Having already led my first retreat of 2017, I’ve been reflecting on a juicy paradox about this work that calls to us.
Retreats aren’t easy… but that’s exactly why we love them.
Lots of the time we’re drawn to remain in our ‘comfort zones’. Some people never leave them! What’s different about the entrepreneurs in this community is that many times we find ourselves going against the grain and actively seeking the route that’s not the easiest.
Having been road tripping for the past few weeks, the analogy that comes to mind is the ‘road less traveled’ (with a hat-tip to Robert Frost and the poem that brought us that quote!)
When you’re committed to the journey – and knowing that you’re truly fulfilled, dedicated to giving and receiving in abundance – then speeding down life on a six-lane highway isn’t what you’re after.
The winding, steep detour that pushes you to work that little bit harder is the one you crave, because you know only that will get you to the place you’re meant to be.
Doing this work means doing your work
To be an effective retreat leader you’re required to constantly do your own work of alignment – looking within, seeing the truth, and consistently doing the work you need to based on what comes up. The best retreat leaders are always growing and healing through their work, and it’s a circle: the work of leading retreats causes you to grow.
This growth is unavoidable, but it can be something we try to resist at first. One pitfall I see new retreat leaders fall into is the idea that they need to get everything “perfect” before they start.
What looks like a commitment to working hard to get things ‘right’ can be a sneaky way of staying in our comfort zones; of taking the “easy” route that means we don’t show up and trust that Spirit (or the Universe, or God) will take us where we need to be, if we only allow ourselves to trust.
This is why I teach the LEARN method – a simple but really effective method to keep you on track for sharing your work as you’re learning and growing (and avoiding the paralysis of perfection).
The LEARN model
Here’s a recap of the LEARN model if you haven’t come across it before.
L – listen to guidance. Pay attention to what guidance you’re being given – not necessarily formal learning, but intuition, life lessons and patterns. Really notice what is being given to you.
E – engage in new conversation. Talk about what you’re learning; share what you’re noticing; open yourself up to new connections and practice the art of sharing what you’ve learned. What resonates? What has other people saying “I want that?” What does the world need from you?
A – ask people to buy. When you ask people to commit their time and money, you find out what really wants to be made manifest in the world. What others find of value from your experience, and what is ready to come through you.
R – rally to deliver. At this step, you show up and deliver what you’ve been talking about. Notice that this step comes after you’ve made the ask – this is what prevents you getting caught up in “getting it right” without moving into action.
N – new material. Based on what you discover, from real life experience with actual people, NOW you turn what you just taught into a process or system that you can rinse and repeat.
And the process starts again as you keep seeking, growing, learning and trusting, and continue the cycle through your next retreat.
While being in front of the room and guiding your participants will be right in alignment with what comes naturally, choosing the pathway of leading retreats isn’t the easiest! At least not the way that sitting on the couch, watching TV or ordering a pizza are easy.
Being seen and known in an intimate group can be confronting. Asking people to come to ‘your party’ is a risk. Doing what you’re called to do and making a real impact in the world is going to stretch you. It’s going to bring unexpected challenges and it’s going to bring you face to face with the work you need to do.
Spirit doesn’t mess around when it comes to showing you the lessons you need to learn, and that’s not always comfortable.
But the reward is worth it! You get to work in your brilliance. You grow every single time. And you will find yourself working with committed clients who are a beautiful fit for you and your best work in the world. And THAT is the best outcome!
Because you know what’s even less easy than stepping up as a leader?
Staying stuck. Giving away your gifts or working with uncommitted clients. Believing a story of lack, fear and scarcity. Hearing the call to do more and never quite rising to it… never allowing your soul to truly express itself and become the fullest version of the gifts you have been given.
Use the LEARN process to move into action, and relish the challenge and the stretch it brings you. Your growth is causing the big changes the world needs!