If you follow me on Social Media at all, you may know I have been out of the country for most of this month. The first 10 days I was in the Philippines training and the last 8 I have been in Marrakesh at the lovely Villa Dinari, covering a retreat for one of my clients, international speaker and RTT specialist, Cheryl Chapman.
At least that’s what I thought I was doing.
Cheryl runs a retreat for women a couple of times a year, aimed to putting them in touch with “their WHY”. What I mean by that is – WHY they are where they are right now in their lives, and what their WHY is going forwards.
The retreat has been a very interesting experience. There were 19 women on the retreat and they were an eclectic mix. Not all of them are people I would have chosen to spend a week with if I had been choosing. There were people that I immediately gelled with, others that I came to appreciate after spending some time with them and a couple who would probably not fall within the category ‘people I must spend more time with on a future retreat’. However, I am grateful for every one of them, because they each brought a different dynamic to the party.
And it did kind of feel like a party. A self-development party!
I don’t know about you, but I have never been on a retreat before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have been on plenty of seminars, and workshops and conferences, where you go to learn stuff from other people. And whilst on this retreat, there was some learning from others – the organisers Cheryl and Marion, and also the other participants, the most learning however – or at least the stuff I will take away with me – was from myself.
That’s the thing about this kind of retreat, it teaches you more about yourself than about others, or about ‘external knowledge’.
What I learned about myself that I hadn’t understood was such a strength was that my driver is clarity. I seek clarity, I need clarity and – importantly – I give clarity to others. That made a lot of sense to me – because personally the worst thing for me is not knowing something. I can cope with just about any disaster in life if I understand what has happened and why. When I don’t there is a lot of incompletion for me – and as a control freak – that’s hard to deal with.
Learning about what makes people tick is fascinating isn’t it. There are some people who need acknowledgement. I mean – we all need to be appreciated but 5/6th of us don’t NEED it. I might feel slightly ‘miffed’ to coin a northern expression – if I don’t get any acknowledgement for going out of my way for someone. But if I don’t get it, well – I just move on. But there are some personality types who that really really wounds. They feel they aren’t good enough, they aren’t ‘enough’ and the lack of acknowledgement confirms it.
Then there are people (my other half and son for example) who will take any statement as a criticism. For example, this morning I said to my other half, when I was emptying the dishwasher, “This type of glass shouldn’t go in the dishwasher!”. He immediately interpreted that as a criticism of him and therefore felt rejected, which is his ‘trigger’. If he doesn’t make everything perfect then he will be rejected. Interesting.
Of course, one of the most useful bits of the week, I am sure it won’t surprise you to know, was hearing about other women and their stories.
It is lonely being the owner of a small business or being a solo-preneur. There are plenty of time when you have to make decisions about stuff you may not have come across before. How do you know you are making the right decision? How do you know the answers? For that matter, how do you even know the right questions, let alone the answers?
Well, that is exactly why I created my Mastermind group for women business owners, who may feel unsupported or just in need of a sense check from time to time re the running of their businesses. This group meets every 4 – 6 weeks and spends an afternoon or a morning, deep diving into some challenges, problems or ideas of the group, and getting a “board you could never afford” set of ideas from the other business owners in the room.
This has proven to be an invaluable use of their time as they come away with 2 or 3, or 8 or 9, suggestions – from the experience of their peers. 8 – 12 heads are better than 1, especially when it comes to new situations or ideas. Why reinvent the wheel when there are people who have already been there and done that and can show you the shortcuts.
If you would like to find out more about our next Mastermind or fancy coming along to the Leading Women in Business Christmas Lunch at Grafene, King Street Manchester – click on this link.
And whatever else you do – take the time this week to look after you. Clear a bit of space every day in your diary to stop looking after everyone else and look after you. Meditate, have a massage, go for a walk or swim or whatever other form of exercise you find relaxing, read something just for the fun of it, meet a friend for a coffee, look into learning something you have always wanted to learn, maybe book onto Cheryl and Marion’s next retreat or onto the LWIB Christmas lunch. Just do something for you.