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Mandy Woodland & Lesley Raymond

Co-Founders of The Refresh Project.

As entrepreneurs, many of us are scattered. Even when we truly have our sh*t together, science shows us that time off is crucial for proper brain functioning.

And research is clear that many entrepreneurs get their best ideas during their downtime – when we give ourselves enough time to clear our minds, and to think. (1) Changing your environment can trigger new thoughts and insights on things you’ve been struggling with, or enable new ideas to come forward in your mind – everything from efficiencies in your business, to new revenue streams or partnerships.

When our minds are in ‘idle’ mode, our neurons settle and our glial cells expand activity – tidying up waste and moving it out.

We can actually build readiness and enhance productivity when we’re the opposite of ‘busy’ – napping, walking in nature, mindfulness or meditation.

And regularly scheduled down-time or recharging your batteries can prevent burn out – a serious issue for entrepreneurs in 2018. (2) And “sitting and thinking is work” – even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is real work, and the kind of work that only you, as the boss, can do. There is significant value in learning and absorbing. (3)

We all know that we need to work on our businesses, not just in them.

But when do you have time for that? Retreats are a great way to step back for a new perspective, to learn from others, and just refresh your brain! (4)  So how do you know whether to go on a retreat, and whether a particular retreat is right for you? Well, you need to self-assess to determine what you might need, and what the best fit is for you. Do you struggle with downtime? Is a packed schedule best for you? 3 days or 6 days? On-site or off-site? And is the learning good but execution is lacking? Coaching components, one-on-ones, and post-retreat follow-up are all important to finding value in the execution. The right retreat should facilitate experience-sharing and result in new thinking. (5) 

“Retreats can be a fabulous way for entrepreneurs to pop the bubble they may find themselves in,” says Beth Buelow, founder of coaching company The Introvert Entrepreneur. “There’s a safety in the busy-ness that comes from putting your head down and throwing yourself into the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business. But that safety can lead to stagnation.” (6)


An investment in a retreat – the right retreat – is an investment in your business. “The cost is not doing it, in my book”. (7) It can help you not only recharge your batteries, but it can also build a community of people who get it and who can help you solve problems in new ways. By connecting with other entrepreneurs who’ve had diverse experiences and have different skill sets, you find unique new supporters and resources. And other people help you see things differently. Their external perspectives on your business can sometimes trigger the most simple of solutions to something you’ve been struggling with for ages. We don’t know what we don’t know, and outside eyes can find obvious things – or perhaps they’ve been there before and solved it in a unique way.

Whatever your motivation, a retreat that’s the right fit for you is an investment in your business that you should see significant returns from, both in mind and business. Embrace downtime. Work on your business. Change your environment. Pop the bubble you’re in.



Lesley Raymond and Mandy Woodland are co-founders of The Refresh Project, retreats for entrepreneurs and professionals. Their first retreat for 2018 is being held March 22-28 in Barbados.



4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Denise Blasevick, Ibid.