When you're the boss, it can be near impossible to escape from the office in order to connect with other entrepreneurs for more than an hour or two. But, as I discovered during a recent retreat with my mastermind group in Austin, Texas, the less you can afford the time, the more you need it. Here are six reasons why:
Distancing yourself from the daily grind provides an entirely new view on your business -- and your life. Your shoulders sink a little bit from their usual position near your ears. Those email messages waiting in your in-box seem a little less urgent than they did 24 hours ago. Just as objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear, problems seen from inside the office appear larger than they actually are.
2. Resource sharing.
In our world of information overload, it's impossible to be up to date on everything. Swapping resources -- whether the latest trend in project management or the name of a great app developer -- is one of the most valuable parts of connecting with other business owners. Come with your recommendations as well as your wish list and leave with your desires fulfilled.
3. Breathing room.
The poet Khalil Gibran wrote that, in order to experience a successful romantic relationship, couples should “...let there be spaces in your togetherness.” This is great advice for business relationships, too. Retreating gives your employees a chance to sink or swim without your immediate guidance, and there's no better cure for a control freak than to watch (from a distance) as the business not just survives, but thrives in your absence.
4. The power of the collective mind.
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind],” wrote "Think and Grow Rich" author Napoleon Hill. Anyone who's ever been part of a serious mastermind group can attest to this “third mind” force. Throw out a business problem, then sit and listen while your colleagues go to work dismantling your obstacle and suggesting a plethora of ideas, most of which would never have occurred to any individual.
On any given day, a hundred-and-one possible projects clamor for your attention, and that list gets even longer when you're out of the office. Whether you're away for a day or a weekend, having a specific intention will give your retreat structure and purpose. At our three-day getaway, participants had goals ranging from writing a book, to perfecting their sales funnel, to creating a product launch sequence. By setting a narrow target, you can filter out all the possible distractions and laser in on what's most important to tackle right now.
While it's great to head out to dinner with a colleague, you don't really get to know someone until you see them at 7 a.m. on their way to the shower, at lunch after a full morning struggling with a new customer service SOP and after a long night of Coronas and karaoke. After spending extended time with your mastermind partners, you'll love them or hate the very sound of their breathing. You'll either end up great friends, or you'll thank your lucky stars you never signed that multi-year partnership agreement. Nothing serves as a better crucible than a few days in close quarters.
There is no telling what incredible synergistic results you might achieve from spending a few days with your mastermind group. From new relationships to new product ideas to new inspiration, a mastermind retreat can give you support, renewal and even a good kick in the pants. Get unplugged and give yourself a chance to really master your business -- with the help of your mastermind.