Strategic Retreat + My “not so new,” but new business.
I’ve been in a period of what I call “strategic retreat”… a time of going inside my head, heart, and soul more. I should say, “more than unusual” because I do hang out in those places a lot. Usually though when I’m in my head and heart…thinking, dreaming, feeling, planning…I am also in massive action mode.
I love to leap. I love risks. I love action. I love knowing what I want and going after it full throttle. Life is short, and there is a lot I want to experience, a lot I want to become. But over the last 6 months, I took myself out of fast action mode and went into retreat mode. I realized to go forward, I needed to go back.
I was at a big crossroads in life. I had recently sold 3 businesses, sold a second home, closed a business, and was divesting out of a 5th business. I had purged a lot of personal belongings, and organized the heck out of everything else in my life. I was on a serious mission.
I was serious about a new chapter in life. Clean sweep. Less is more. Simplicity. Those were my mantras for a few years. And it did take 3 years to “clear my space” because I had built a lot. A lot of amazing things, but the problem was they no longer fit me.
I’m at a point in life where I MUST be in 100% alignment and integrity with everything I do. How I spend my time, who I spend it with, and especially with the work I put out into this world. What or Who I say “Yes” to is very short list. Because to live an EPIC life means saying “no” to most things. Because even too many greats can lead to not so good!
I define EPIC as a life that is Extraordinary, Passion-filled, Inspiring, and Completely aligned. I especially had been feeling that the work I wanted to put out into this world MUST MUST MUST be in 100% alignment this time around. Not 80, not 90, but 100%. I was and am fiercely determined about that.
I had started business #6, Wellness Spark, Inc. a few years back, but I wasn’t really sure the direction I wanted to take it and I didn’t have the time and energy with all the other businesses to figure it out. But this business was where my heart was, even if I couldn’t fully grasp what that was yet. I knew that everything I had ever experienced and accomplished had brought me to this point.
So after all my “clean sweeping, and simplifying” I thought I was ready to roll and started building my business again, but very quickly I sensed I wasn’t going in the direction of my biggest vision, of where I really wanted to go. Something was off. So I stopped. Which was painful, and a very uncomfortable thing for me to do. But sometimes uncomfortable is necessary. And uncomfortable for a short period can lead to extraordinary for a very long period.
I wasn’t convinced my path was right or the destination was where I really even wanted to go in the first place. I take that stuff seriously. Life is short.
Strategic retreat mode for me was about stopping for a bit and figuring out exactly where I was in my life, and more importantly WHO I am, and from there exactly where I wanted to go. The truth is sometimes we get off course. And the truth is sometimes we have to let go of awesome dreams that simply no longer fit.
It’s not about the easy, comfortable path, or even the financially abundant path, it’s about the right path. Right for me. Right for you. That’s what matters.
I knew with what I was feeling that massive action would just carry me farther away from my desired destination. I would be busy and perhaps “successful” but not fulfilled and on fire with what I was building. I wanted ON FIRE! I needed to do some soul searching, ask the right questions, and reorient my life map from there. I needed to retreat a bit to do so. That was the smartest and most strategic thing I could do.
Some of you know, I co-own Odyssey Adventure Racing (this would be company #5), and we put on Adventure Races where you have to navigate the course (biking, running, paddling) with map and compass. There are no volunteers directing you, no flagging or markers to clue you in. You have to know where you are on the map at all times and navigate from there. In these adventure races it is more important that you are going in the right direction over a fast direction. I mean fast is awesome, especially if you are racing, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how fast you are going if it’s the wrong way. Go in the right direction first, then fast.
I’ll repeat that: “It is more important you are going in the right direction, than a fast direction!”
Same is true in life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think is “forward movement” simply because we are busy and going fast. But that doesn’t mean we are going in the direction we really want to be going.
And sometimes “success” as defined by society is not truly our “forward movement” in life. We are here to live what we love, full out. Happiness is the goal. The Dalai Lama says that, so you know it’s true!
Another thing in Adventure Racing, when you’re out in the woods, in the mountains and you are lost, turned around, or just suspecting you might not be where you think you are …do you know what you do? You go back to your last known point of origin. It’s hard to make yourself do it. You feel like you are losing time and that you will waste precious energy by going back or by stopping to make sure you are going in the right direction. But the truth is, if you don’t go back or stop, you will most likely exert way more time and energy in the long run. And you may not ever hit your desired point or destination. It’s a strategic retreat.
So the moral of this story:
1. Not only is it OK to slow down or stop, it’s critical to ultimately getting to where you really, really deep in your soul want to go.
2. It’s more than OK to ask yourself what I call “the right questions” or the tough questions.
3. Please for the love of all holy, REFLECT more. Listen to what comes up for you.
4. It’s normal to feel like you don’t have time to slow down. But understand it’ll save you so much in time, energy, money, and blood, sweat, and tears (OK, maybe that’s just my life!) in the long run.
5. Your happiness matters. The Dalai says so!
6. Your life can look any way you want it. But you have to know what you want.
7. Yes, it might (as in “it will!) take time and work to reorient your life map.
8. The aliveness, alignment, and fulfillment are so worth it!
By the way, I’m full speed ahead with my “not so new” but NEW business. Guess what it’s all about:
And you know what that feels like? Completely Aligned. Completely me.
If this helped you or might help someone you know please share or forward along! I’m on a mission to bust the status quo and inspire a revolution of EPIC Living. This happens when we start living our dreams, our highest potential, and life on our terms!
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Hollie “On Fire!” Flynn