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Busy?  Take some “down” time to get moving.

Every year I go on a business retreat: to wind down, reflect on my business, and to envision how I want to grow my business. It’s a couple of days of drinking wine in my PJ’s, reading, writing, walking, and just all around lazing about. Or so it might seem to the uninitiated!

While from the outside it looks a lot like pampering myself, it’s really not. It’s more of a time out, a break from the day-to-day routine and demands. It is an investment of time and money in me and my business.

Every year when I come back from my retreat, I return with a renewed vision, a plan of action, and the ENERGY to get things done. For me it equates to hitting the refresh button. In the end, the energy, motivation, and sense of “I have a plan” far outweigh the costs of going.

Last year I invited several business colleagues to come with me. They’d never taken the “time out” before. It was interesting to watch them settle into the process, surrounded by their journals, their wine, their fun colored felts, and their inspirational books… oh, wait, I forgot the colouring books. It was a fantastic experience!

It was an opportunity to bounce ideas around, laugh at the weird and wonderful thoughts flitting through our brains, and to know that we weren’t alone on this business journey; that others struggled with the same things.

We also realized that each of us had a different process for creating our vision and determining how we would make it happen. And that was fine. There wasn’t one way to get to the end result: a vision grounded in intention with its’ roots firmly set in our subconscious minds.

I’ve stayed in touch with these women and know that each has taken the questions they asked themselves on that weekend, and reflected on them further. The discussions we had, and the internal work that each of us did, has taken different forms, as one would expect.

The great thing about the “time out” we shared is that we didn’t set formal goals. Rather we saw, felt, and envisioned what our world would look like if we took a certain approach. Engaging our senses and talking through what we wanted, fixed our business vision in our subconscious minds where they took root, grew, and blossomed.

A year later, it’s great to see how these visions have guided our work in subtle ways. Each of us has made significant progress towards achieving the vision we set for ourselves. And once again, I’m surprised by the power of intention and how it is a more effective tool in helping me move my business forward than simply setting clear SMART goals (although there is still a place for this in my planning process).

To creatively communicate my intentions and to really ground them in my sub-conscious (I am a visual and tactile learner), I capture key phrases in an intention poster that I hang on my wall each year. This becomes my visual touchstone that helps me evaluate important decisions.

When is the last time that you invested having the time to get away to simply ponder your next steps? What vision might you create for yourself? How will you ground that vision so that it guides your work throughout the year? I challenge you to consider taking “down” time, to allow your mind to wander and look at the big picture. It’s a valuable process.

Have a technique or tool that helps you ground your vision and set your intention in place? Please share it with our readers in the comments below so that we can learn from each other and grow together.

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