Sometimes You Need to Retreat to Move Forward

In this hard charging, never stop world we live in it can seem like if you stop to catch your breath for even a second, you’ll be run over by the tide of people trying to get ahead of you.  Trampled like the crowds in Pamplona during the running of the bulls.

After all, it’s all about moving forward, right?  Getting ahead, getting where you want to go, achieving more, and maybe even having more…

If you stopped to catch your breath, take a weekend (or longer) away, or simply claimed some solid time just for YOU, do you find yourself feeling:

  • Guilty, like you should be doing something else?
  • Panic stricken about what you might be missing or who might be getting ahead of you on the job or in your business?
  • Stressed-out and unable to enjoy the time anyway because of the mess that awaits you upon your return?

If you do, it’s a common feeling.  In 2009 Right Management found that 66% of employees did not take all their vacation and Expedia.com’s survey found that 34% of people don’t take vacation at all.  For small business owners and entrepreneurs, the stakes with taking vacation are even higher because the role doesn’t come with any official “vacation time”. 

Here’s the truth in all this – if you don’t give yourself space, take vacation, and rejuvenate, you will become the goose with the golden egg.  The one that is pushed to the max until it can no longer be effective (in the goose’s case, produce the results of golden eggs).

Paradoxically it is the very act of retreating that will help you move forward more powerfully, with more ease, and more successfully.  When you take time for yourself outside of the whirling spin cycle we call life in the modern age, you can go deeper, see more clearly, and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. 

Lest you think this is all just fluffy or woo-woo thinking, I will remind you of the widely respected book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey used throughout all kinds of high performing organizations and the step called “sharpen the saw”.  Sharpening the saw is about preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – You.  It includes a balanced program for self-renewal in four areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.  

When you retreat, you renew.

What would be possible for you in your life, your career/business, and your relationships if you:

  • Had a regular practice of sitting in silence and being more present, aware, and mindful?
  • Took time on a regular basis to nourish your soul?
  • Creating breathing space to actually experience your life as it was unfolding?

Do not limit your thinking to only enhanced experiences, great feelings of well-being, and increased happiness, satisfaction, and meaning. These are truly and deeply important.

Yet, I can also guarantee you that if you take time to retreat, you will also experience (sometimes seemingly like magic):

  • Increased confidence to ask for and receive what you most want.
  • A sudden boost of wealth and financial opportunities you never even saw or thought was possible before.
  • Significantly greater creativity – whether to solve business problems or literally create new things (art, music, service offerings, products, etc.).

What would experiencing these types of results be worth to you?

You can retreat in many ways.  We often think of vacations, retreat weekends, and workshops as the only way to do this.  And, they are excellent ways!  Most likely, though, these retreats are often scattered throughout the year (if you’re consciously planning them at all). 

So, how can you get consistency and momentum?

By retreating in other ways specifically built right into your daily life– things like meditation, daily habits that allow you to be your best, working with a coach (focused time to work on the things that really matter with an experienced guide), yoga, exercise, and engaging in tactile hobbies that jazz you up (by tactile I mean engages your senses actively, not passively like staring at a television). 

It is the combination of these different ways of retreating that provide the space and the fuel for moving forward powerfully.  It’s like the difference between a hiker who never takes a break and barely crawls to the summit (if she even makes it there) looking like death warmed over, unable to enjoy the achievement and a hiker who stops and refreshes along the way and can bask in being on the summit.

Which of these people would you like to be?

Paula G's Coach’s Challenge:

Stop and ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I truly had the chance to retreat from the chaos of day-to-day to relax, rejuvenate, or focus on strategy (business strategy, career goals, the bigger picture in general)?
  • Do I regularly sharpen my own saw or do I just keep constantly busy and in motion dealing with the crises of the day and trying to get ahead (after all, I have to work hard, right??)?

How do your answers to these questions make you feel?  Empowered and alive? Or, barely scraping by?


Are you ready to retreat and focus on what really matters most to you for your life and career/business? You can’t run on empty and operate in crisis mode forever… NOW is the time to apply for a complimentary Breakthrough Acceleration Meeting.