Well, hello 2020 and to a new decade!
It was this time last year that I sat at home wondering what I wanted to achieve or what goals I wanted to set myself for 2019 and feeling a complete lack of direction for the first time in my career. For all my working life I had always known what my next move would be or what I wanted to do next - until 12 months ago.
Feeling happy and secure in my new home and in a job that I love, I wanted so desperately to strive for the next big thing and set some audacious goal to get there, but simply couldn't identify what that was anymore or what that goal might be. Marriage? Starting a family? But what about my career? Going for a promotion? But what did I really want to do? Did I want more responsibility? Did I want to achieve a fitness goal? Health? Work life balance? Who knew... I was so confused and yet at the same time quite content about my immediate situation.
I'm not the person who can sit still, waiting for the next opportunity to come walking past me. I work hard and passionately for everything in my life and take pride in making the most of my time on earth. So this time, although I felt somewhat content with what I had I still wanted to explore a little bit deeper and take some time out to identify what was actually really important to me.
As I researched for a retreat to attend to help me with my personal and professional goal setting - I came to a bit of a dead end. I didnt find what I needed - and so I created it. Stimulating the need to work towards something new and exciting but also exploring a new field, an area I have never looked at before. Holistic wellbeing for the personal and professional versions of ourselves. A retreat was what I needed to Reset, Refresh and Refocus what as important to me.
After months of research, investment, a website, an Instagram account and some networking, I proposed my ideas to anyone who would listen. I identified three possible groups of women who may find this retreat useful and created an agenda of content and activities which I thought that they may benefit from. Looking for the right locations, the right surroundings and settings to help achieve the sanctuary that would become a haven for trust, reflection and light bulb moments.
In September I hosted the very first Professional Retreat with 8 ladies of varying backgrounds, professions and motivations to attend the retreat. We laughed, cried and left with a feeling of direction, purpose and positivity. This circle of trust continues with the ladies supporting each other on their journeys which is so lovely to see. As soon as I got home I launched the January retreat and almost filled it in the first week.
I don't know what 2020 will have in store for me - but with two upcoming retreats in January and February to host I am sure together we will find a sense of direction together, answering our own questions in time and giving ourselves the time out of the daily grind to reflect and refocus. I believe that these retreats shouldnt be a once in a life time occurance - they should be taken as frequently as you need them, to find our what you want and then to keep reminding yourself of the journey you are on and seeing the progress along the way.
Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at us all - I hope that these retreats help you to reset your defences every now and again and refocus on what is important to you. Sharpening your senses so that you can handle everything it throws at you whilst making progress on a path that you set for yourself.
I wanted to visualise the concept of The Professional retreat and create a brand which will portray the values of the business. We wont be targeting just one area of your personal or professional development - we will be looking at everything around you. I hope the new branding and website showcase the purpose of this venture, the values and the personality that each retreat will have. I am always open to feedback and would love to hear your comments on this creative side.
Many people have asked me, "where have you got this idea from?" after I share with them this initiative of hosting professional retreats for different groups of women facing varying challenges in their professional careers. Well, I simply woke up one morning and thought, this is what I need for my own career, so why not create one? This is what I need to do.
I love my job as Head of Events, MICE and Group Travel for a fantastic company based in Manchester. I am challenged everyday, I am allowed to be autonomous with my work, I have the respect of the Directors and the CEO and and I love the industry that we work within. But, there is still something missing for me in my professional and personal development. I am told regularly that I have so much opportunity around me and there are avenues I can take within the business to go to the next level - but in all honesty - I actually don't know what I want to do!
I have always been a driven, career focussed, ambitious character, moving continents at the drop of a hat to progress my career and work on the next big project. I have always known what I want, where I want to be and what my next step will be. I studied at school, went to university, quit one course, and started again doing another course at a different university that suited me better. I undertook a job with a graduate scheme, moved to London to launch my career and then went international with it. I was always in control of what my next steps would be and I had it all planned out in my head. Until now...
I have an impressive CV working on huge international events such as London 2012 Olympics, FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, Formula 1 and other motorsports events in Abu Dhabi, International Festival for Business 2016 and after a period of time moving around I have settled in Manchester. A fantastic up-and-coming city, full of entrepreneurs, hard working people and heritage to be proud of.
In my role I manage 9 people, all at varying levels of experience and expertise. I am learning everyday about coaching, leading and developing the team to unlock their true potential and achieve our team goals. Its really rewarding. With my role, I report to a number of Directors and have a close relationship with the CEO who I know all value to work that I do. We all have challenges with our line management I am sure, but I really do enjoy working with them all - especially the CEO who is just so passionate, motivated and inspiring.
The thing with me is... I'm happily dissatisfied all of the time. I'm restless and driven to the point that most people would burn out - but I just have endless energy when it comes to my career, my life and my future. I am happy, living in the present and thankful for everything I have and the people around me - but that never stops me striving for more and seeing what else I'm capable of. I don't stop, and I'm not sorry for that. I travel worldwide relentlessly. I keep in touch with as many people as I can and I arrange catch ups and weekends away months in advance to ensure I never lose contact with people in my life. The thing is now... what do I want to do next?
With all of this racing around my mind, opportunities being handed to me on a plate, my years of hard work coming in to pay off, I want to press the reset button and refocus on what matters to me. What do I really want to do?
Happy Birthday to The Professional Retreat!