I have to admit to you here that I was not looking forward to my retreat.
You will notice in the book that I encourage you to get excited so you will commit to your date and your preparation to make it a great retreat.
In my case, I knew that there were some pretty serious issues I’d be considering this time and I wasn’t looking forward to making some of these decisions that lay before me. They weren’t big decisions about my family life but rather how my personal retreat would inform some of the decisions I needed to make in my business. Now was the time to make these decisions too, I couldn’t wait on some of these issues.
Maybe that in and of itself was motivating to stick to my plans – decisions have to be made and I’m not one to shirk responsibility for long.
So right off the bat, I had a complication. The park that I was planning on visiting was closed for a once a year event. Total bad luck.
I like doing my retreat at this big park in my city. Several acres of woodland and you can get lost in the trees without much effort and have some quiet time with very little distraction.
Today there was a bunch of runners all over the streets around the park which was going to delay my start time by over 2 hours.
I drove to another location but as I was going I noticed the skies darkening and the secondary location had no shelter.
By this point I was ready to stop and try to rebuild my plans so I came to a busy coffee shop. I got a coffee, sat down in a comfy chair and just decided I would use some of my meditation techniques to relax.
Interestingly enough, I found that being able to relax and focus in preparation for my retreat was made easier by the busy-ness in the shop. People were talking, the baristas were clanking around drinkware, the door was active with the customers coming and going. The din of all this activity became a background that shut out distracting thoughts and sounds.
I figured “Hey, it’s warm here, not raining, and I feel really prepared to start!”
So a fellow using a big table happened to leave so I wandered over, set up my space and began to work.
2 hours flew by. I was incredibly focused and found that it was pretty easy to start the introspection that I did last year and found some new things about myself that I hadn’t realized.
This time I was able to focus more closely on the nature of my creativity.
I always knew I enjoyed being creative but exploring how and why was elusive.
Today, I found that I really enjoy visualizing and bringing those visualizations to life.
This led to some possible new activites I might enjoy doing, like doing some 3D modeling. It made me realize why I enjoy building computer networks and making business plans.
Once I was able to identify this in myself, I then started making connections between this type of creativity and some of the other activities I find myself enjoying. Problem solving. Brainstorming with a team. Even writing is a creative outlet that needs some visualization.
This focus and productivity led to some more positive feelings about my retreat and I felt more engaged in the process.
Now I moved into the business retreat part of my day and by starting with the personal side, I felt more grounded in myself and I felt more confident about the tough decisions I was making.
I felt like I got off track in my business and in reflecting on this I can see that checking back on my personal retreat notes from time to time might have given me some of the foresight I needed to avoid the challenges I was now needing to work through.
The really great thing about the entire process is that I’ve made time to think these things through and I can move forward in a way that is going to benefit me and my business. Without a retreat I could be going headlong into a brick wall, or worse – somewhere I can’t make my way back from!