Do you need a break?

Do you need a break?

There, it happened again: Another weekend that you worked through. Or maybe another week without any time for yourself.

You feel like you’re getting into that robotic state where you just tick to-do lists but you’re losing touch with the joy you used to derive from your work. You’re in one meeting, but already thinking of the next one. You drink the coffee, but you can’t taste it actually. The team sits together, but you don’t connect the jokes.

A friend or colleague asks you: Maybe you need a break?  “Not now”, you say.

This has happened to many entrepreneurs or managers. Work becomes life. Then work takes over. You feel like you can’t take a break, you’re not replaceable and things won’t move without you. 

Take a quick self-test:

  • When was the last time you took time off for yourself, and truly disconnected from being ‘the success of the company’? Was it more than 3 months ago?
  • In all honesty: Does your heart still jump up and down with the same excitement when you think of your job, as it did before?
  • Are you coming up with all kinds of reasons to explain why you can’t take a break (no money, big project, unique opportunities coming up, team needs me)?
  • Are you irritated and impatient with your team at times, because others seemingly aren’t in the same hard-working zone as you?
  • What are the 2 main traps you keep falling into when it comes to overworking yourself?

If any of these warning flags apply, then the truth is: You need a break, whether you like the thought or not. 

Some of these themes might be helpful for you to play with: 

  • Intention setting: What is the experience you want to live? How do you want to FEEL at the end of the day? 
  • Think Personal Effectiveness: If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of business. You slow down, are less creative and miss important details! And let’s be honest: As your grumpy self, you are probably not the most inspiring boss or persuasive salesperson or fundraiser either!
  • Consider Opportunity Cost: It’s October already. Can’t I power through until the end of the year? Maybe you can. But how much MORE could you get done in November, if you took a much-needed break in October?
  • Don’t be that boss who can’t let go: Your team needs to be entrusted with business results for them to grow! You want to build a business that outlasts you, don’t you?
  • Challenge your ego: It gets a lot of gratification from your job but builds a prison for you in the process. Define who are you when you’re not working! If this is a big theme for you, here are a few more tips on overcoming your ego. 

Want to start today? What you can do right now:

  • Write down your fears: What’s the worst that will happen if you take a week or two off? Then look at the list, and see which ones are crucial to manage, and which ones are unrealistic, ego-made ones.
  • Strategize: What 3 main changes would need to happen in your team for them to survive for 2 weeks without you? What first steps could you take to lead the team in that direction?
  • Who in the team can you talk to, who will understand how you feel and support you in planning for your break? Ask them for coffee in the next days.
  • Start small: Take a long weekend! Book a few nights away in a beautiful place, pack your bag with that book that you bought last year and switch off your emails. Draw up a simple leave handover plan, and leave your people with clear instructions and specific goals to achieve during your absence.
  • Re-Wire your brain: Come up with simple affirmative sentences that you will tell yourself when you are falling into your traps. (No, it’s NOT crazy to talk to yourself! It’s crucial to living the life you want)
  • Invest in yourself, and come for our entrepreneur’s edition of our Career Masters. We’ll be talking about aligning your personal values to your business, finding the right role for yourself in your start-up and managing your energy. Email us on if you’re interested!

How edge can support? 

First of all: We’ll send you for leave, if no one else will – we’ve done it before 🙂 

We can also help you think through your leave transition plan, and advise on any processes and structures you may want to set up to avoid frantic phone calls by the team on Day 3 on the beach.

In 2020, we’ll be running more senior leadership career happiness camps, learn more about them by messaging us under

Case Study 3 – The humans inside the business model transition

Sector: NGO transitioning some livelihoods projects to Social Businesses

Company size: Around 65 staff with 20 in management roles

Location: Riftvalley, Kenya

Situation to address:

  • Little clarity on how to drive the business across the team
  • Fear in the team of loosing the “family culture” during transition
  • Need for a mindset shift: from grant receiving implementers to entrepreneurial business owners

edge engagement (4 months):

  • Who is on board team mapping to identify strenghths to leverage on during the shift. Identified the gaps to be filled.
  • Talent reallocation to right people on the right jobs. Conversation around intrisic drivers and allocation matching role requirements.
  • 4 skill workshops around feedback, team communication, strategic thinking and business modelling.


  • 85% of staff gained more clarity and ownership of their roles.
  • Increased ownership contributed to detection of theft through staff.
  • Consciously hired a very creative and extroverted program manager to create a more balanced and diverse management team.
  • Better understanding on social enterprises reducing tension and fear of failure.
Case Study 2 – Too busy to put adequate time into hiring

Case Study 2 – Too busy to put adequate time into hiring

Sector: Foundation

Company size: 20 staff globally, one in East Africa

Location: KenyaANDE

Situation to address:

  • Need to hire a second person on the ground, though very limited time and recruitment experience in the team (local and global)
  • Limited budget available and typical headhunter charge up to 1.5 monthly salaries

edge engagement (3 months):

  • Identification of the required profile, including talent mapping of the current local staff member.
  • Targeting suitable talent through direct approaching and a variety of promotional channels, leading to over 150 applicants
  • Screening of talent, both virtual and physical interview, forwarding 4 final candidates to ANDE
  • Support in the final selection decision
  • Onbording workshop for the two staff discussing how to leverage their differences to create synergy


  • New staff joined 10 weeks after the first conversation
  • Truly diverse team on the ground
  • One year after: Great performance and team work, with plans to hire a 3rd member!

Case Study 1 – Debugging Sales Performance

Sector: Micro-Insurance

Company size: 15 staff

Location: Latin America

Situation to address:

  • Low number of sales and B2B partnerships putting company at financial risk
  • Tensions in senior team around strategic choices regarding revenue generation
  • No participation of junior staff in core conversations, leading to reduction of motivation

edge engagement over 6 months:

  • Who is on board team mapping to restructure sales approach and team; leading to Head of Sales being promoted to Senior Management
  • RightHire to source a new Head of Sales
  • Currently: Stepwise introduction of a Performance Evaluation System for all roles across departments, with the aim of identifying non-performers


  • Increased clarity and effectiveness in sales team
  • Increased accountability across company