Picture this. Last month, a group of 9 men and women lying on their backs on yoga mats in silence, as the sun sets over Byron Bay. Nothing can be heard but the calls of tropical birds and the breeze rustling through palm leaves. Some drift in and out of sleep, others notice the cogs of their minds slowing down after months of non-stop activity leading their businesses and looking after their families.
But all of that is now very far away as they focus on breathing. In, out, in, out. After the yoga nidra we sit in a circle on the deck, glass of wine in hand, and share why we each came on a 3-day Mindful Leaders Retreat with the Ross Group, and what we hoped to learn.
So what did we learn? To answer that we first need to understand what learning is. When I was completing my Masters of Organisation Dynamics a few years back, I wrote a 10,000 word thesis titled “The Hated Task of Learning”. The whole premise of my argument was that learning, for adults, represents a change. A change to a belief, an understanding hard won, a way of thinking, a behaviour or habit, or a relationship dynamic. And deep down, while we don’t like to admit it, most of us are averse to change.
Many of us (myself included) live in the comfort of the world we have constructed in our minds. We don’t like things that challenge our neatly designed views. Our beliefs become like brick walls, hemming us in.
A few years down the track I realised that learning doesn’t have to be this hard. My university experience was coloured by the fact that it was not safe in that group to show vulnerability. As well-intentioned as our facilitators were, they did not make it safe for us to admit we didn’t have all the answers in the classroom, or that we were struggling with understanding what were very challenging concepts, or doing group assignments with people whose timetables were impossible to coordinate (insert shudder here)!
I learned a lot from that experience about creating a safe environment for real learning, real change, to occur. Learning comes when we establish a place of non-judgement. When we treat ourselves holistically – with mindfulness, movement and nutrition as the foundations for clear thought and an open heart. When we look after ourselves physically, we naturally start to look after ourselves emotionally. We give ourselves permission to question stuff we previously held tightly. Unlike Gollum and his precious ring, we learn to let go.
I designed The Mindful Leaders Retreat in Byron Bay with this philosophy in mind. A three-day experience that slowly unwinds tension in the body and mind, and establishes a safe, social network of like-minded business leaders to share experiences, learn from one another’s challenges, have a lot of laughs, and nurture ourselves with rest, yoga, meditation, nature walks, personal reflection time, stimulating discussion, great food, and of course – wine!
Ash Ross was a participant on my first retreat, and his experience was so profound he wanted to share it with his own clients. Twelve months later, thanks to Ash’s positive energy and tenacity, we were very proud to host a group of Ross Group clients back in Byron again at the beautiful Byron Luxury Beach houses on the 4-7th September. The video below will give you a little insight into our experience. Thank you Ash for your support, encouragement and belief in all of us!
So what did we take away? Here’s what some members of the group had to say…
“I found the retreat to be a great mind opener which provided me some clarity on areas of my life that I need to improve on” – Nic Don, Managing Director, Odyssey Financial
“I learned so much in 3 days, that I WILL implement into my home and work life. I am going home with a clearer mind and lighter heart” – Sandra Don, Odyssey Financial
“Excellent 4 days. The self-development I received was huge” – Ryan Pearce, Owner, Local Milk Supply
“We all lead such hectic lives, it is so difficult to take the time needed to reflect and analyse what is really important to us in life. This retreat provides you with the opportunity to do exactly that”. – Andrew Wynd, Director, Balwyn Sports Physiotherapy Centre
“Great place to be and learnt much about myself and how I need to make changes in my life. Thank you all for guiding me in the right direction” – Glenn Longstaff, VCON constructions
If you would like to experience transformational change for yourself, find out more here or please contact me directly at Stephanie@workwellgroup.com.au. Our next retreat dates are booked for 8-12 October 2018 so get in early and secure your place!