Cover image for Clarity quest : how to take a sabbatical without taking more than a week off
Clarity quest : how to take a sabbatical without taking more than a week off
Ammondson, Pamela.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Fireside, [1999]

Physical Description:
240 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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BF637.C4 A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BF637.C4 A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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What to do if it's time to take stock -- and you have no time!
Have you ever fantasized about taking time for yourself just to reflect on the quality of your work life? Are you doing what you really want to be doing? Or are you spinning your wheels so fast that you're headed for burnout? And most importantly, is there a way to revitalize and refocus your career to your satisfaction? If you're like most people, that annual vacation doesn't do the trick, and weekends are just a time to collapse before it starts up again on Monday. If you can't afford the luxury of a full-fledged sabbatical, then Clarity Quest is for you. This powerful eight-week "training" program, which culminates in a week of self-discovery, is something that will fit into the busiest of schedules. Pamela Ammondson offers simple exercises to help you:
* Break away from career confusion, and let go of old fears
* Renew your physical, mental, and emotional energy so that you can think clearly and creatively
* Identify your core values
* Gain the strength, stamina, and calm needed to make important career and life decisions
* Clarify what you really want, and take control of your life with a new sense of purpose and vision
For seven weeks, you'll follow the plan, do all the groundwork for your future, and watch your dreams come into focus. When you hit the eighth week, you'll take a week-long sabbatical to fine-tune those goals, recharge your batteries, and commit to making the decisions that will change your life for the better.

Author Notes

Pamela Ammondson, president of Ammondson Communications, is a communications and marketing consultant and works with Fortune 500 and start-up companies as well as individuals in a variety of industries. She is a member of the National Speaker's Association and teaches Clarity Quest workshops. She lives in Northern California.



From the Introduction This book is for all the people who long for time to reflect, revitalize, and refocus their lives but can't afford a full-fledged sabbatical. If you are stressed out, burned out, or simply out of energy and fresh ideas, this book will show you how to recharge your batteries, assess what's genuinely important in your life, and rediscover who you are and what you really want. I started writing Clarity Quest to a dear friend who was very unhappy in her job. It actually began as a drawing and a few bullet points on a napkin. I'd met my friend for a walk on a beautiful August evening. We hiked through a grove of redwoods and discovered, at the top of a hill, a breathtaking view of the bay and the valley below. It was dusk, and the light was soft and golden. The pine-scented air was very still, and house lights were just coming on. They looked like distant stars twinkling in the valley below. We stopped for a few minutes to admire this wonderful panorama. It was beautiful and very peaceful. After a few moments of silence, I turned to my friend. She was clearly not at peace, even in this beautiful, tranquil setting. Worry lines were etched on her forehead. She looked extremely tired and distraught. She told me she was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from working at a very stressful job that she didn't enjoy -- but that she was terrified of losing. Her company had recently reorganized, and she was doing work that had previously kept two people busy. The daily meetings, long hours, and work-related problems had completely drained her. Nevertheless, she worried that if she worked fewer hours and didn't complete all her tasks, she'd be the next person to be laid off. She was so fearful that she had a hard time sleeping at night. Even her dreams were job related. She dreamed that she was on a treadmill, running as fast as she could and unable to adjust the speed or get off. Her job stress had started to affect other areas of her life. She began drinking more coffee, just to keep alert, and started eating at her desk to save time -- mostly unhealthy vending machine foods loaded with sugar and preservatives. She quit her exercise class after work so she could put in a few extra hours, and stopped going out with friends in the evening because she was too tired. At the end of the day, she barely had enough energy to microwave a frozen dinner or to stay awake for a television program. Her relationship with her partner suffered, and she stopped enjoying life's simple pleasures -- beauty, joy, laughter, and love. As much as she disliked her job, she couldn't see how to restructure it and couldn't face the prospect of looking for another one. Basically, she was too tired and too fearful to think at all. I was very saddened by my friend's state of mind. Her lifestyle and attitude had changed dramatically under these stressful working conditions. She was only forty years old and felt that she had reached a dead end in her career and her life. She felt stuck and didn't know how to get unstuck. She had no hope, no dreams, and no life beyond her current job. My friend was paying a very high price for remaining in a job that she didn't enjoy. PRESCRIPTION FOR A FRIEND We talked about her dilemma on our way down the hill. The walking and talking helped, but it wasn't enough to reenergize her. She was like a car whose batteries are nearly drained, that is low on fuel, and that desperately needs a tune-up. She was depleted and wasn't going to perform at her best until she recharged, refueled, and tuned up. By the time we finished our walk, it was completely dark and I suggested we continue our talk in a nearby cafe. I asked the waiter for a pen and drew a mountain on a paper napkin. At the top I wrote Rx for a Friend: Clarity Quest. While the memory of hiking up the hill was still fresh in her mind, I asked my friend to visualize the view from on top of a very high mountain. At the summit she would be able to see clearly in all directions. She would see things from a higher perspective and in their true relative importance to one another. I used the example of reaching the summit as a metaphor for what she needed to do in her life. She needed to rise above her fears so that she had an unobstructed view and could see clearly what changes she needed to make in her life. To get beyond her fearful state, she first needed to renew, restore, and recharge her energy. She could then reach the top of her mountain with a clear and alert mind and focus on what she needed to change in her job and her life in order to make both more satisfying. I outlined the eight-week Clarity Quest program on the napkin and promised that if she followed it, she would gain the personal strength and inner power necessary to get back in control of her life. PERSONAL QUEST FOR CLARITY I came to discover this process while undergoing my own professional, personal, health, and financial crises. I had left a very secure corporate job and founded a home services business. I soon realized that I hated running this business, and at the same time I found myself in the middle of a divorce that left me financially strapped, emotionally vulnerable, and physically ill with an intestinal disorder. I was afraid to close the business because I needed the money, and grew more miserable, confused, and fearful by the day. For the next three years I explored ways to get physically, financially, psychologically, and professionally healthy -- and walked myself through a long version of what became Clarity Quest. I spent hours reading books, researching medical and health issues, taking classes, and seeking advice from psychologists, doctors, nutritionists, fitness experts, family, and friends. My life was way out of balance. I knew I had to make some drastic changes, but I was too tired to focus and concentrate. The thought of visualizing, setting goals, and achieving them made me even more exhausted. I simply didn't have the energy to think clearly, and I felt claustrophobic. Ancient wisdom suggests that the answers are within us. We just need to be quiet in order to hear them. My problem was that I couldn't hear that "still, small voice" because so many other things were screaming for my attention -- including an unhealthy body. I remember joking with friends about renting a room at the state mental hospital near my home. It had beautiful grounds with manicured lawns and large, sweeping Oak trees. Patients would sit outside in old white lawn chairs. Believe it or not, this setting appealed to me because I was dying to escape life's fast pace for a while. Deep inside, I knew that the faster I could get back into a healthy state of mind and body, the faster I would know how to change my life. But I didn't know how to get healthier. I was consumed by pressing deadlines to meet, clients to call, employees to talk to, and finances to worry about. I didn't want to run off and become a monk, and I couldn't afford a vacation to a spa. I realized that it had to come down to me. I needed to take control of my own destiny. So I began taking care of myself. I started eating healthy and nutritious foods, learned how to relax, exercised, and worked to eliminate some of my unproductive fears. I also retreated to the outdoors. Being outside was like a homecoming for me, since I'd grown up in Montana and knew how renewing, restorative, and healing the powers of nature could be. Whenever I was distressed when I was young, I'd escape down to the river at sunset or find a grove of trees where I could just sit and be still. The quiet and beauty calmed my mind and helped me access my inner wisdom, although at the time I was unaware of what was happening. Finally I did achieve what I had set out to do. I had renewed my spirit, uncluttered my mind, and found clarity. I was able to identify the job of my dreams, the qualities I was looking for in a mate, the type of car I wanted to own, and even what my dream house looked like -- light and airy, with an office, a garden, and hardwood floors in the kitchen. I wrote everything down in great detail, and remarkable things started to happen! I ran a marathon, paid off my debts, purchased a beautiful brand-new convertible, married a wonderful man, and landed a perfect new job without even making a phone call! Some friends remarked that I'd gotten lucky. I knew that it wasn't just luck. Four years later I had to repeat the Clarity Quest process. I was working as a communications consultant in charge of Hewlett-Packard's satellite television operation in northern California when Hewlett-Packard downsized and eliminated a number of positions, including mine. This time I knew exactly what to do! I followed the principles that are outlined in this book and was able to revitalize, take stock, and quickly find the new job of my dreams. I founded my own communications consulting company and now work with Fortune 500 companies as well as start-up companies and individuals. I shared my Clarity Quest process with many friends, colleagues, and clients who found themselves in a similar situation to where I had been. Through working with them, I streamlined the process and found ways to help people focus more quickly. I started teaching workshops and helped people clear away the anxiety, fear, exhaustion, insecurity, unhealthy emotions, and mental clutter that kept them from enjoying their lives. They were able to focus on what they really wanted and take control of their lives with a new sense of purpose and vision. You'll read several inspiring stories of people who have been through the program. I know their stories will motivate you and show you how easily you can gain control of your life. You can feel healthier and better about yourself, break free of analysis paralysis, get clear about what you want, and create your best possible life and livelihood. Copyright © 1999 by Pamela Ammondson Excerpted from Clarity Quest: How to Take a Sabbatical Without Taking More Than a Week Off by Pamela Ammondson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Clarity Quest Fundamentals
Part 1 Base Camp Training
Chapter 2 Week 1: Getting a Good Night's Sleep
Chapter 3 Week 2: Banking on Your Future
Chapter 4 Week 3: Fuel for Thought
Chapter 5 Week 4: Renewal and Regeneration Through Exercise
Part 2 Lightening the Load
Chapter 6 Week 5: Simplifying and Streamlining Your Life
Chapter 7 Week 6: Letting Go and Lightening Up
Chapter 8 Week 7: High-Power Energetics
Part 3 Reaching the Summit
Chapter 9 Week 8: Clarity Quest: The Guided Week-Long Sabbatical
Chapter 10 Clarity Quest Pioneers
Chapter 11 Beyond Clarity Quest: Your New Frontier