This TED Talk by designer Stefan Sagmeister is a brilliant example of just how powerful letting go can be. Every 7 years he takes one year off from his New York studio to explore design ideas in other parts of the world.

The idea of taking a working sabbatical first came to him as a response to a problem. The problem being that their work as a design firm had begun to stagnate. So in order to regenerate his artistic spirit and his business, he came up with this plan.

By taking a year off, Sagmeister rediscovered his love of design. And upon returning to New York he also found that the genesis of his work for the next seven years originated in that year-long sabbatical. His “time off” also proved to be financially successful since the quality of their work as a firm improved overall.

I was forced into a similar situation last year in which I had to take a sabbatical from work in order to heal my fractured foot. In this past year, I’ve been working on different projects and creating freely, just trusting that it would pay off.

Ironically, this May not only marks the end of my year-long sabbatical but it also marks the launch of a new business that a dear friend and I founded in January. A venture I’ve poured my heart and soul into and indeed, got me back in touch with my artistic spirit on a whole new level.

Proof, from yours truly, that letting go and following your heart WORKS!

So I think it’s vital that we allow ourselves time off, not only to renew our artistic spirits but our lives as a whole. Our bodies regenerate completely every seven years so it only makes sense that we revive our artistic selves on the same time schedule as well.

And maybe we all can’t take a whole year off, but we can take vacations without feeling guilty. We can make use of our off-time to do things that feed our soul. We can be inspired by people like Sagmeister and understand that letting go can be just as powerful as charging ahead in our lives.

So what’re your thoughts on this idea? Ever taken a sabbatical? How did it change your life? Do you ever feel guilty taking time off? How do you revive your artistic spirit?