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How taking solo retreats is beneficial for founders and entrepreneurs

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A while ago I flew from Minneapolis to Panama City and then took a water taxi to a backpacker’s resort. Before I knew it, I was swinging from an air circus hoop suspended from a sailboat above the shimmering Caribbean Sea. While it wasn’t technically a business trip, I thought it was good for business. I embraced play and quit, breaking some of the ever-present conventions of entrepreneurship by taking a short break from my clients – as a mental health professional with an entrepreneurship focus, podcaster, speaker, writer, and mother.

I escaped to an “air and sail” retreat organized by the Paper Doll Militia. As an londonbusinessblog.com, it was exciting to suspend my responsibilities and turn and turn and turn, to practice aerial arts, a hobby of mine. If you’d watched, you’d have seen me hopping along the sandy beach with a big grin on my sun-stained face.

I am a big believer in solo retreats for founders and entrepreneurs. But I find that most of my clients — mostly business owners — put their needs aside and first consider sending their team on an off-campus mission to build culture, cohesion, or the next big idea. They see arranging a retreat for their people as a major investment in the long-term success of their business. But a retreat to itself? Indulgent. Trivial. Logistically impossible.

Related: This founder makes sure to have one life-changing solo trek every year

Business leaders find it difficult to distance themselves. A Harvard Study of CEOs found that those who did manage to take a break worked 70% of their vacation days, leaving little room to recharge or reconnect with family, let alone think about business or life goals.

I’ve been asked many times, what is the ROI of a founders’ retreat? At first glance, this is more difficult to answer. The importance of corporate retreats is constantly emphasized as a business priority. For example, londonbusinessblog.com.com has at least a dozen stories on its site about corporate retreats, including this one on the hows and whys of organizing them.

A quick search on “founder retreat”, “solo retreat” or “londonbusinessblog.com retreat” yields relatively little. There’s an interesting piece for business travelers and top executives looking to find a place to unplug, and another on the benefits of taking a 20-minute walk in nature here and there (which I highly recommend). But I want to add one more thing.

The ROI of a Founder’s Retreat

Entrepreneurs are a primary business unit. We are core functions of our company and we are also worth investing, refining and charging. Being in top shape helps our businesses to function.

A body of evidence shows that restorative experiences, such as vacations, provide sharper attention, mental clarity, and inspired insights. An oft-cited study discovered in 2006, on behalf of New Zealand Air, that a few days of vacation increased people’s response time by as much as 80%. And if you want a creative solution or fresh look, go abroad or spend time in nature. A brainwave is more likely to strike when you’re away from your desk or staring at your phone.

Being an londonbusinessblog.com can take up all our inner space. Tackling day-to-day tasks leaves limited space to reflect on the overall direction of our businesses – and our lives. The urgency of shipping or networks overshadows the seemingly non-urgent, existential questions. Am I happy? How can I improve my relationships? What do I want to achieve in my work?

Retreats provide an opportunity to reflect on big questions. Regular retreats make it possible to notice changes over time and to assess whether the default settings are still optimal. It is possible that among the standard thoughts that permeate life, some truly creative ideas await the birth of space.

I’ve known entrepreneurs who decided on big changes after the lull of a retreat: the decision to sell a business, move in a new direction, pursue a new set of philanthropic activities, or start a new business in addition to their existing one. work. I’ve also known entrepreneurs who have decided to end a personal relationship, adopt a child, or move their family to a new city based on the clarity that emerged during a focused retreat.

Making time to focus on your personal growth and professional pursuits allows you to focus your energy and serves as a litmus test for when you need to say “no,” rather than running through the pros and cons of each opportunity. to take. A retreat saves this energy. It makes “no” easier and “yes” clearer. If you don’t make time for these big life questions, it also has consequences for the business.

Related: 7 Sabbatical Ideas That Will Charge You for Success

How do you withdraw?

A retreat is different from a vacation, which could be an all-inclusive, drinking Mai Tais on the beach, or a backpacking trip through Northern Thailand. When I went to the Panama retreat, I tried to improve my strength, endurance and skills with some of the world’s best aerial coaches. It was an escape, but also a deep dive into something I love.

My clients have told me that they appreciate these other dimensions in my life and that I was on a sailboat pursuing my hobby. I show that it is possible to free up time from my responsibilities. That said, I have the support of my clients, colleagues and family. I also gave myself permission to take this time away.

The holidays are coming. For many of us, we are looking forward to booking a retreat for our teams in November and December. And you? If you can’t take the plunge into a retreat, ask yourself “why not?” What stops you? Why do you think you don’t need or deserve this? What support system can you set up in your company to make this happen? Give yourself permission to go on a retreat, trusting that investing in yourself will bring a positive return.

Related: 4 tips for how business owners can unplug and recharge while on vacation

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