Entrepreneurs are “on” just about all the time. We're the business owners who juggle more than one role in the business. We often wake up with new ideas swimming in our heads. We see possibilities where others don't. In fact, we often have too many ideas for our own good! It's widely known that solo professionals and entrepreneurs suffer from what is called “bright shiny object syndrome” – that is, we have so many ideas that it it sometimes hard to keep our focus on the one we're working on right now.
Most of us are busy not only within our business, but also have roles in family and community, as well. As our business begins to take off, we have less of the quiet time we need to work “on” the business rather than “in” the business. And, because we expend a high degree of energy, we need respite. In fact, where we get our new ideas and renew our energy is often while we are on retreat.
My formula for fantastic business success is to regularly pull myself away from my business. This stretches me in several ways.
- It forces me to train employees and trust them to run day-to-day operations while I am away.
- It forces me to clear my calendar and budget for personal business retreat time.
- It helps me keep my own ego out of the business and put my attention on the present and future possibilities.
- It forces me to change my daily environment, literally getting a fresh perspective for myself and my business.
In fact, one mark of an entrepreneur who thinks too small is one who insists he cannot get away from his own business. This a sure sign of overwhelm, fatigue, and over-control. Here are five tips for how to do quarterly business retreats that will refuel you and your business.
- Decide what is really nurturing for you, and select accordingly. Your body and spirit may need anything from physical exertion to sunshine.
- Stay within your budget. Retreat centers range from free (monasteries) to the ultimate luxurious destination. Don’t stress yourself more by going into debt.
- Plan far ahead. Clear your calendar 3 to 4 months ahead of time. This gives you plenty of time to make travel arrangements and a bit of time put away some money. It also gives you something to look forward to, a time you know you’ll rest.
- Put away the guilty feelings. It is a gift to model self-care and nurturing to those you care for.
- Enter and come back lightly. Schedule a lighter day before you go and when you come back. You’ll reap more benefits if you are not pressed to the last minute before you leave, and have a day to acclimate when you return.
Think about your work style and take what you need with you. A few pads of paper, pencils or pens, a computer, a list of ideas you've had and need to assess, a list of problem areas you need to think clearly about should all be in your briefcase. Because I work on computer, I will only go places where I can get Internet access. Which, these days, is just about anywhere!
Make your retreat a combination of rest, daydreaming, good food, activity, and work time. Your mind will clear and you will gain instant focus on things that have been bugging you as your mind, body, emotions, and spirit relax and renew. Things that seem truly frustrating and unending will suddenly become clear. You'll find yourself making decisions you've wallowed on about and wondering why you thought it was so hard!
I recommend quarterly retreats, a week at a time. At the least, get away for 4 days. Stay away from e-mail and the phone as much as you can, and at the most check it only once a day. Take a break from social media, too. Your business issues will lessen and juicy new possibilities will flow. You'll get back home enthused and renewed, and that alone boosts your business success.
(c) Sue Painter