Today I’m sharing three big and rather painful lessons I learned from a recent business retreat in the mountains of Spain.
I booked my place on the retreat over two years ago before COVID and all the lockdowns, and if I’m honest, I was questioning whether it was still something I wanted to do.
Despite having been on a couple of retreats before and loving them, I felt that my life and business had moved on significantly since I booked and I wondered if was the best use of my time.
Throw in the fact that Aidan and the boys got sick a week before I left. I spent a week wondering whether I’d get sick too and not be able to travel, then there was the inevitable mum guilt I felt leaving them at home, bad weather and problems with the hire car when I finally got to Spain.
I was feeling miserable about it all. I’m sure you can relate!
Anyway, after a day or two, I realised that going on the retreat was the best decision I could’ve made. It gave me a chance to step back and take a long, hard look at everything going on in my life and determine whether I was going in the direction I wanted. Here’s what I learned:
Lesson 1 – There is so much more to life than business
On the first day we were directed to look at all the different roles we play: wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, entrepreneur, and business mentor.
When it comes to setting goals, we can mistakenly only focus on our business and not look at our life as a whole so this was a great way to look at the bigger picture.
It felt good to have dedicated time to delve into at all my different roles, align them with my values, and set goals for the year across all areas of my life.
I was surprised to see that only a few of my goals related to business; all the others were connected to family life and relationships with my loved ones.
As entrepreneurs we can sometimes forget how interconnected the rest of our life is with our business activity. We can get so wrapped up in our work that we neglect other things.
In focusing 100% on our business, we can achieve our financial targets but then realise there’s no one left to enjoy the success with. It was a great reminder to dedicate time, love and energy to the other things in my life, not just my business. Want to do this process for yourself, then I highly recommend the book ‘Your Best Year Yet’ by Jinny Ditzler. It’ll take you through 10 questions that will change the course of your life and focus.
Lesson 2 – Boundaries are so important
I tell my clients they need to set stronger boundaries all the time, but it can be super hard to take my own advice!
Setting new or stronger boundaries is usually pretty painful because it rocks the boat, whether with loved ones or business clients.
As relationships start, you set off down one path together. As you grow, progress and gain a deeper understanding of your values, you often realise that you want a different life or a different business, and not everyone will fit with you as they are anymore.
Some relationships may end, but there may be a need for some tricky conversations about new boundaries for others.
I realised on the retreat that one relationship in particular had been niggly and not exactly adding joy to my life for a while; we had been going along for a while as we have a long history but I realised that the bad feelings were negatively impacting my life.
I decided that despite the pain and awkwardness it would cause, I needed to have a few conversations. Things were indeed rocky for a bit but we are back on even ground now with clearer expectations on both sides. It was difficult but worth it.Do you have a relationship in your life that’s draining you of energy? Perhaps it’s something you need to look at and take action on?
Lesson 3 – We ARE making a difference in the world
In difficult times when bad things are going on in the world, like the war in Ukraine and people losing their lives, businesses and jobs due to COVID, we can feel so helpless, like we’re not doing enough.
My time away on the retreat reminded me of the difference I make in my family’s lives and my clients’ lives and the need for me to keep focused on that when the world goes a bit crazy.
It’s easy to feel like we’re not doing enough when we’re too far away to be of any practical help.
However, if we all do what we can as individuals for the people in our lives, if we take care of ourselves physically, mentally and financially, then we will be more content, and that has a massive ripple effect out into the rest of the world.
Don’t forget the direct difference you make to your clients every day too!
Your gifts and talents help them get jobs, start businesses, change careers, overcome breakups, find love again, adjust to tragic life events, and start moving on. The list is endless.You are making a big difference in the world, and don’t forget it!
Despite the initial reluctance, I am so happy that I took the few days to refocus on what’s important to me and to design the life I desire going forward.
Our life is in our hands – It’s our own responsibility to create a life we love and a life that makes us happy, content and at peace.
So, I hope there’s been something in there to help you take a fresh look at your own life and some inspiration to design your best year yet!