Entrepreneur. Visionary. Founder. It all sounds glamorous. You wouldn’t trade it for anything. But you also know it’s a hero’s journey filled with ups and downs and stress. And sometimes loneliness.
One of the most challenging aspects of the entrepreneurial journey is getting space from the constant day-to-day demands and stress of the job to think about the longer term, big picture issues of your business.
The never-ending onslaught of emails, calls crowds out the space to think more strategically and get the perspective to make critical business and life decisions.
One way to escape the noise and regain much needed perspective is to go on a digital detox retreat. On a digital detox retreat you give up your phone, the internet and online life for 3-7 days. Bringing together small groups of entrepreneurs, these retreats foster a open and supportive environment in a beautiful nature setting.
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs make digital detox retreats part of their yearly rituals. Bill Gates famously took a week every year to go an isolated cabin to be offline and do deep thinking. Elon Musk regularly attended Burning Man.
Here are five reasons why a digital detox retreat can transform you and your business.
1. Disconnecting enables deeper thinking.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Google/YouTube, Apple, etc have hired the best minds in the world to hack our attention. And they’ve done quite well at it. Research has shown that the distractions and interruptions of digital life actually work against our ability to focus and thinking deeply.
The cost is really high. When we switch our attention, it leaves what professor Sophie Leroy named ‘attention residue.’ The first task leaves an attention residue that degrades our performance on the next. The more switching, the more our concentration degrades.
Disconnecting from digital life stops the noise and enables your mind to concentrate and focus on your most important strategic challenges.
2. Epic nature is a gateway drug to creativity and problem solving
Have you ever noticed that you think more clearly and see your problems differently after spending time in nature?
According to Psychology Today, it turns out that the awe that occurs within us when we experience epic nature actually amps up thinking differently and creatively.
“Most of the time, the idea of changing how you think is scary and threatening. But when you’re experiencing awe, it’s a positive feeling, and it reassures you that this is not a dangerous situation – this is a safe environment, so it’s OK to open your mind and think. When we’re feeling this way, our desire to create just shoots up.”
For this reason, digital detox retreats often take place in spectacular natural settings.
3. You can reconnect with yourself and mission
When you are fighting the day-to-day fires in making your business successful, you are constantly responding to the needs of you customers, employees, investors and partners. It’s easy to start de-prioritizing your own needs and losing touch with the passion that drove to pursue your mission.
Taking time for yourself to get away from the day-to-day stress enables you to give yourself some self-care and recharge. In doing so you reconnect with yourself and re-energize your passion for mission.
4. You can connect with other entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial loneliness is well documented and a driver for feelings of isolation and depression. It’s critical for entrepreneurs to engage in open and honest conversations with the support of other peers.
“It’s extremely important for CEOs to have a peer group they can talk to in an intimate, honest way,” says Harvard Business School Professor Bill George.
A digital detox retreat can be an ideal location for sharing what’s really going on and having open and honest conversations with others going through the same things you are.
5. You get the perspective to break through big challenges
As Einstein famously said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.”
All the elements of a great digital detox retreat work together to help you start thinking differently from your day-to-day business life.
Jim Moffatt, former CEO of Deloitte wrote, “If you really unplug, you will start thinking about the long term, strategic issues, and what we have to do to be successful over the 9-to-24-month period, and that is essential.”
1% of your year can transform the other 99%
The biggest objection entrepreneurs have to taking time for a digital detox retreat is that they can’t possibly spare the time to be totally disconnected. However, a four-day digital detox retreat represents less than 1% of your year. As many entrepreneurs have discovered, taking the space and time in 1% of your year can transform the other 99%.
As Will Leach, CEO of Triggerpoint said after a recent retreat:
“Something bigger than I ever thought was going to come out of this happened. If you’re leaning towards it and you’re not quite sure, don’t think about it, just do it.”
Find out more about Steve’s Digital Detox retreats at www.steveaugustcoaching.com/d-r