Time for me, myself and I
How I started going on solo (business) retreats
I started doing yearly reflections and creating a vision for myself many years ago. At the beginning it was just some journaling questions that I answered together with friends, mostly on a cozy afternoon before the New Years Eve celebrations. The first thing that I understood from these, was that many things could be an achievement, not only a good grade or other outside rewards. Being a good friend could be an achievement. Breaking up with a person that wasn’t good for me could be an achievement. For a type-A person like me that was a big shift.
An Offsite for … Me
When I launched back into entrepreneurship in 2019 I started to bring more structure into that analysis. I had seen my friends that worked in fancy start-ups going on off-sites in nice locations and got a bit envious. Then it hit me:
I was the CEO in my company and I could organize an offsite for … me.
And so I did. For my first „real“ business retreat I went to an airbnb in Bretagne, a location that I could nicely combine with a business trip I had to make anyway
Evolving My Methods
With every reflection I did, I evolved my methods further. But I am a very heady person and at some point I realized that thinking and analyzing alone could only bring me so far. I was not engaging my intuition and sensing skills into the process, basically my whole body was left out. I did it all in my head. And – no surprise – it felt like a lot of work, a chore that I had to do and that created stress. Which was the least thing I wanted.
Inviting my Body
So I shifted my approach. I embraced the idea of treating these days of reflection as a sacred time, a ritual, that I alone defined and shaped. I invited my whole self in: My body, my spirit, my intuition. My needs, my emotions. Everything was welcome in that time that I reserved for me. And they all came.
When I say spiritual I don’t mean religious or esoteric. What I am connecting to is actually pretty scientific: The planet, the elements, the universe that we obviously are a part of. But this is just MY way of doing it. The nice thing about designing your personal retreat is that you can make it as woo woo or down to earth as you like.
Making Use of Visuals
I also adjusted my methods: I am visual person so it was just logic to include more pictures into the process. Visuals have the handy peculiarity, that they can give us an overview, they show us everything at one glance. Making use of this made the reviews lighter for me and further helped to engage all my senses, not just my intellect.
Steering my Ship
Throughout my career I have often made decisions, that seemed radical from the outside. Only working with clients that create positive change in the world, was one of them. People often ask me, how I reached the clarity and courage to focus on such a „small niche“. (In fact that niche is huge, but that’s a different story.) My regular retreats have certainly been part of that journey. Once I looked at what motivated me, what gave me energy and at my core values, steering my ship got surprisingly simple.
How It Serves Me
By now I do at least one retreat every three month (some are longer and some very short) and it has served me tremendously.
- I manage to make a living from my work as an illustrator for sustainability topics.
- I take two month off every summer to – enjoy live.
- I created time, space and financial resources for my personal healing.
And to be honest the retreats themselves have been part of that healing, too. Deliberately pausing on a regular basis has prevented me from getting into a frantic work mode where I am only doing, doing, doing and can’t take sane decisions anymore – pure burnout prevention. That also meant dealing with private topics during retreat. Because I (finally) realized that I can’t separate my private and my professional self. They are different sides of the same person and only looking at one of them will always be incomplete. Now I look at what is there and do what needs to be done to bring me back into balance. Whether that’s private or professional.
How About You?
On December 16, I will be teaching my method for designing my personal retreat, including a reflection of the past year and creating a vision for the one to come.
Find all the details and sign up here.