Recently, I hosted a day-long women’s retreat for one of my corporate clients.
The off-site experience was held in a beautiful luxury secret location and we all loved every minute of it.
Prior to the event, I decided to keep the agenda and flow of the day a closely guarded secret.
The instructions the attendees received were to show up and be present for what they needed most from our time together.
Even though the team members have worked together for 13-20 years – they have become consumed by adapting to the draining, rollercoaster environment of the last couple of years.
The CEO was looking for something different from the typical team off-site, so I created a day of inspiration centered around conversation, connection and self-care.
Upon arrival, once they settled in and got comfortable, I asked the following simple, but provocative question…
“Given all that has happened over the last year or two – between balancing work, life and relationships – how are you REALLY feeling?”
Here’s a summary of what was shared in the room…
- I’m tired
- I’m exhausted
- I’m overworked
- I’m overwhelmed
- I’m stressed
Do any (or all) of these resonate with you?
Behind the brave face and superwoman cape we have been wearing for weeks, months, and in some cases years…there is typically a dark side – one that often has us on the verge of a CODE RED situation.
Left unattended, code red will eventually lead to burning out, so my objective was to help them reignite the spark they once had.
The perfectly curated day unfolded…
First came conversation – an opportunity to talk through the impact and toll Covid has had on work and life integration.
Next, connection – an opportunity to interact, play team games and laugh! Yes, good old belly laugh (something that has been missing for a while).
The afternoon was dedicated to care, self-care.
Building a culture of self-care is important on a personal, team and organizational level …and, as I shared with my retreat participants – self-care is way beyond the short-term fix of a massage or mani-pedi – it has to include giving yourself permission to prioritize yourself.
One of my attendees (a mother of 2 young girls) said although she wanted more “Me time” – she didn’t have time for self-care.
To her, personal time was a luxury and it was not part of her daily master plan.
Her seasoned supportive colleagues challenged her situation and we talked through how she might reframe and reprioritize her needs to create a win-win situation for herself and her family.
Here’s a simple framework that you can use starting today:
Notice – Be aware of your thoughts, body and actions. Your mind will trick you into believing you are a superwoman and anything is possible – but your body speaks the real truth. What do you notice your body is telling you?
Need – Based on what your body is telling you – what do you need? Don’t think about how to get it – just start identifying the type of support and self-care you really need.
Nourish – Based on what you notice and what you need, what small step or action can you take to nourish yourself?
If you are thinking of something yummy and delicious like chocolate – I challenge you to think beyond food. What other currencies of self-care can give you the nourishment you know you need?
Remember, self-care is not about being selfish – It is a critical strategy for success!
I’m so passionate about this work and loved creating and holding space for each and every woman in the room. At the end of the retreat experience…one of the attendees said it best…
“Thank you, this was fantastic and amazing. I didn’t know I needed this – thank you for re-igniting my flame.”
To some organizations, self-care can often feel like mumbo jumbo – but based on a recent Forbes article, here are three reasons why creating a culture of care helps you become a better leader…
- Self-care can help you think more clearly. It helps you build resilience and facilitates healthy ways of dealing with stress.
- It can help you optimize your leadership skills, effectiveness and productivity. By regularly renewing your energy, you can consistently achieve peak performance.
- By prioritizing yourself and reaping the benefits, you start to model behaviors that impact team members.
How do you see yourself incorporating self-care so you can lead with energy and role model it for others?