Hey everyone, we have just arrived back from our recent LYSB solo adventure in the NZ outdoors as we wanted to report in and let you know how it was!
Are we mad?
Why on earth were we doing this and what does it have to do with our business?
When we developed our business plan in 2010 and refined our ‘success strategy’Â part of the process was identiftying the personal values we bring to the business. From this we developed core business values that underpin our decision making processes and guide our journey as business women and as a company.
Unfortunately for many businesses their values areÂ rarely bought to life in the day-to-day running of the business and are often just words on paper. We want to do this differently and on that basis we decided to set ourselves a goal of an Annual Adventure – an undertaking that would connect us with several of our key values – keeping a spirit of adventure in our business,Â getting out into nature as a part of what we do, challenging ourselves to get out of our comfort zones and helping us focus on work life balance and stress management!
Choosing this particular adventure for ourselves – a 24 hour solo in native NZ forest – was challenging yet manageable for us as we had Janine’s 5 month daughter Bella to bring along too!Â So, with minimal planning, on 9 Feb we drove out to a beautiful spot of land in the New Zealand bush and got underway.
We arrived at our chosen spot around midday on day one, and launched straight into it. Janine and 5-month-old Bella stayed in the base hut while Jo headed to a second hut 300 meters away and our 24 hour solo period began (and we use the term ‘solo’ loosely as of course Janine had wee Bella with her!).
We challenged ourselves to be without books, music, computers (thank goodness!), radio, watches, and our huts were very basic with no electricity…. the point was to spend 24 hours without distraction to reconnect with nature, focus on ourselves and our goals and get refreshed after a busy few months.
It was a great challenge for us both.Â We were in a wonderful spot surrounded by native trees and birds, the sound of the cicadas was overwhelming at times. We each had periods where we sat in quiet reflection and gained loads of insight. We meditated, did yoga and Janine has quality hang-out time with Bella.
Similarly, we both had times of hyperactivity where all our extra energy seemed to need an outlet! We could be found pacing around, creating colourful posters, making self-directed videos and taking self-timer photos (yes, we did allow cameras to capture the experience!),Â picking fruit off the trees and basically doing anything else that would take our minds off the passing of time.
Not having access to a watch or clock was really interesting â€“ it caused huge frustration at times wondering if it was 6am or midday and with lots of cloud cover it was tricky to know. It did, however, enable us to feel more connected with how we were actually feeling in a given moment, rather than making decisions based on how we thought we should be feeling given the time on the clock. We ate when we were hungry, slept when we were tired and are convinced this was a huge contributor to our feelings of grounded-ness following our experience.
At midday on day two (which we were alerted to by a hidden alarm clock) we reunited and spent an amusing few hours catching up on our experience before launching into our work together.
Our experience was so positive that we wanted to share our key learnings here:
- One of our core business values is to have a trailblazing and adventurous spirit in all that we do. This experience reminded us of WHY we have this value and it was so energising to reconnect with it. Our values are not just words on a page!
- We did find it tricky to make the time to be out of the office and away from the business, but it proved to be incredibly valuable. Taking the space from our to-do lists was very relaxing and we have come back super charged!
- Having 24 hours away from all distractions – cellphones, email, computer, books, other people -Â was so calming and refreshing. As a result we are more motivated and we found ourselves inspired with an exciting array of creative ideas for our business.
Our challenge to you: Why not create a similar opportunity to take time out and get away from the usual distractions that can clutter your life and your mind – and to give yourself the space to reconnect with your personal and business values. And before you tell us you don’t have time, this will end up saving you time in the long run as you will return more grounded, feel refreshed and work more efficiently!
Procrastinate no longer! – get out you diary now and take action! If you are not sure about the ‘how to’ of a business retreat or solo adventure we are happy to share more about what we do – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR leave a comment on our blog. We are happy to share our solo retreat outline with you!
And do leave us a comment here to let us know your thoughts and how you get on!