The First Craft+Story Retreat

May 19, 2013

Inherently, I know that you sometimes need to get away when you’re trying to solve big problems or accomplish crazy goals. When I worked for the ministry, I loved “away” days and staff retreats. Those days helped us set a clear vision year after year and dream big. I told myself that was one thing I would definitely continue when I had my own business. Of course, in the past year, I didn’t actively take time away at all. I have used blocks of an afternoon for plotting out the course of Craft+Story on the back porch, but I forgot about the power of actually getting away. Earlier this month, I finally took an actual “staff retreat” with the whole staff (me) for a few days.


Technically, it was my wife’s idea. We were in that rare place where we had the money for me to disappear for a day (because I have clients), but I could also stand to take a day or two off the grid (because I have awesome clients). More importantly, I was nervous about putting together my presentation for T3CON in San Francisco and I needed to think clearly about how to grow my business. I couldn’t waste a lot of afternoons working on it, so I needed a one-shot burst of inspiration and clarity.


On a Sunday afternoon I drove an hour and a half south and checked into a little bed and breakfast that Rebekah and I had already scouted out. I had a room with a balcony facing the woods (for pipe & pondering time), coffee, bourbon, my laptop, and various iPads.


Monday morning, I got up early and started brainstorming the presentation. I had been stuck before, but I managed to pull together a rough outline I was excited about even before coffee. After that, I had a full breakfast, fleshed out the talk, and made a few decisions about the business. By the end of the day, I could relax and watch Live Free or Die Hard to completely wipe my brain clear of intelligent thought.


I didn’t really know how much I needed a quick change of scenery until my wife pushed me to do this. By the end of a couple days, despite having worked well over the usual amount and draining my brain into OmniOutliner and Keynote, I felt rejuvenated. I felt ready for San Francisco, and I finally felt ready for the next phase of Craft+Story.


I don’t really have any huge epiphany or advice except “getting away was the right move”. I planned on doing it when I had a team, but I realize now that even a team of one needs a retreat sometimes.


Next time, maybe I’ll get a chance to work on my book.