Here are the 5 Key Steps you need to take.

When we first landed in New Zealand many years ago, for a six-month sabbatical away from our everyday, busy lives, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. There was no busy work to keep me occupied, I would have time to connect more deeply with my young family, and most of all, I would have time to “just be a Mom.”

I was also really curious about what I would do with my time if I wasn’t working. I had always worked.

And what’s more, I had worked two jobs for two years prior to this six-month break so that I could take this time off and give my family the life experience of living in another part of the world for a while.

You know what? I quickly found myself going stir crazy.

I had never lived this way before. I brought my girls to school and then….. the whole day lay in front of me to exercise, read, write, make friends, learn how to garden, clean my house, plan the evening meal…. All things I thought it would be nice to do.

I resisted the temptation to high-tail it out of the house and get a job to keep me busy because I knew it was my work to do – to satisfy my curiosity and use the opportunity to answer the following question:

What would I do if I didn’t have to do anything?

It turns out quite a lot.

I found myself turning to the way I lived before I was married and had children when all I had to do was take care of myself and study or go to work. I discovered that the “old Susan” was still in there, underneath all the layers of responsibilities and “adulting.”

It was refreshing for me to learn that I actually hadn’t changed that much, it was just that the job of being a grown-up, married with children, part of a two-career household and all the things that come with that, had left me forgetting who I was underneath it all.

What did I really want to do with my time? What would I do if my every waking minute wasn’t filled with the responsibilities of life?

When I look back at this time in my life (with considerable fondness, I might add) I think of it almost as though it were a six-month retreat.

It was six whole months away from my everyday routine to experience my life differently and to look at the choices I had made thus far with new eyes.

It also opened the door for me to reevaluate the choices I had made up to that point and affirm or change what they were when I eventually did return to my regular life.

This brings me to why I am writing this article.


the power of retreatsTime to get out of the everyday.
Time to put aside just for you.
Time to put the “to-do” list away and listen to the quiet voice inside you that is still there.
Time to re-energize. Time to recharge. And time to be able to see your choices and your life, career, and business with new eyes.

Time for YOU.

When was the last time you took enough time just for yourself and you were able to connect with what is calling you next?

If you are like most women, probably never. Honestly. Most of us never do it and those who do, don’t do it enough.
And it’s how we may come to wake up one morning, with possibly what looks on the outside like the perfect life, wondering how we got there.

And you might even find yourself questioning if it’s really what you want?

It might even (gasp) feel like a really nice trap that you fantasize about leaving or escaping from.

are you ready for changeBut wait! Before you take any drastic measures, I implore you: take some time for yourself to listen to your heart a little closer so that you can make informed decisions.

One way you can do that is through participating in a multi-day retreat, away from your daily to-do list, away from your regular life, and fully immersed in an experience designed from beginning to end, to invite you to listen to your own calling.

What is calling you next?
What is your bigger game?
What is the best next step in your business, in your career, or in your life?

What is the next best step for you?Click To Tweet

My solution for uncovering that answer is multi-layered. What I do know, is that it includes the following 5 key steps:

1. Time to recharge

The first thing we have to do is take some time for you. This can go under the category of self-care and is often what people go to when they feel they can’t think clearly anymore because they are simply too tired or possibly burned out. (See December’s article on Burn-Out for more on that subject.)

In a retreat setting I have:

    • Easy access to the outdoors
    • A giant bed to yourself (!)
    • Delicious, healthy food to feed your body and spirit
    • Exercise to move your body so you can feel it again – pain-free
    • Connection with like-minded peers seeking the same thing
    • Time to think – alone time – to just be
2. Time to reflect

Some of this reflection will happen during your recharge time; however, what’s key about a facilitated retreat is that you will be given guided reflection so that we can turn the random thoughts floating around your head into concrete and tangible reflections that you can use to inform decisions. It’s the difference between thinking about going to the gym and actually going to the gym with a personal trainer to ensure you get the best workout.

3. Time to affirm

have a visionIt’s very possible that the decisions you have made to this point are ones you don’t want to change – and you don’t have to. But it’s also possible that you would feel a whole lot better about affirming those choices or making small – or big – shifts so that the decisions from many years ago still work for you today.

The decisions that worked for you 20 years ago don’t have to work for you today. We are human beings who grow and evolve. Your decisions and life choices are allowed to grow and evolve as well.

4. Time to renew

What would it feel like to be reenergized and refocused for the foreseeable future? To feel excited to go to work again and to know that you are living the life, building the business and contributing to the career that’s best suited to you and ignites your spirit? My ideal retreat includes time to CLAIM this renewed vision with tangible action steps so that you have a roadmap to the future you really want.

5. Time to CLAIM it!

When you claim the vision you know lies within reach, something magical happens. A shift happens deep inside that sparks you to take action when you didn’t know it was possible. This shift happens on a cellular level that I can’t explain. But what I do know is the combined power of community, making the commitment to take the time out of your busy schedule and saying out loud what you most want, will create a shift that you can’t turn back from.

the align retreatIf you set clear intentions for what you want to create in your world, you will walk out of the doors of the retreat you attend ready to take action. The ALIGN Retreat (newly updated for 2023) is designed to do precisely that. And what’s more, you will feel refreshed, refocused, renewed, and best of all, ALIGNed with your spirit – aligned with you.

What’s your next best path to feeling like YOU again? I can hardly wait to find out.

To Your Aligned Success!

Susan Elford

P.S. Updated 2023: If this is speaking to you and you’d like to learn more about the ALIGN Retreat that I’m hosting at Canmore, Alberta from May 4-7, 2023, don’t delay. Early bird pricing is in effect until April 7th, 2023. You can find out all the info and the link to register, here.

*Limited spots available for passionate, ambitious women, just like you.

PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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