our mutual friend Brad Feld was the first person I know who used the notion of digital Sabbath. I’m going to turn off the devices from Friday till Sunday night, and I’m just not available. And train the people in my life to know that that is happening. Just start there. Just start there.
Tim Ferriss: So let’s say you’ve taken some baby steps, and I’ll tell you what I’ve run into when I try. And I have, I’ve taken time off of my, or away from my normal routines in say a city like Austin. Here’s what happens to me. Let’s just say, so I’m sitting downtown in Austin right now. I decide I’m going to take a couple of weeks away from my normal routines, but I’m going to stay here in so-called civilization. My girlfriend meanwhile is going to continue with her normal routines. Most of my friends at least here are not going to be coincidentally taking a sabbatical the same time that I do.
And so I go about my day, and ultimately, A, it’s very lonely. B, I end up feeling unemployed /insane. Because if you go to the Starbucks, or you go to the library, or you go to any number of other places, you end up surrounded, in fact, by a lot of unemployed and/or crazy people. I realized this in San Francisco actually. When I was like, I’m going to take a break and I’m going to go to the library and read, and I was like, “Wow. This is actually very disturbing because this is the halfway house during business hours for a lot of unstable people.” And I found that pull towards the river edge of chaos not good for me.
Jerry Colonna: Well, what I also hear you doing was then deciding that you were one of those people.
Tim Ferriss: I mean, there is that.
Jerry Colonna: I mean you know you’re not unemployed if you’re not —
Tim Ferriss: I know I’m not that but it’s — I think we’re all affected on some level by the people we spend time around. If somebody were — and this is an extreme example, but just to play out the point. If somebody actually were sitting inside an insane asylum, I know it’s probably not the politically correct term these days, but One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And you weren’t working behind the desk, you’re actually sitting in there playing chess with these people all day, or whatever it might be. I think that would affect just about —
Jerry Colonna: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: — [crosstalk 01:00:13] if they were exposed to that. So when you go into some of these public spaces, or semi public spaces during business hours in a place like Austin, that is also the case. And it’s not limited to Austin, I mean if you want it times 10, go to San Francisco.
Jerry Colonna: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: So I don’t automatically assume I’m one of those people but my instrumentation is very sensitive, so I do feel impacted by being in those settings. And I think we could treat these two things almost separately. There’s being in those settings and being affected by those settings. And there’s also just a genuine sense of loneliness. And I know a lot of people who are, quote, unquote, free, who can work wherever they want, whenever they want on some level, even if they’re still paying the bills by working consistently, but they are working from a laptop somewhere without people around them who are in a similar situation. That it can be agonizing how lonesome that feels. So that’s a big mouthful. I don’t know if you have any thoughts.
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. I’m glad you circle back to the word lonely because you went lonely, unemployed, insane, and I zipped it on insane. But I think the lonely is —
Tim Ferriss: We don’t have to rule out that I’m insane. We can leave that on the table.
Jerry Colonna: But I think the lonely is really important. And what you’re helping me see is that my lens is very much affected by the fact that on the spectrum, I tilt towards introversion. And so I don’t quite have the same reaction to the word lonely or alone as say, my daughter who is very much an extrovert. And during the lockdowns, she would really yearn to be outside with other folks.
Tim Ferriss: May interject for one second, Jerry?
Jerry Colonna: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: So I would actually consider myself very introverted, but I would also recognize myself as someone who almost killed himself, had a date on the calendar to do so in college, I think in part as a byproduct of certainly lots of factors. But one of them being, I was all alone and isolated way, way, way too much. So I would consider myself an introvert, and yet at the same time, I have a lot of fear around feeling alone, which is actually very different from being alone. If I do one of those extreme trips, which I don’t consider that extreme, I actually consider it a real return to fundamentals. But where I’m in nature by myself, I don’t feel alone in the same way that I feel alone if I’m sitting in a Starbucks with a bunch of unstable people sitting around me with no friends who are following any routine that’s similar to mine.
Jerry Colonna: And I appreciate that distinction, I think that that’s really helpful. And what I’m feeling my way to, and I can relate to this is, there are certain mental states that are reminiscent of the past states. As we’ve talked about before, I too, I actually attempted suicide at 18. And in an odd way, I make my bed every day. And I make my bed every day, because that’s what I learned when I was in the mental hospital was that you make your bed every day even if you do nothing else. Even if you don’t shower, you make your bed every day. And so I make my bed still to this day. Because if I don’t, it starts to bring up those feelings that I might end up back emotionally in that place.
And so what I’m hearing you say is, the fear isn’t about being alone so much, it’s about feeling lonely, because that’s the association back to the depression. And that’s suicidal impulses. And that’s a really good observation about yourself. And so, I applaud you being able to say to yourself, “Okay. I’m going to…” As an alcoholic might say, “I’m going to stay out of a bar.” You’re going to stay out of those situations that can be triggering for you and bring you back to some of those states. And I like where we are right now, because what we’re seeing is that perhaps there’s a little fear of cold boredom, because it might remind one of feeling lonely.
Tim Ferriss: Maybe. I think that there could be some overlap. But for instance, if I go on a — I’ll tell you one of my happy places, and maybe that will be a contrast. So one of my happy places would be, I go into the wilderness with a handful of close guy friends, and we have the shared privation of sleeping in a freezing fucking cold tent, waking up and having shitty instant coffee in the morning, which is the best hot liquid —
Jerry Colonna: Best feeling in the world.
Tim Ferriss: — in the world. And then hiking at altitude and feeling like I’m just getting punched in the lungs for 12 hours, taking a nap on a mountaintop, and having a fire at night to thaw out your feet, then going to bed. And the majority of the day, there is no talking. That’s great for me. And I don’t —
Jerry Colonna: And you’re not lonely.
Tim Ferriss: I’m not lonely, I’m also not hyperactive. So it’s like left, right, left, right, left, right march. So I would consider that, maybe I’m just not understanding the terminology correctly, but that would seem to me to be a form of cold boredom.
Jerry Colonna: That is definitely a form of cold boredom.
Tim Ferriss: And I love that. I find after four or five days of doing that, even if I’m getting the shittiest sleep you might imagine. Three hours a night. Just a side note —
Jerry Colonna: Sleeping on a rock.
Tim Ferriss: — can I tell a funny story just for a diversion? So I went on one of these first outings with a couple of guys who are very experienced outdoorsmen. Also, a number of them were former professional level sponsored athletes, so I was already intimidated. And I was a sea level, San Francisco resident at that point going up to high elevation. And I asked about bears because they were all eating the candy bars, and all this garbage inside the tent. I said, “Should we be concerned about bears?” And they said, “No.” And one of them said, “They’re just black bears —
Jerry Colonna: Just.
Tim Ferriss: — they’re more likely to lick you to death than hurt you. Relax.” And I was like, “Okay.” And shamed into silence. So we go to bed, and we’re sleeping all around the perimeter of this large tent. And I wake up, and it’s close to a full moon, and I wake up, and the tent is about four inches from the side of my face. And there’s literally a huge nose pressed to the tent four inches from my fucking face. And it’s this gigantic bear. I’m not kidding. First night. And I don’t know any of these guys except for one, one and a half, let’s call it. And so I think to myself, more likely to lick me to death? if I wake these guys up on the first night, I will be shamed to death for the rest of this trip.
And so I don’t say anything, I’m in full prey mode. Every single quarter of my psyche just lit up on fire, can’t sleep, not surprisingly. It comes back a few hours later. And then in the morning we’re having our coffee, and I mentioned this, and the same guy who told me I would lick me to death is like, “Jesus Christ, man, you’ve got to let us know when that kind of shit happens.” And nonetheless, after that trip felt like I had taken a six-month vacation.
Jerry Colonna: I mean, you just said it. I mean the experience of resetting for you wasn’t something that’s time delimited. There were some core components of it, off the grid is a really key component of it, being with people that you can physically be with for several hours but not have to entertain with dramatic thoughts and talk, that nourishes you. Being in the land nourishes you, being physically in your body nourishes you. That is a sabbatical, dude.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So should I just keep it at that, or should I be able to do this in Austin despite the fears of sitting in these third non-home locations? Because I can convince some friends to go into the mountains for a week, it’s harder for me to convince friends inside a city to be like, “Hey, let’s just not do our usual stuff for a few weeks.”
Jerry Colonna: I totally get that. And changing physical location is really important. I just put a reservation down on a Sprinter van from Winnebago, the Revel. I can’t wait to be able to climb into that. And I live in a 40-acre farm with the woman I love, and three horses, and an 18-year-old cat. Coyotes running across the pastures, and hawks, and eagles, and stuff. But sometimes you need to change the venue, sometimes you need to change it up. And I get that. I pause and hesitated, Tim, because you said, “Should I?” And you know me well enough to say, “I’m not so sure I can answer a should.” Should you, yes. Should you, no.
I think you have to design it for yourself, you have to tune in to what you know, and collect the information as you have been doing, and design your own retreat. I find it enormously helpful to be able to periodically even within the envelope of my normal days, to be able to cut that chatter. I often say that, I sit on the meditation cushion during the morning, because I need to be able to meditate throughout the day. I need to be able to return to that state of mind. So go to the mountaintop for a week at a time, so that in an afternoon while stuck in the middle of Austin, you can go for a bike ride, you can go for a hike, you can go to a park, you can take a dog for a walk. You can do the things that nourish you.
If you can’t be off the grid for two months at a time, and very, very few people can, then go off the grid for hours at a time. That’s all. I think, ultimately, take the sabbatical with you. Take that mindset with you into, and live it into your days.
Tim Ferriss: Are there any resources — thank you, Jerry. That resonates with me. And I meditated this morning, 20 minutes, nothing fancy, just TM —
Jerry Colonna: No drama.
Tim Ferriss: — repeating some sound in my head so that my monkey mind has something to do, climb up and down the pole for 20 minutes. That’s it. And it’s so that I can remember for the rest of the day, ideally, what it feels like not to rush.
Jerry Colonna: That’s it.
Tim Ferriss: That’s it, for me, largely. Are there any resources that you might suggest to folks who are considering the possibility of a sabbatical? I remember there is a book that I read. I want to say this was around 2004, 2005 called Six Months Off. And I’m sure a lot of it is dated but it was focused on different approaches to taking sabbaticals. Are there any other resources? And these could be non-obvious resources. Could be a story, a poem, a book, a movie, it doesn’t matter? Are there any resources that you might recommend?
Jerry Colonna: Well, one of my little mental tricks that I do when I do a public talk, is I often open up the talk, simply by asking people, “How are you?” And that’s the question by the way that typically gets people crying. And then I throw up a couple of different words: excited, scared, and almost always I land on the word exhausted. And everybody just resonates with it. Your shoulders just dropped as soon as I said the word exhausted, because you know what I’m talking about. It’s just this constant sense. And there is a blessing, and I’m not going to recall the fullness of it. But John O’Donohue, the great Irish poet, the late Irish poet, has a book of blessings called To Bless the Space Between Us. And in it he has a blessing for those who are exhausted.
And in that blessing, among the things he says is, steer clear of those vexed in spirit. So think about those folks in the Starbucks, they’re vexed in spirit. And become inclined to watch the rain. And it’s a guidepost. If we think about sabbatical as a Sabbath time, as a holy time, it’s a holy time for those of us who are exhausted. And that’s the time to rest. I mean whether you follow Judaism or Christianity, in the story from the Old Testament, and on the seventh day, even God Himself rested. Easy, gentle. Now, there’s another line from that poem in which O’Donohue says, “Be excessively gentle with yourself.” So I don’t have 10 tips and tricks to make your sabbatical as productive as possible. You know me, that’s not the way my brain is organized.
Tim Ferriss: And you saw the draft of my next blog post. Damn you.
Jerry Colonna: Tools of Titans for Sabbatical.
Tim Ferriss: Yes. Sabbatical edition. Volume one. Yeah.
Jerry Colonna: But I think that there is a really profound wisdom in O’Donohue’s poem, which is, easy, easy, this is a better time to take a breath. I love the image of you hiking, and camping, and being out in the land with your friends. That’s what you’re doing. Rest is not zonking out on the couch to Netflix latest binge-watching streams, Squid Game, something. Rest is turning the brain off. It’s getting the heart rate down. It’s taking care of yourself. And to me, that’s what sabbatical is all about.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I suppose it could take different forms. Like in my case, that high elevation, I’m actually really physically taxing myself, but for me it’s a pure exhaustion. It’s not a paper cut exhaustion. It is a pure, focused, holistic, deliberate exhaustion. And that’s a straightening through fire of sorts.
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. Listen, I’m all for the physical exhaustion, as long as the mental turn off is happening. As long as the mental, the chatter, you called it the monkey mind. As long as the chatter is quieted. Because I’ll bet you, when you guys are hiking, and you’re going from one camping spot to another, your minds are quieted —
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah.
Jerry Colonna: — even as your body is physically tasked.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It’s a different experience. Well, Jerry, we’re coming up on time for both of us, for different reasons.
Jerry Colonna: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tim Ferriss: And I would like to read a name and you can tell me the pronunciation. And if you have this in front of you, I would love for you to read this, but if not I can read it. And that is Lost by David Wagoner. Is that correct?
Jerry Colonna: That is correct. And —
Tim Ferriss: W-A-G-O-N-E-R. And I’m happy to read, but if you have it, since you sent it to me I feel like it make sense for you to read this, because I think it encapsulates a lot of what we’re talking about, and could be a good place to bookmark us for this conversation.
Jerry Colonna: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: Our conversation one, on sabbaticals but moreover all of the questions and queries, and introspection that can surround the idea of a sabbatical.
Jerry Colonna: I can read it. I’m just bringing it up right now. Here we go.
Lost by David Wagner.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Tim Ferriss: So good. So, so good. I’m so glad you sent this to me. This is basically the North Star for me, something along these lines for the last few years. And it’s funny how easy it is, for me anyway, to lose sight of that North Star, but how corrective it is as soon as I realign and spend time recognizing it again.
Jerry Colonna: Yeah. Well, I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to read it, and I would not have missed that opportunity because I think as you can tell reading poetry is one of the ways that I reach a Sabbath state.
Tim Ferriss: So many things to talk about, Jerry, but it’s great to see you my friend.
Jerry Colonna: You too.
Tim Ferriss: And we will catch up again separate from the recording. And I will just let everybody know, for people listening you can find Jerry’s book, Reboot, subtitle, Leadership and the Art of Growing Up wherever books are sold. He’s been on this podcast before. You can find more of Jerry at tim.blog/jerrycolonna. On twitter @Jerry Colonna. C-O-L-O-N-N-A. Reboot at RebootHQ on Twitter, and the website Reboot.io. Jerry, is there anything else you would like to say before we hit pause on this conversation?
Jerry Colonna: Just that I hope that folks take a little bit of time off, and take a little bit of rest. And to remember the words from John O’Donohue: “Be excessively gentle on yourself.”
Tim Ferriss: Good advice for me also to hear and remember. So thank you, Jerry. I really appreciate you.
Jerry Colonna: Thanks for having me on, Tim. It’s always a delight to hang out with you. Be well.
Tim Ferriss: You too. And to everybody listening, we’ll have show notes and links to everything at Tim.blog/podcast. And until next time, be gentle with yourself.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.