Many would suggest it doesn’t. I would definitely propose it does.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m a rather fast paced kind of gal, willing to invest in a well measured risk, so I’m not talking about changing the pace of my life entirely. Broadly speaking, I like to do things at a million miles an hour, I enjoy having a diverse lifestyle, and I happily pack a lot of things into each day. I also recognise the importance of re-fuelling, and that this often takes a different pace, in order to recharge and renew.

Let me paint a little picture.

The Grow Project is in the midst of an absolute hive of activity, as it continues to grow and evolve. I’ve got a diary full of meetings. We’ve just wrapped up our first 7 Day Business Fuel Challenge held live online. We’re getting set for The Grow Project’s one day event – The Grow Lab – in May. And we’re putting the finishing touches on The Grow Project Program. It’s intense at times, exhilarating at others, full of learnings at every turn, and at times, it’s scary to see how the recent projects we’ve been spending our valuable time on will be received by our partners and clients.

Add to that Newmark Constructions is facing a boom, both in investing in future growth (in assets and systems), and working with new architects and clients. We’ve also got a multi million dollar development project on the go for Newmark Developments, which is nearing completion of construction.

Add to this it is school holidays, so the regular schedule is changed up a little, and I want to spend more of the available time with my little people.
And where would you expect to find me? On retreat of course! Alright, so the timing wasn’t awesome, and something I wouldn’t have planned in the middle of a campaign, but I knew the payoff would be awesome. And it has been.

The retreat
The retreat is a whole body retreat hosted by my Doctor of Chinese Medicine Lisa Masters of The Yoga House and Natural Elements Clinic. She whisks us away to have a number of days in yoga retreat mode. This translates into nourishing our bodies with Japanese therapy (Ki) yoga a few times a day, macrobiotic meals, and lots of other movement like walking. On this occasion we also discussed why you would want to strengthen from the inside out and how this shows up in your shoulders, hips and knees especially; which foods and cooking methods are ideal for winter; and we also experienced a beautiful shiatsu massage along the way.

Retreats are a fairly new thing for me. They’re something I’ve only recently learnt the amazing value of, and the combination of powerful movement which is incredibly revealing about where you’re at, with nourishing meals, engulfed in a natural environment, is my cup of tea. It’s challenging and rewarding, both physically and mentally, and it helps me slow right down and refuel.

Slowing down
On this retreat, slowing down has done seven key things.

1. Filled my fuel tank 
It has allowed me to fill up my fuel tank entirely. Before arriving at retreat, I had a full week beachside with my gorgeous family, filled with sunshine, sand, sunsets, sleep, and play. As the mother and wife in this dynamic, there is still an element of nurturing others which I enjoy collaborating on immensely and naturally absorbs energy and headspace. Being on retreat, especially one with challenging physical movement involved, I’ve been able to look after myself, and ease my mind from rushing and thinking about too many things at once, which was happening with so many exciting things on the go in other areas at the moment. I feel calmly energised, and ready to re-engage fully.

2. Space for perspective
It has provided me perspective. This is something that I’ve learned I’m good at helping others with, and something I create space in my own life for. On a day to day basis, I gain perspective through writing (like my books and my blogs), conversing with others (family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and the like), and taking time to reflect (especially in transit, and especially when there is the option to take a deep breath as I pass over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and marvel at the beauty of the city, and feel grateful for my achievements that day). On retreat, the perspective has given me space to think about the choices on the table at the moment, consider how I’m spending my time, and confirming for myself that of the myriad of things to be done, I am focussing on the right things for now.

3. I am on the right path for me
It has allowed me to confirm I’m on the right path, and that what I do the world really needs. My specialities have always laid in project management, high performance coaching, and business building, which help people create foundations to thrive which I call high performance environments. I apply these skills to every aspect of life, to achieve successful integration and fulfilment across the areas of my life I desire the most (wife; mother; business leader; wellness advocate; relationships with family, friends and communities; and self love). The more I talk about what I do and how I do it, the more times people say to me, ‘but no one ever teaches us that stuff’ or ‘what you’re talking about makes so much sense but I’ve never met anyone doing it that way’.

It confirms to me there is a skills gap, especially for women who want to grow businesses and babies at the same time, and I can and will help with that. Once again, I have left people inspired to make positive choices which are true for them, and connected them with resources and strategies to support them in making these choices, just by my innate nature, which is so heartening.

4. Sharing urban wisdom
In getting to exchange (absolutely phenomenal) stories with the other people on the retreat, I am reminded of the urban wisdom I have acquired and created which helps me thrive in what I do, and how it is not something a lot of people know about. Stories are something that somehow are being lost. Things which served us really well that our grandparents and great grandparents did, have slipped away. I have learnt a lot from the stories I’ve heard. Some things I’ve heard have been disappointing to me, like the wisdom that existed 30 years ago in birthing babies which has laid nearly silent all that time, and how much it could have made a difference if it hadn’t. Some things have heartened me, like women building new businesses to support themselves when the time comes for babies, or young ambitious women carving it up in the media industry, or a reminder how simple food ingredients can provide so much fuel to the body through a cup of tea or a bowl of soup.

5. A big dose of self love
It’s allowed me to just look after myself, and direct the love I regularly shower on others to be directed at me. I often choose to expend a lot of love on the needs of my family and my team, and sometimes I just need to send that love to myself. This is a muscle I need to constantly strengthen, and can be a big challenge for me. It’s probably the most important though, as without self love, it’s difficult to sustainably give to others.

6. Retreats need not be expensive or far away
By all means, luxury retreats are lovely, but if they get in the way of you getting away from your regular environment, eating clean and nourishing food, moving your body, and challenging and relaxing your mind surrounded by nature, perhaps it’s best to have them simple and regular. Many businesses offer retreats, or you can easily create your own by checking out the plethora of cabin style facilities located in national parks which are not likely to be miles away from your home. This week I’ve been at Govinda Valley, one hour south of Sydney, and completely surrounded by national park, food prepared with love, and gorgeous people looking after and learning about themselves.

7. Be awesome
In general though, it allows me to focus my energy and my thoughts, and be awesome in each setting and engagement. This shows up as a calmer household, a unified and energised team, and a clear and sparkling leader.

Counterintuitive to global impact
While I know it seems counterintuitive to slow down at times to grow, like a number of my teachings, it’s an important fuel for me to grow and with that growth to create the big impact globally that I’m seeking. Retreats remain on my agenda, and a big part of fuelling my growth for 2016.

Rx

I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Have you ever been on a retreat? What sort of retreat was it? What did you get from it?
Do you plan your breaks? How do you do it? What do they look like?