Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



206 919 6440


The Value of Rest and Rejuvenation!

Hello friends, 

Today I refer to you as a friend because anyone who makes and takes the time to read this piece deserves the title. 😊 This is the first I wrote after a powerful and life-infusing sabbatical.
Over the past several weeks, I was on a sabbatical in Europe and West Africa. You might be thinking: What is a sabbatical? – Is it just a fancy word for an extended vacation? Or is it the long-awaited benefit some companies grant to tenured employees? Well, depending on who you speak to, it could be either! 

The undeniable human need to rest!

A most intriguing perspective on sabbaticals is the origins of the term. Historically, a sabbatical is a year of rest for the land observed every seventh year in ancient Judea. And currently, a sabbatical leave is a leave often with pay granted, usually every seventh year, for rest, travel, or research. Sabbatical year Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster 

Now, you might be thinking… I still think a sabbatical is nothing more than a fancier word for a lengthy vacation. It’s just semantics!
And to that, I respond: I understand that sentiment because earlier, whenever employees went on sabbatical leaves, I also viewed their time off as such. – Nothing more than periods when the company allowed them to take an extended vacation instead of the customary 3-week annual time off. And to me, a sabbatical was merely a reward for loyalty and a way to spur other workers to work for more years at the company.

My opinion and understanding of sabbaticals altered when I observed a senior tech executive’s approach to life and leadership change when he returned from his sabbatical leave. This leader, like many, was known as a highly driven, no-nonsense, and “successful” workaholic. And many said that he did not suffer fools gladly. But after his sabbatical, during which he visited Eastern and Southern Africa, he returned a changed man! – Equally passionate but a tad more patient, still driven but visibly compassionate, blunt but softer around the edges.

An aside…

I believe a truly successful life includes personal and professional aspects. And when achievements are solely in the professional domain, one is well-accomplished.
Years ago, I came to this understanding when I realized I had prioritized my professional life at the expense of my personal life for too long. And thanks to great counsel, I recognized professional accomplishments were invaluable, but allowing them to overshadow my personal struggles was a devastating mistake! 
Also, I learned that expecting perfection personally and professionally at all times was unrealistic. And this realization led me to search for balance.

Back to sabbaticals…

Before we go too far, it is worth understanding how a sabbatical differs from other extended periods of rest… If a sabbatical is a lengthy, purposeful time of rest, then what is a vacation? A vacation is a time spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. Or a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended. Vacation Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

Then today, there is another fun term that many use – staycation. Many think of a staycation as a time to stay at home and visit local attractions. Or lounge around the house and change the desk name plate from Senior Accountant to Couch Potato. 😊

The Call to Journey!

Sabbaticals, vacations, staycations! These terms sound different, but all point to one word: restRest is an undeniable human need. And sabbaticals offer a little more – rejuvenation. They provide an opportunity to revive a joie de vivre or exuberant enjoyment of life. And this year, when a sabbatical beckoned, I answered the call and went journeying into new territory!

On my sabbatical, I set out to meet luminaries. I had an idea of how I would benefit from the experience. But I steered away from planning every minute of each day because I wanted to see what would come my way as I connected with broad thinkers who effuse wisdom. And I was amazed! – I played with abandon, learned zealously, dreamed boundlessly, and imagined limitlessly. And the exuberant feeling was possible because of the many remarkable people I met, who will forever hold a special place in my heart. 

The Source of Joy

Today, I will share an insight that shone bright like the Aurora borealis throughout my trip. 

A most illuminating moment was when I visited a small village in West Africa. Being there led me to ponder the impact of modernization on our quest for fulfillment. Because there, water and electricity – two necessities that most of us consider mere expectations, are scarce! Notably, this made me very uncomfortable! But I was surprised by the copious amount of pure and unadulterated joy that flowed from the hearts and beamed in the eyes of the locals. Joy illuminated the atmosphere as locals strolled in the countryside. Each morning, they greeted each other with wide grins and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to see another day and to see each other once again. They were joyful when they were with each other. And their source of joy was their gratitude.

And this got me thinking about the other side of the world – the Western world. – A world with fancy homes, where water flows unceasingly through faucets and volts of electricity illuminate the streets. But surprisingly and often, despite the many conveniences, pure joy seems to be in short supply. 

Indeed, the moment I crossed the Atlantic Ocean and returned home, I couldn’t help but notice that the attention-grabbing headlines on the news hadn’t changed. – Mental illness is still on the rise! Crime rates continue to surge! Political feuds persist! And the list goes on! It occurred that although much time had passed, so little had changed! And this would lead one to ask: Are we endlessly reliving the same script, day after day? And if so, how might we propel creation?

These are worthy questions! And over the next few weeks, I will share some of the insights I received and the lessons I learned. I hope to share in a manner that benefits you personally and professionally. 

Till then, may we appreciate the little things. – The water that flows when we turn the faucet and the light that brightens our path when we flip the switch.

For you and to you,



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *