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The Retreat for One

My Retreat for One is one of the most popular items on my coaching and mentoring menu. It is a one-day retreat where I provide an opportunity for one client at a time to reframe, refocus and re-energise.

Andrew Griffiths attributes much of his success to time alone reviewing, celebrating and planning. He is the Mayor of Smallville and Australia’s number one small business author, with a lot on his plate. To keep it all in check and to think and plan, he regularly takes himself off to some beautiful and isolated place, armed with A4-sized post-it notes, markers, books and notebooks.

I asked Andrew why his solitary retreats are so successful and how he connects with his Mentor Within to guide him on his journey of great decisions and powerful action.

This is what he said:

What do you want out of your Retreats for One?

I go there with clear outcomes in mind so that I get the most out of it. I ask myself two key questions:

  • What do I want to leave with after the retreat?
  • What is currently causing me grief?

How do you structure your time?

The morning might be my learning time. Then I will choose something to think about while I am out and about. I’ll say, “Today, I just want to think about this”. I mull it over while I am walking and when I get back, I turn that into something that I can utilise. During the day, I make sure I am out hiking or snorkelling and doing stuff. I plan my other time accordingly. I also plan space in the day to do some learning. I always have books that I want to read while I am on the retreat and videos that I’ve been saving to watch.

What makes up the core of your retreat time?

The reviewing time. There are about ten things I cover on every retreat.

It sounds like it is very comfortable for you.

You’re right, I am very comfortable doing this. I have done it many times over many years. You know, I have the odd day where it just isn’t happening, so I might say ‘today I am not going to do anything except read, think, sit on the beach. It’s like when I go away to write – sometimes it isn’t ok to write that day and I just need to take time off.

Yet for a lot of people the struggle is with their Monster Within which gets in the way...

I don’t really battle with the negatives. That’s because I am clear about what I want to achieve. I might ask myself what is giving me grief and work out how to stop that happening. But I am also very aware of what I have achieved and I celebrate that. Like, ‘hey, this is pretty cool, this is what I have done over the last six or twelve months’. I am also in a great state of mind because I am excited about the retreat and I am excited about the future.

What is the key to the success of your Retreats for One?

I think it’s this, I plan it as if I am planning for one of my top clients. I really do. As I would do for them, I do for me. I make sure I have an eagle eye view of my business. I take a step back and say, “If my business was perfect, how would it look?” I look at my product offerings, my structure, how I spend my time, what I achieve and what I don’t achieve.

The thing is I just love being on Retreat. I am so excited to be there and so enthused that I am working on this stuff. I would do it once a month if I could.

Oh, and I also ask bigger questions of myself.

Tell me about the bigger questions?

Because I ask bigger questions of myself I have to come up with bigger answers. It’s a time for that – a reset of where I am going and what contribution I can make. Anyone who knows me knows that I always ask myself how best to serve the people I am in contact with. Those kinds of questions.

It looks to me like this is the epitome of how a Mentor Within should work. You seem to access your wisdom and allow yourself to have a conversation with that inner mentor. Is that how it feels for you?

Yes. It feels like that. I try not to be too prescriptive about how that information flows; that way my brain opens up and my Mentor Within pushes me down interesting and different paths.

So what do you leave with after the Retreat?

I don’t leave the retreat with a program or a book totally mapped out but I have enough to know what steps I have to take from there.

I’m not quite sure how to describe it except I am in a different state of mind when I am on the Retreat that lets my inner wisdom come through and lets me think about things differently. I’ve asked myself questions and come away with great strategies and a strong plan.

The discipline of planning the time to celebrate successes, assess progress and plan is essential to access our inner wisdom. I make sure I plan at least two a year for myself.

If you are like Andrew, you’ll enjoy doing it for yourself. If you need help to get it done, ask a colleague or friend. Or, allow me to facilitate your Retreat for One.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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