Reka and I just completed hosting our most recent couples retreat, and although it was not what we had expected, it was extraordinary. This isn’t to say everything went perfectly and according to plan; the ramp-up to the actual event was even a bit rocky. However, the end results for the couple that flew in to participate, I believe, will be life-changing. Reka and I were able to learn a ton from this experience, both about how to improve the process and ourselves.
But it wasn’t always comfortable.
We had initially scheduled the retreat for different dates in a spacious, fancy house situated on some acreage. We had hired a five-star chef to join us and the eight couples who had planned on attending. And then, I let something hijack our plans. An opportunity presented itself: to join a small group of business owners and the senior member of the Harvard Executive MBA experience in Boston. This sort of thing has been a dream of mine. We knew months in advance, so we changed the date of the couples retreat. This is when things started to unravel…
When we changed the dates, right off the bat, six couples cancelled because of scheduling conflicts. I get it – life can be busy. Sometimes, changing a date by only a couple of weekends can become challenging for potential attendees. We put it out there again and did not get any takers. We started getting a bit nervous. We had been adventuring in Europe, my new book had come out, and we were not as active in getting people to join us as we should have been. We did get one couple, an old friend from Colorado and her boyfriend, to commit.
Reka and I discussed whether we should even go forward with the retreat and what it would look like if we adjusted. We decided that since one of our True North values is to fearlessly give first for the betterment of others, we should practice what we preached. But keeping the same venue and chef would cost us a ton. So, a few weeks before the event, we sent out some of the pre-retreat work and a notification that the group would be smaller and that we would not be going to the fancy country house. Instead, folks could stay at the Marriott across the street from my office in Omaha, where we planned on meeting.
The two remaining couples dropped out because of the venue change and due to adjustments of the overall event. Again, I get it – but I must admit, it was deflating. Reka and I had to have a few difficult conversations about this. We wavered back and forth, finally deciding to talk with our last remaining couple, to be completely open with them and see what they thought. We laid it out, let them discuss it privately, and within a couple hours, we had our response.
They had been doing the pre-retreat work. They were both excited to attend and they truly wanted to engage in the process.
As we worked through the two and half days, I came to embrace that having the other folks back out was a great gift. I still know the multi-couple format works well; however, the intimacy, candor, trust, and open communication between the four of us took the process to an entirely different level.
I believe Reka and I had a positive impact on this couple…and they had an amazing impact on us. Reka and I learned how well we work together, and in this intimate setting, we were able to see the other in action. We are considering offering this option to couples going forward – sessions that are higher end, more intimate, and more focused on them.
Be Willing to Fail
My point is this: things don’t always go the way we want them to, whether in business, Solopreneurship, or in our personal lives. There will always be unexpected opportunities and challenges. Reka and I had the conversation. We were willing to fail. A few times, we thought we might. In the end, we broke through a ceiling and discovered something different.
Keep in mind that sometimes, a willingness to fail is where extraordinary lives.
Are you willing to fail? Do you want to learn more about embracing the unexpected? We can help! Contact us today to find out how.