By Kate Purmal
Long-term planning. We all know it’s important. But for most of us, it’s the to-do that always slips to the bottom — or right off — the list!
Since there is never enough time, why not pair planning with fun? Retreat yourself!
One of my clients goes on a personal retreat twice a year for several days. She completely unplugs with no cell and no Internet. I know! It’s hard to imagine being off the grid. She takes a list of things she wants to do — like write her company’s manifesto or develop new product ideas. And she does it.
Why take the time? You’ll recharge and you get clear on where you’re going, and that helps make better day-to-day decisions. All of my clients get unexpected insights from this process, and most discover — or rediscover — an important and compelling vision of the future.
For example, one clearly saw a new business she would start that’s completely aligned with her passions and interests. She saw herself in a bright office with a view of the water, 15-20 employees, and felt a strong sense the impact she was making for her clients and in the world. She left the vision retreat with clear direction and a lot of momentum for her new venture. Within the first week she was well underway; she named the company and got started on her business plan.
With clear insight into a future you can see, smell and feel, you’ll be compelled to make the right moves today to realize your vision.
Take yourself away
Now, you don’t have to go away for two-three days. One day is the perfect place to start. Take yourself somewhere inspiring – with a view. I find a water horizon is the best setting to create a vision with a sense of endless possibility.
It’s even better if you combine the day into an overnight getaway. Bring a friend or trusted colleague. Add in a spa treatment, a nice dinner, a hike, or a walk on the beach. You work hard. You deserve it.
See the future — step by step
Step 1: Go old school
Before you leave for your retreat, download our free vision exercise. Bring it, along with a notebook and pen. Turn off your cell phone and shut down the computer. Using a computer to take notes or capture impressions will dampen your experience.
Step 2: Relax
Take a walk or a hike, breathe in the fresh air, clear your head. It’s important to leave behind the day-to-day pressures of your work and home responsibilities.
Then find a comfortable and inspiring spot where you won’t be interrupted for a couple of hours.
Step 3: Get grounded
Here’s an easy way to ground yourself. Sit comfortably in a chair. Take a deep breath. With that breath, feel yourself sinking more deeply into the chair. Pause briefly at the end of the exhale. Take another breath, and once again feel yourself sinking deeply into the chair. Pause briefly at the end of the exhale. Take a total of ten deep breaths, withe each one sink more deeply into the chair, and pause briefly at the end of each exhale.
Step 4: Create your vision
Now you’re ready to do the vision exercise. It’s best to do it with a trusted friend or colleague. Take turns. One person reads the prompts and questions, and the other person responds. The person reading the questions takes notes as you speak.
Tip! Record your session so you can listen to it again and again to remember where you are going.
Take your time. Spend about an hour in the future, so you can really reflect on what is happening in that future vision, and gain insights about the important steps you made to get there.
Whatever your vision, you’ll be inspired. And when you have a sense of where you’re going — when you see your north star — you will start to notice opportunities along the way that you might have otherwise missed.
With your long term vision aligned with what’s really important and meaningful to you, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to make day-to-day decisions, maintain priorities and stay on track with the things that will get you there.
Cultivate Your Vision
Download our free vision exercise to take with you on your retreat. It walks you through all the steps we’ve outlined here.
Want to go deeper? We offer Vision Project Coaching Programs for successful executives and entrepreneurs who want to rise to their greatest possible height in talent and personal development. Our programs help you achieve more wealth and success while creating more joy and meaning in your work and life.