As solo-entrepreneurs, we often get caught up in tasks that require a push/pull of very different, even opposing strengths, skills and energy levels.
We need to be visible and show up every day – yet our best work comes when we go off-grid to think, feel and act away from and outside of the influence of others.
We need to build our tribe by boldly sharing our unique point of view, opinions, and ideas – but the fear of being criticized, judged, or misunderstood may leave us feeling unprotected and overly exposed.
We need to be visionary, strategic and calculated about our long-term plans – yet day-to-day business challenges require agility, improvisation and in-the-moment decision making.
We need to stay current in a fast-paced world by creating, innovating and iterating – at the same time, we need time to methodically analyze the details and data of our efforts.
Macro and micro.
Nearsighted and farsighted.
Planning and improvisation.
Decisive and flexible.
Serious and relaxed.
Forest and trees.
This juxtaposition of efforts can feel like a tug of war on our psyche.
We love our businesses, because we can create profit aligned to our values, and honour our connections to deeper purpose.
But sometimes we get tired. We expose ourselves to too much stimulation and become entangled in the noise and needs of others. When this happens we have a hard time hearing our own answers to the important questions we’re asking, like What’s next? Where am I being called? What wants to emerge?
Every time I retreat I re-learn the lesson that experiencing nature while thinking about my business has a high return on investment. Some of my best ideas have shown up when I’m walking my dog through tall pines or sitting with big questions as I stare at the vastness of the ocean.
A retreat will often fulfill that longing to find your footing, turn inward and reconnect with what is true for you. Even the most brave, magic, noble, and steadfast need to get away so they can, ultimately, come home to themselves.
I believe in the power of retreats so much that I lead several individual and group retreats each year. And each one provides lessons to transform your work, luxury to soothe your soul and lots of love to prime you for your next grand adventure.
Here are 5 ways a business retreat changes the way you think:
Business retreats provide ideal conditions to work ‘on’ our business rather than ‘in’ it. The focus is to be proactive with our next steps rather than reactive to what’s already in motion. New environments, landscapes, people, and routines can help to shift our perspective and the way we see ourselves and our business. New insights mean we can more easily access creative solutions to challenges that once felt heavy and immovable. When we change up our environment we can move away from stagnant, lone-wolf-thinking and into creative, expansive, visionary thinking. Answers to our big, thoughtful questions can emerge. Clarity becomes palpable.
Forest Bathing, Ocean Elixirs, and Cabin Fever (the good kind)
Getting back to nature is a powerful human need. In Japan, they have a practice called Forest Bathing and studies have shown that simply being amongst trees reduces blood pressure, lowers the stress hormone cortisol, improves your immune system, and creates an overall feeling of well-being. Similarly, the therapeutic effects of being in and around water can help shape our thoughts, feelings and decision-making. Sometimes the act of sitting by the sea will act like a mirror for bigger picture thinking. Being near the ocean improves sleep quality too – the rhythmic sound of waves has a calming effect on mind and body, and sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen, balance our levels of serotonin, and improve alertness and concentration. Choosing a retreat that immerses you in nature supports the fact that you are both of nature and attuned to it. Just like we crave citrus when our body is low in vitamin C, we may also feel a longing for uninterrupted time in nature where we can rest, reset and feel better.
Introvert. Extrovert. Different Needs. Equal Benefits.
Intimate business retreats are ideal for introverts because we enjoy low stimulation, small group intimacy, and high quality conversations that involve deep listening and meaningful connection. We appreciate having ample uninterrupted time to process our thoughts and feelings, and the chance to recharge our energy through solo activities. Extroverts enjoy business retreats because they can counter feelings of isolation and loneliness from being self-employed. Participating in small group discussions, brainstorming, and talking things out with real live humans who are encouraging and who offer different viewpoints can feel really inspiring. For both groups, business retreats bring a sense of travel, adventure, play, camaraderie, and new beginnings that can be stimulating to the mind and energizing for the soul.
Personal Growth. Deeper Transformation.
Even though business retreats focus on your business, the most effective retreats will also focus on you, the business owner. I believe the behaviours of your business are a reflection of what is going on inside of you. Experiential learning that helps you uncover and dismantle your self-perceived limits and deepens your awareness of your strengths and values will have longer lasting effects. Gaining a deeper understanding of your intrinsic motivators will help you to step into your personal power and improve your capacity to lead in all aspects of your business, and your life.
Cross-Pollination for Stronger Ideas and Supercharged Connections.
Business retreats give you focused time to expand your idea pool — to cross-pollinate — with the wisdom and experience of other people. You get real-time feedback on your challenges, ideas and next steps. The encouragement, insight and support of an intimate group can make all the difference between aimless exertion and incremental steps towards success. Sharing your experiences and listening to other people share theirs can feel like a massive relief, one that will allow you to get out of your own way and into consistent and intentional action.
Are You Yearning to Retreat?
If you feel a calling, a resonance, a remembering or a longing as you read this post, it might be a sign that, while you LOVE your business and LOVE serving your clients, it’s time to retreat. Which is different from a vacation, of course, because you put your day-to-day work on pause, but you dial your purpose and mission way up. This is exactly why I designed the Seaspark Retreat. As a chance for women in business to create a customized individual experience or bring their own peer-group or mastermind group together for an intimate small group experience.
Retreats really do cut through the noise, turbulence and push-pull that invades our work everyday. By changing what you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel for a few days, you may be surprised just how much you can change what you think.