By | Sherry Walling, PhD | www.entrepreneur.com
A while back, I flew from Minneapolis to Panama City and then took a water taxi to a backpacker resort. Before I knew it, I was swinging from an aerial circus hoop suspended from a sailboat over the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Though it wasn’t technically a work trip, I considered it good for business. I embraced play and disengaged, breaking some of the always-on conventions of entrepreneurship by taking a brief pause from my clients — as a mental health professional with a focus on entrepreneurship, podcaster, speaker, writer and mom.
I escaped to an “aerial and sail” retreat organized by the Paper Doll Militia. As an entrepreneur, it was exhilarating to suspend my responsibilities and spin and twist and torque, practicing aerial arts, a hobby of mine. If you were watching, you would have seen me skipping along the sandy beach with a huge grin on my sun-dappled face.
I’m a big advocate of solo retreats for founders and entrepreneurs. But I find that most of my clients — primarily business owners — put their needs aside and think first of sending their team on an off-campus mission to build culture, cohesion or the next big idea. They see arranging a retreat for their people as a great investment in the long-term success of their business. But a retreat for themselves? Indulgent. Trivial. Logistically impossible.
Business leaders have difficulty stepping away. A Harvard study of CEOs found that those who did manage to take a break worked during 70% of their vacation days, leaving little room to recharge or reconnect with family, never mind reflecting on business or life goals.