Retreat Yourself

Editor’s note: Kate inspired us all to cultivate a long term vision at the July WIC monthly meeting.  In this blog, she offers specific guidance for doing this kind of long-term planning.

Long-term planning.  We all know it’s important.  But for most of us, it’s the to-do that always slips to the bottom — or right off — the list!

Since there is never enough time, why not pair planning with fun?  Retreat yourself!

Time out

One of my clients goes on a personal retreat twice a year for several days.  She completely unplugs with no cell and no Internet.  I know!  It’s hard to imagine being off the grid.  She takes a list of things she wants to do — like write her company’s manifesto or develop new product ideas.  And she does it.

Why take the time?  You’ll recharge and you get clear on where you’re going, and that helps make better day-to-day decisions.  All of my clients get unexpected insights from this process, and most discover — or rediscover — an important and compelling vision of the future.

For example, one clearly saw a new business she would start that’s completely aligned with her passions and interests.  She saw herself in a bright office with a view of the water, 15-20 employees, and felt a strong sense the impact she was making for her clients and in the world.  She left the vision retreat with clear direction and a lot of momentum for her new venture.  Within the first week she was well underway; she named the company and got started on her business plan.

With clear insight into a future you can see, smell and feel, you’ll be compelled to make the right moves today to realize your vision.

Take yourself away

Now, you don’t have to go away for two-three days.  One day is the perfect place to start.  Take yourself somewhere inspiring – with a view.  I find a water horizon is the best setting to create a vision with a sense of endless possibility.

It’s even better if you combine the day into an overnight getaway.  Bring a friend or trusted colleague.  Add in a spa treatment, a nice dinner, a hike, or a walk on the beach.  You work hard.  You deserve it.

See the future — step by step

Step 1: Go old school

Before you leave for your retreat, download our free vision exercise.  Bring it, along with a notebook and pen.  Turn off your cell phone and shut down the computer.  Using a computer to take notes or capture impressions will dampen your experience.

Step 2: Relax

Take a walk or a hike, breathe in the fresh air, clear your head.  It’s important to leave behind the day-to-day pressures of your work and home responsibilities.

Then find a comfortable and inspiring spot where you won’t be interrupted for a couple of hours.

Step 3: Get grounded

• Take three deep breaths and let your body sink into where you’re sitting.

• Focus all of your attention in your dominant hand.  Slowly increase focus the in that hand.  You may feel an energetic sensation.  Continue to increase the focus — from an intensity of three to four to five to six, and then finally to seven.

• Now, maintain the intensity as you move your focus to the top of your head.  Once you feel it there, move it to your left foot and pause to feel the focus.  Then move your focus to your right knee, then your hips, then your stomach, your chest, your left shoulder, your neck, and back to the top of your head — pausing between each move to let the energy refocus in the new spot.

• Finally, return the energy to your dominant hand, and then relax your focus.

Now you’re ready to do the vision exercise.  It’s best to do it with a trusted friend or colleague.  Take turns.  One person reads the prompts and questions, and the other person responds.  The person reading the questions takes notes as you speak.

Tip!  Record your session so you can listen to it again and again to remember where you are going.

Take your time.  Spend about an hour in the future, so you can really reflect on what is happening in that future vision, and gain insights about the important steps you made to get there.

Whatever your vision, you’ll be inspired.  And when you have a sense of where you’re going — when you see your north star — you will start to notice opportunities along the way that you might have otherwise missed.

With your long term vision aligned with what’s really important and meaningful to you, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to make day-to-day decisions, maintain priorities and stay on track with the things that will get you there.

Cultivate Your Vision

Download our free vision exercise take with you on your retreat. It walks you through all the steps we’ve outlined here.

Want to go deeper?  We offer Vision Project Coaching Programs for successful executives and entrepreneurs who want to rise to their greatest possible height in talent and personal development.  Our programs help you achieve more wealth and success while creating more joy and meaning in your work and life.' About Kate Purmal

An expert in launching successful new companies and business ventures, Kate has served as Senior Vice President of Digital Content at SanDisk, a founder and CEO of the software joint venture U3, and member of the founding management team at Palm, Inc. At Palm, Kate helped grow the company to more than 300 employees and $300M in revenue.

Kate has consulted for dozens of start-ups and more than twenty large companies including Intuit, Hewlett-Packard, Handspring, Palm Inc., CBS, Verifone, and Clorox.

She has also held senior roles in marketing, product marketing, business development, sales, and engineering at Interleaf, Grid Systems, and Computer Associates.

Kate is a frequent speaker for professional organizations and business schools including Stanford Graduate School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Professional Business Women’s Conference, the Texas Women’s Conference, and DEMO.

She was voted one of San Jose Business Journal’s Most Influential Women in Business, and has won two DEMOgod awards. Kate has been named to the Top 25 Women Redefining Success and has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, Working Mother, Working Woman, and the San Jose Business Journal.


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