Back in January 2020, I began a new decade by indulging in two retreats in Mexico, one of my all time favourite destinations. On reflection with the year that ensued for us all – the large commitment I made with both time, distance and money — was a good one.
I returned to Mexico for the first time since 2005 (when I was a trainee lawyer) as a woman in need of a different space, deeper reflection and new connections. I began the two weeks in the South of Mexico for a business retreat after which I took two flights to Sayulita for a full week yoga retreat and whilst it took me over two days to get back to London, the trip was totally worth every investment….and that wasn’t just because the world was about to head straight into a worldwide pandemic.
It was far deeper than that…..incidentally, I’ve attended retreats consistently this past 5 years and hosted them for my clients in beautiful destinations in Marrakech, Goa, Devon and in Spring this year, at a beach house verging into one of the best beaches in Cornwall.
Yet rarely are retreats seen as a strategy for growth and advancement yet it’s my intention to illustrate exactly why they ought to be and why attending retreat should be part of your business strategy for advancement ( especially if you are a woman).
The word ‘retreat’ means to back out, move or step back and even ‘retreat’ from enemy lines. It can also mean to find a ‘safe or quiet place’ indicating danger might be present which is something all of us can resonate with in 2020, the year we’ve all been forced to retreat in the face of a worldwide pandemic.
To move or step back can be seen as the opposite of advancement and it is – but ‘moving back or contracting’ is essential before we can move forward with clarity, intention and/or to expand deeper into ourselves and our businesses.
A business cycle is the same as any life cycle – businesses are born, they grow and mature and many die or transform into something new.
Yet a cycle is not a steady or linear line of constant expansion (as society encourages) but rather a series of stops and starts and something I like to consider more of as a spiral with a continuous curve both widening (and tightening) around a central point.
In current times, a business should be the highest expression of our deepest values and designed in serving others in the best way we can. To do that, we should be deeply connected with our central point (which is different for each of us) and understand who we are and what really is most important to us.
In today’s super fast (and may I suggest super distracted) world, we should frequently ‘step back to connect or reconnect with that central point. Otherwise, the risk is to jerk around from place to place continuously expanding (or trying too) without considering more purposeful and impactful next steps.
Attending a retreat allows you to step back before stepping forward by creating :
- Different Space (Different landscape)
A different space and landscape especially one shrouded in nature gives us a chance to recharge and re-motivate.
By dramatically changing our environment and landscape, we instantly change our thought processes and daily routines (critical for women carrying the heavy burden of home schooling and domestic care right now).
When we step away from the lives (and businesses) we’ve created, we can carefully consider what does and does not feel good, what is and isn’t working. And we can create a more fertile space for growth to plant and cultivate our new ideas within, that is critical considering the small spaces we have existed within this part year.
2. Deeper Reflection (Deeper work)
A time of retreat allows us to be more present in the moment. There’s huge wisdom in being in ‘the now’ and neither chasing or catching up with ourselves. When we are too busy and distracted with the everyday, we miss the obvious turns and directions we ought to be going in.
Cal Newport in his book ‘Deep Work’ talks about distractions being the ‘destroyer of depth’. Being distracted means being absent and so many of us can spend huge chunks of our lives being absent and distracted by the mundane tasks.
When we are absent we are at huge risk of creating shallow businesses (and lives) that lack a deeper meaning and depth. And even if you have depth, there is always a deeper place to go (and it would be shallow to think that there is not).
3. New Connections (New conversation)
Meeting new like minded people means a refreshing exchange of ideas and a change of pace for creative expression (hands up if you have spent too much time with your partner and children this year or maybe you’ve been stuck by yourself with just your thoughts?)
With the support of a new group of people, a retreat creates a practice ground for finding the courage for greater creative expression in the outside world.
Contact me here on Linkedin or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on Retreats in 2021 :
- Feminine Success Retreat – June 2021
- Space and Significance Retreat – October 2021