I sent out an email to my followers last week with a little synopsis of my experience of Leisa’s recent retreat in Kona, Hawaii, and she liked it so much, she asked me to guest post. I’m honored!
I’ll start by explaining that I started following Leisa about three years ago and I’ve been working with her in some form or fashion for at least two years now. In that time, I went from directing a small global non-profit coalition to being unemployed after getting laid off (and not having a clue what I was going to do with myself), to launching a business coaching practice of my own. I have Leisa to thank for planting that seed and making sure it stuck!
Retreating has always been a really attractive concept to me, but until meeting Leisa, I’d only ever done it in a more corporate, mundane way, with the intended outcomes being about team-building or plans. This retreat, however, was all about me. It felt a bit indulgent and I had a harder time explaining to people in my life why I was doing it … but upon return, no one could deny that something big had shifted!
Since returning from retreat, I’ve noticed several benefits:
- My energy is still so clear! I always do a thought download at the beginning of the day (to clear out the gunk), and I focused on this even more while in retreat mode. I’ve also continued to meditate daily, and as a result, I don’t have nearly so much chatter going on in my head. It’s easier for me to sit down at my desk and concentrate because my “monkey mind” isn’t constantly trying to distract me.
- People are being really nice to me. I mean REALLY. Coming up to me and offering me things, complimenting me on my sweater or accessories or smile. I think it’s because I feel really good, and they can feel that energy, too. And they want some!
- I’m kind of obsessed now with how to LOVE my business more. How to find joy in the little things and create systems and processes as I build that will take the stress out, and take the menial tasks that I don’t love so much and automate or outsource them so that I can concentrate on the big picture and on client work because that’s really what fires me up!
- I’m also listening to my gut more. I discovered through my Human Design report (ask Leisa if you want to know what this is) that my decision-making center is my gut, but I get really distracted by my emotions and tend to default to making decisions from that place instead. So far so good … I’ll have to report back later on the outcomes of some recent decisions to let you know how this plays out in the long run.
All in all, it was an incredible journey for me in “retreat mode.”
If you’ve never been on a retreat, I’d highly recommend it. And they’re kind of the hot ticket right now … I mean, you could go on a retreat for literally anything. There are business retreats, yoga retreats, religious retreats, meditation retreats, mindfulness retreats, passion retreats, Ayurvedic spa retreats – you name it! There are who people tend to lump a retreat in with a vacation, as a simple chance to get away from your regular life and chill out for a bit, but I’d offer that it goes far beyond that. For me, a retreat is defined by the intentions you set around it. And my intentions were to completely unplug from my regular life, get quiet, reconnect with my purpose, and stay present (in the HERE+NOW, which is coincidentally, the name of my business … see what I did there?)
Here’s a peak at my rough daily schedule:
- 4:30am (7:30am Pacific) – wake up, meditate, thought download, identify intentions
- 6:30am – Breakfast
- 8:00am – Group Coaching Session, beginning with check-in, followed by yoga or meditation, and plenty of dance breaks in between (‘cause sometimes you just gotta Shake It Off!)
- 11:30am – Lunch
- 1:00pm – Beach outing, or other adventure
- 4:00pm – Shower, Rest, Private Coaching Sessions, or Prep Dinner
- 6:00pm – Dinner
- 7:00pm – Evening Coaching Session
- 9:00pm – Yoga Nidra
- 10:00pm – Journal, Bed
The first couple of days were about gaining awareness, allowing and feeling. There were six of us, including Leisa. It was a perfectly small and very intimate group, which allowed us to establish trust very quickly. We all identified the tightly-held beliefs and histories that have been holding us back in various ways in our lives and businesses.
Mid-week, we took one full day off and drove out to Kealakekua Bay, where we kayaked across to Captain Cook Monument and spent the afternoon snorkeling and picnicking out of our kayaks. We missed the dolphins, but had plenty of fun with the beautiful fish in the bay and one big gorgeous manta ray that came by to spread some love. After that, we stopped by to get some Donkey Balls and picked up some souvenirs … because you’ve got to have some fun mixed in with all this seriousness!
The second half of the program was focused on experience and transformation, and integration of our learning back into our lives and businesses.
Now, that all may sound a little woo-woo for some of you (more so for some of my own followers), but for others it’s super-appealing. I’ve always found a way to balance my highly analytical/practical side with the esoteric, spiritual/metaphysical, and yet, keep them very separate. I even tend to keep my friends separate that might tend to be more interested in one than the other.
What I realized over the course of this retreat, however, is that in order for me to show up in this business (and my life) in a fully authentic way, I can’t be hiding one or over-emphasizing the other.
Here’s a little evidence for how this was such a game-changer:
This iteration of my business is still in start-up mode and while we were away on the retreat, I was determined not to let anything fall through the cracks. Being there helped me build up quite a lot of confidence around being vulnerable and showing my true self in my marketing efforts. Given that, I made this huge deal of pre-scheduling a FB Live event on the last day right before I was set to leave for the airport. I scheduled it and posted the time and link on my FB page. I sent out a special email notification to all my subscribers. I scheduled the time and double-checked it.
And, when the time came, EVERYTHING about it seemed to be going wrong. First, I had issues with the time because I’d told everyone it would be at 12:30pm Pacific, but with the time change the weekend before, it meant I had to adjust. So, I changed it on my end. Then I realized I had to change it back because if I actually did it at 12:30pm Pacific, I would miss my flight! Not cool. Then, when I went to start recording, the FB app kept crashing on my phone. I could not get it to open. So, I grabbed my laptop and went to hit the “Go Live” button and it was greyed out. I relaunched and found the same thing. Finally, I found a workaround that involved starting a whole new live feed. Luckily, I was in such a zen space after 8 days of mindfulness, meditation, yoga and swimming in the ocean that I didn’t even care that I was 15 minutes late and no one could find me to join live and by then I’d completely forgotten my agenda. I had to wonder if the Universe was trying to tell me it wasn’t meant to be. But, I was just so excited to share the vibe there that I did it anyway. I said “um” a LOT, but I’m pretty sure I got my point across despite being distracted … and I didn’t even care (I should point out that this is very unlike me). It just felt amazing to put it out there!
So what’s next?
I’ve been giving fair warning to my followers that there will be more WOO coming their way slowly but surely in my messaging. Hopefully, it doesn’t scare anyone away, but if they’re not into it, I totally understand.
I’ll definitely be talking a lot more about things like “love and business” and touchy, feely, mushy stuff that didn’t seem to have a place in an entrepreneurial environment until recently. I will not be giving up my “no BS” approach. I’ll still tell it like it is because that’s a big part of who I am.
But, there will be some alternative tools and resources included. More talk of mindfulness, meditation, energy work, feelings (don’t roll your eyes!), and sharing some of the tools that have worked so well for me over the years that I have kept totally separate from my professional life up to now.
The reason for this shift is that I feel like I can help so many more people if I show them the whole picture, not just a piece of the puzzle. I’m a big proponent of looking at the world in systems, and this is a really important piece of the system for me.
I told everyone that I look forward to hearing their thoughts on the matter, and if they want to drop me like a New-Age-Hippiemama-Hot-Potato, that’s their prerogative. But I guarantee the best is yet to come. And I promise to make everyone laugh about it, even if I have to go all JP Sears on them!!
Finally, there will be more retreats in my future! In fact, I kind of can’t imagine my business without this element … not only for myself, but I’ll also be offering retreats in the future to my clients. The benefits are just undeniable!
Megan Arneson’s mission is to support purpose-driven entrepreneurs in developing a solid foundation for growth by optimizing their systems, their support teams, and their own mindsets. HERE+NOW helps entrepreneurs get out of their own way and stop indulging in overwhelm so you can build a solid foundation for growth and fall in love with your business again. Ready to get UNSTUCK? Get your Free Guide here.