When you had your last BIG IDEA, where were you and what were you doing? Based on the answers I’ve heard, many of us meet the muse while running/biking/working out, showering or vacationing. I’d be willing to wager that there aren’t many who’d cite sitting at their desk or post-lunch meetings as incubators of Ah Ha! moments. So, when it comes time for a retreat, why head to the same old catered conference environments? Here are six reasons to head beyond the box:
REFRESH: Retreating from the office to a meeting room is like going to the neighbors’ house for vacation. The best retreats (river trips for example) remove us from our daily grind and replace it with fresh opportunities for imagination and collaboration.
DIGITAL DETOX: Even though facilitators implore us to turn off, put down and silence our devices, we usually have some pressing reason why we can’t abide. Going beyond the bars of reception (it can be done!) makes this easy; distractions disappear and our attention reappears.
THINK DIFFERENTLY: Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Science and experience have made it clear that the mind finds creative inspiration, explores new thought paths and relaxes when outside.
GET UP, STAND UP: Exercising, especially outdoors, has been proven to lower stress levels and increase wellbeing (sitting indoors for extended periods has not). Physical activity is good for the mind too; test subjects who moved around while problem solving worked more quickly and creatively than their sedentary counterparts.
TIME TO GET AHEAD: For teams and individuals, leaving the noise behind provides space to find our focus. Returning from a retreat is the perfect opportunity to apply a new perspective BEFORE we end up stuck in the same ruts. So, rather than just catching up, take time to redefine priorities, set a new course and clean up the clutter.
GO SOLO: If the idea of taking the whole team off site is intimidating, go alone. The synergy that happens when people from diverse industries get together can really move the needle. If you ever feel like you’re trapped in a bubble, recycling the same thoughts from the usual players, try mixing it up with other professionals.
Professionals are increasingly turning to retreats as a way to stay engaged, boost the bottom line and get creative. Make sure to invest in a retreat with lasting impact by finding one that goes beyond the “bored room”, outdoors and away from it all where participants clear space, find focus and explore how to apply what they learn.
Eli Shostak is the ‘Wearer of Many Hats” at Think NewCo. Think NewCo designs and facilitates business retreats. Our off-site retreats and workshops train the brain to stay out of the weeds by combining a transformational experience with an actionable curriculum. We put the principles of mindfulness and meditation into a practical business context that participants can immediately use in order to optimize effectiveness. To learn more about our custom programs, please visit Think NewCo's website or contact Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org .