Guest post by Starla J. King, Big Fish 2009-2011

“There is more work that gets done in the seeming non-work than we realize”Lorin Beller Blake

This time we didn’t break arrows with our throats (more details on that here), but we sure did get out of our comfort zones. Several times.  One of which falls under the “what happens in the Adirondacks stays in the Adirondacks” category. You can’t make me tell.

Another stellar Starfish Retreat:  9 women entrepreneurs, 2.5 days in the NY Adirondacks,   rejuvenation time., play time, connection time.  And all of it actually very real work time as Lorin (Lorin Beller Blake, Founder and CEO of Big Fish Nation)  integrated “stealth learning” into every activity.

For example:

– I was so focused on reaching the top of the mountain that I didn’t even see the salamander.  Sure, he was small, but you’d think I’d notice his deep solid orange body crossing the hiking path.   When we are singularly focused on the goal, it’s easy to overlook the beauty of the process.

– Nancy wandered off the path, but thanks to Lisa she didn’t get eaten by bears.   Notice anew and appreciate those you can rely on when you’re off track.

– Mosquitoes that weren’t so bad when we kept moving, but ohmygoodness, the feedfest when standing still.  There’s great value in continuing forward movement, even when the “mosquitoes” of distractions threaten our businesses. And always keep your “bug spray” handy — the practices that help keep you focused, with distractions at bay.

– An informal evening of drumming and various other rhythm intruments.  One drum not beating changed everything.  One voice not showing up, not being heard, changes everything.  Every voice matters, every person, every business makes a difference and has an impact.

Oh yes, those comfort zones were challenged.  And every one of us learned something important about ourselves — and the other Starfish — from the way we each handled each challenge.  No right, no wrong, just learning.

And all this before even getting to the day of “Advisory Board” sessions — each of us got focused time to bring an issue to the group for feedback, advice, brainstorming, whatever we needed most.  Together, we:

  • honed business processes
  • refined service offerings
  • brainstormed around new markets for our products
  • got unstuck
  • found our voice
  • reviewed/revised our goals
  • updated our vision stories
  • splutter-laughed at the ongoing dry wit
  • fussed about the constant rain… then kayaked in it anyway
  • set Bold Actions for the next 90 days
  • cried (crying not related to the Bold Actions… or was it??!)
  • renewed our focus

Yes, we worked — maybe not in the traditional way, and certainly not in the traditional setting — but we focused on ourselves, our colleagues, our businesses, and our progress…so yes, we worked.  And by getting outside of our usual routine, we opened up new intellectual and emotional space to work from and work with. During the next 90 days we will dive into accountability sessions to keep the forward action with our big goals.

Our fearless leader and her little Big Fish 🙂

Trust me, you want to experience a Starfish Retreat for yourself! There are still a few spots left in the next one:  Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 at L’Auberge Del Mar (a 5-start resort) in southern CA.  The theme is Celebration…I can only imagine what Lorin will dream up for that one!  Email Lorin to reserve your spot now, or  click here for more information.

p.s.  Did I mention the in-house chef (we love you, Jenn!)?  And the afternoon of massages?  And the kayaking on the lake (with wine in the evening, coffee/tea in the morning)?  And daily turn-down service from adorable little 5-year-old hands (thank you, Sierra!)?   Oh yeah.

Other Starfish Participants — how was it for YOU?? Please post comments to let readers know YOUR experience too!