Personal Strategy Retreats
You don’t have to wait for a sabbatical to recalibrate and give your life/career/business a powerful reboot
Have you ever imagined taking a sabbatical from your life, career, or business in order to give yourself a reboot? Many people expect that they will return with the answers to some of their most pressing questions.
Am I on the right path?
Is there something else out there?
You don’t need to sail around the world or spend 3 months at a monastery in Africa to tap into that deeper place where your bigger vision for yourself is located.
Sometimes, you just need a well-structured week to call it to the surface and give yourself a cognitive reboot.
Successful companies do not wait for permission to go away and ask themselves these important questions. They do it by prioritizing annual strategic planning retreats and quarterly offsites. CEO’s of these companies know that these events are crucial to the direction and wellbeing of the business.
As the CEO of You Inc., what if you treated you own life/career as your most important project? More and more ambitious individuals are prioritizing their life by taking focused time outs to clarify their bigger vision, plot strategies to fulfill it, and plan out any shorter-term actions to keep things on track.
What is a Personal Strategy Retreat?
It is a physical and mental opportunity to step away from the hectic pace of day to day life so that you can breathe and hear yourself think.
The purpose is to create the space to think long term about what really matters in the greater scheme of things. Otherwise, we find ourselves buried and reacting to the urgency of proximate issues, operating within the framework of old goals that may no longer fit the person we are today, or worse, drifting along or reacting to the narrative of others.
Like a company, your life is also constantly evolving. When things are going well you can ramp things up and consider the next big thing.
When things aren’t going the way you’d like, you can reconsider, recalibrate and find an alternate way forward.
A personal strategy retreat is something that you can, and should, take regularly– at least once per year, with quarterly check-ins to hold focus and keep things on track. It just requires time away, with the right framework, so it can be harnessed to push you forward powerfully.
Should I retreat by myself or with someone else?
It is helpful to have an objective partner to probe and encourage perspective shifting. But, you want to be listened to, and not someone directing your thinking with their own ideas or solutions for you and your life/career/project.
If you choose to have a friend, colleague or family member join you, then you’ll want to make sure that they truly have your best interest at heart and are able to leave their own agenda and judgement at the door.
A guided retreat by a strategist can provide structure, content, tools, and exploratory exercises to make sure that the time away is productive.
Whichever route you take, it is best to create a typical daily structure to give your day/night a shape within which you can contemplate, evaluate, brainstorm and capture insights.
Sample contemplation topics:
· Where have I been/what has occurred since the last check-in?
· What would I like to spend more time on? What’s working?
· What would I like to spend less time on? What’s not working?
· If everything went in my favor over the next year, what would have happened?
· Which five relationships are most helping me to evolve positively?
· What are some key milestones/actions I can take to keep my vision on track?
Where should a personal strategy retreat take place, and how much time should it take?
The offsite can be structured with as little as one-day, or can be a multi-day intensive retreat, so that you can use a different contemplative lens each day. Creativity loves space, so make sure that you give yourself some unstructured time for things to bubble to the surface.
It is also beneficial to eliminate distractions, such as turning off all electronic devices and setting up an automated out of office email reply to relieve the pressure to check-in.
It is best to leave your normal environment and step into one that relaxes you and enlivens your senses. Being in close proximity to nature is always recommended, as is going away to a place that is unlike environments that you are used to. An inspiring location can immediately shift your perspective and open the mind’s creative gates.
Stay put and work with a professional
You can book a group or private personal strategy retreat with a professional strategist. This can be especially helpful if you find it hard to find time to plot out your own location, create a retreat structure and prepare content and exercises. Plus a retreat facilitator can be a useful if what you most need is a trained and objective guide who can help you create an actionable roadmap as a result.
If getting away sounds impossible, it probably means that you’d really benefit from a timeout and check-in with yourself! You can even look for a personal retreat strategist who can accommodate a weekend retreat (or early mornings/evening sessions), so you can engage in tandem with your current work schedule. Many professionals work virtually so that you can save the added transportation time to/from sessions. But carving out that space and protecting it fiercely will be your responsibility.
Personal Strategy Retreats are not just good for individuals to recalibrate, recharge and reset — they benefit the organizations these individuals work for. Without recovery periods, our ability to continue performing at high levels diminishes significantly.
Good companies treat longer sabbaticals as an extrinsic reward for time spent with the organization.
Great companies aren’t waiting that long. They are using employee development initiatives in more immediate and creative ways. Instead of personality tests and behavioral dictates, innovative companies are encouraging their employees to take more immediate and shorter recharge periods to tap into their creative forces and intrinsic motivation.
More and more companies realize that it is invaluable to invest in their employees personal development in order to enhance their talents, strengths and contributions. You may be eligible for professional development initiatives to support or partially fund your next personal strategy retreat.
It is up to you to prioritize yourself and initiate your next personal strategy retreat, anytime– like now.