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How Spending a Gap Year Abroad Can Benefit Your Future Success



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Do you ever find yourself wondering why you chose to become an entrepreneur in the first place? Has burnout become your norm? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it’s time for you to reevaluate what it means to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs go confidently and boldly after what they want. They fear nothing and are willing to put in the hard work, no matter what sacrifices they must make.

If you find that you’ve lost your spark or are wondering what stands between you and entrepreneurial success, it may be time for you to take a gap year. Spending a gap year abroad will not just broaden your cultural horizons, but a gap year abroad will give you some food for thought about life and success.

While most people take their gap years after high school and before college, entrepreneurs and people in a career can benefit as well from gap years. They can spend this time to reassess what it is they want to do, as well as the reason why they want to pursue their goals.

Below are 6 ways in which spending a gap year abroad will benefit you:

1. You’ll Have Time to Decide What You Really Want

As you watch others go straight into launching their companies or embark on their new careers, this may not always be the right move for you. Taking a gap year may benefit you more than you think it can.

Spending time soul searching may seem strange and feel like it’s a step back, but the concept behind the idea of a gap year abroad is to give yourself time to learn more about the world and to free your mind of any preconceived notions about life and success. You will gain a different perspective and develop your own conception of life and success.

Relocating yourself to be somewhere different in languages and cultures can help you realize how priorities differ across the globe, and help you to gain a new perspective on what is important for you and your future plan.

2. You Can Explore Your Other Goals

You are more than the one idea you’ve been pursuing as an entrepreneur. While building your company has likely required you to zero in on this particular concept, you likely have other goals that you have been itching to pursue. One of the best gap year benefits is having the chance to explore these other ideas.

Without the day-to-day pressures of entrepreneurship, you can give your time to more things, whether that is expanding your skill set or creating something totally new. Worried taking time off from your company will cause you to lose focus? In fact, the opposite is true.

As you explore more of your interests in this time off, you’ll automatically be drawn towards what it is you truly want to do. Even if the goal of your entrepreneurial pursuit is to launch your own business, you’ll be able to spend the time off exploring every aspect of what that means.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

3. You’ll Grow In Your Independence

Most people choose to take a gap year to spend time becoming more self-sufficient. This is one of the most important aspects of becoming successful as an entrepreneur. Building your own business requires a significant amount of self-motivation, independence, and focus.

More often than not, as entrepreneurs push their businesses towards success, they will be the only person in their corner. For this reason, it is so important to spend time developing your own self-confidence and independence.

Some people may see it as selfish to take time building one’s confidence in themselves, but this is an essential step for any entrepreneur. This of your time abroad is the perfect opportunity to become more self-reliant and focus on shaping your future into what you know it should be. When push comes to shove, you’re really the only one that’s in your corner and working towards this realization is one of the most important gap year benefits.

4. You’ll Be Forced to Use Time Wisely

As you begin your gap year, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of free time you have. However, this time is hardly a vacation. While some people may be tempted to spend their gap year slacking off, entrepreneurs use this opportunity to really dig into what life has to offer. They spend this time really learning as much as possible about themselves, their dreams, and the rest of the world.

The biggest challenge you’ll be faced with during your gap year is having to use your time wisely. You only have 24 hours in each day and each day will bring you one step closer to the day your gap year ends. To ensure every moment counts, you’ll need to find new ways to maximize your productivity.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

5. You’ll See That Taking Risks Leads to Rewards

Certainly, not all risks are worth taking, but as you spend your time in your gap year abroad, you’ll learn that living a “safe” life will only get you so far. There will be certain things you’ve always imagined doing, but never had the opportunity or confidence to pursue until now.

This is your chance to explore everything that you’ve been longing to do for years. Whether you’ve always wanted to climb a certain mountain or visit a particular part of the world, the only thing holding you back is yourself.

Moving past your fears and jumping into these calculated risks will lead you to feel stronger than you’ve felt before. As you continue to fill your gap year with risk-taking, you’ll learn more about problem-solving and the link between risk and reward in life and in business. These are the types of experiences that change you and grow you into the fearless leader you always knew you could be.

6. You’ll Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most powerful weapons for professional success, says Soulaima Gourani, a CEO, corporate advisor and writer of Take Control Over Your Career.

People naturally develop EQ in many social situations throughout the course of their lives. The development of EQ can improve significantly when you combine it with travelling abroad where you get to interact with different people and cultures and see things that are out of ordinary.

You can develop a sense of empathy, adaptive ability and resilience from spending your gap year abroad where things don’t often go as planned at all and can even be downright difficult at times. These skills contribute to a strong sense of EQ and that will help you in your future career or entrepreneurship.

A gap year may be one of the best experiences that happens to you. Whether as an entrepreneur, an office worker or even a new grad, you will likely obtain some new perspectives about life and gain clarity on how and what do you want to do next.

No one is born with elements of success, they must turn themselves into the person they hope to be. Through this transformative process, you can become more grounded in your purpose, passion, and self-confidence.

Have you spent a gap year abroad? Share your experience with us!

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Patrick Watt is an Australian writer, currently based in Chiang Mai. He researches and writes content for businesses and brands from all over the world since 2010. At the present, he writes content for SEE TEFL, one of the most established and respected TEFL training courses in Asia. Besides, he is a contributor to many sites such as The Good Men Project and Tweak Your Biz. His interests also include management, startups, and self and human development.

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