What's a Leadership Retreat like?

I spent last week at a Leadership Retreat, and I had no intention of blogging about it.  Our trusty cartoonist said he was “flummoxed” that I hadn’t intended to blog about it. After I put away my dictionary, I asked myself “why not blog about it?”  Answer, “Because it’s like getting naked in Times Square”. Of course, our cartoonist was right, I need to write about the experience, so here’s part 1.

I signed up for a 10-month leadership program with CTI (Coaches Training Institute), which contains 4 separate week-long retreats.  I heard it was life-changing and that was good enough for me.  I didn’t really understand what it was or why I was going, but I wanted a shot at changing my life, so I went.  Don’t get me wrong, my life was really good, but I always want to level up. I thought perhaps I could tap into the collective consciousness a bit more.  Ya know, so I could get large groups of people to bend to my will. On second thought, that probably isn’t the best reason for tapping the collective consciousness.  Actually, I think the collective consciousness was barring the doors when it saw me coming.

If you are looking for a leadership program full of frameworks and platitudes, this ain’t it.  It’s not like most corporate leadership training, and in fact let’s not even call it training. At no time did the group leaders use the phrase “manage up”, “delegate” or “track progress.”  As a matter of fact, they encouraged us to avoid adding rules when we didn’t need to.

The first retreat is all about “The Leader Within”.  The premise is that until you can lead yourself, you can’t lead others.  The two tenets of the Leader Within are “Self-acceptance” and “Self-authorship”.   We spent a lot of time working on what is blocking us from within.

I was surprised to find that the hard work of working on yourself is different from other types of hard work.  Toiling in a field or working late on a presentation is way easier than identifying and knocking down your internal blockers.

A lot of the work involved communing nature.  As someone who won’t go past the safe pavement of my driveway, this was a big challenge.  I had to buy hiking boots for the trip! But what I saw in nature was amazing. I was visited by a hummingbird.  The way the dew sparkles in the morning sun beats the BeDazzler any day. And the ripples on a pond from a single drop of rain, truly amazing.  

Spoiler alert, I didn’t feel a big life-changing epiphany, like some others, but I did get some shifts.  Someone suggested that perhaps my life changing will come in little bubbles.  That resonated with me. I will continue sharing the bubbles with you.

Have you attended a life changing event?  Tell us about it in the comments!