In October 2015, I had hit a place of burnout with my businesses. In all honesty, I had felt that way over the summer, but it was in October that I actually recognized I was burned out and that my businesses were going no place but down.
I couldn’t attract a new client no matter what I did, probably because I reeked of desperation, but also because I was unhappy (and yet, not in touch with why).
So, at the end of October, I decided to do something radical. I decided to take a 30-day spiritual retreat from my businesses. I figured I was already hitting bottom and didn’t have much, if anything, to lose by taking an extended break. I had no idea how right I was or that those 30 days would transform me and my businesses — and bring much needed clarity and focus into my life.
If you own a business, you know that it is a full-time job, so the idea of taking a 30-day spiritual retreat from your business probably sounds crazy, but let me share seven reasons it will actually help you and your business be more successful:
- Taking a retreat from your business allows you to step back and get clear on what’s blocking you. When you’re in the day-to-day grind of running a business, it’s really hard to recognize what’s stopping you from being successful. A week into my 30-day retreat, I came to recognize that most of my daily routines were just busywork, and that busywork was really slowing me down. I wouldn’t have recognized that if I hadn’t stepped away.
- A spiritual retreat grounds you in the fundamental reasons for why you are called to do this work. You started your business because you felt called to serve your community in some form or manner, but in the daily grind of business you can lose touch with that calling. When I took my retreat, it allowed me to ground myself in my calling, and as a result I rediscovered my love for my businesses. When you take a retreat, it gives you permission to do deep internal work, which can include the re-discovery of your calling.
- When you’re on retreat, you are giving yourself permission to take care of yourself. Business owners can work insane hours trying to get the business off the ground or keep it there. But all work and no play makes a business owner a dull person. Taking a spiritual retreat gives you permission to do self-care. When I took mine, I read some books, started revising a fiction book I’d written over 15 years ago, and went on a couple trips. All of those activities really helped me feel better about myself.
- A spiritual retreat opens you up to the creativity possibilities waiting for you in your imagination. When you connect with what is spiritual for you, it can grant you divine inspiration, lighting your mind and soul on fire. A retreat is perfect for that, because you are taking care of your soul and opening it to connect with the divine in whatever shape or form best fits you. After the first two weeks of my retreat I was hit with lots of inspiration about my businesses. It was like a floodgate of possibilities opened and it really excited me.
- A spiritual retreat brings your life and business back into balance. There really is such a thing as work-life balance; unfortunately, most people do it poorly. In taking a retreat from your business, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to discover that balance. It’s really important that if you commit to a retreat of any length (weekend, or week, or month) that you respect it. Even though I was hit with divine inspiration, all I did was write it in a notebook and sit on it for the remainder of the retreat. If I had acted on it sooner, I would’ve gone back to burnout.
- A spiritual retreat helps you recognize what boundaries need to be honored in order for you to feel respected. Part of the perspective that a spiritual retreat provides is to help you recognize when you and others aren’t respecting and honoring boundaries. This allows you to decide if you’ll continue to allow that disrespect to occur, or if you’ll enforce your boundaries. As a result of taking my retreat, I ended up drawing some professional and personal boundaries in my life, which helped me feel respected and valued by myself and by the people who want my time and attention.
- A spiritual retreat helps you fall in love with your business all over again. By the end of your retreat, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back to your business. You’ll feel revitalized and alight with the spiritual power in your life. You’ll be ready to fall back in love with your business AND make the necessary changes to keep that relationship strong.
Taking my 30-day retreat was so life changing that I’ve committed to taking one each year. I know that making the time to take care of myself and get a break from my businesses will not only be good for me, but for the businesses, as well. And as a result of taking that break, I not only came into 2016 raring to go, but I’ve been happier and my businesses have been more successful, because I’m back on track and in alignment with my calling. That could only happen by taking a retreat and discovering what was burning me out.