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Senior Correspondent

Jazz: a style of music, native to America. Strong, but flexible; rhythmic understructure. To make more interesting. Enliven. Improvisation. Animation. Enthusiasm.

We love facilitating company retreats. Retreats are meant to get folks away from the day-to-day demands and distractions of working IN the business so that they can work ON the business. So that they can renew relationships, remember and refocus on what's most important, recalibrate and recharge their energy. So that they can take a few healthy renewal practices back to the workplace and find positive ways to work together.

Retreats help folks reconnect with what inspires them most about their work, their colleagues and their company. It's easy to become disconnected from what energizes and inspires us. And then work becomes, well, you know, "work." 

One of our favorite retreat kick-off questions is to ask folks, "What jazzes you most about your work?" When folks have a few minutes to reflect on that question and share their insights with each other, the positive energy fills up the room and spills over into everything we do together.

We can become disconnected from this source of positive energy and personal power when, by default, we plug into the drama all around us. Entertaining though it may be, most of this drama is distracting, mind-numbing and energy depleting. We can actually choose to unplug from these energy sucking scenarios, and ask ourselves this wonderful coaching question, "What jazzes me most about my job or my company's mission?" Take a few minutes to respond and you will most certainly reconnect with a true source of positive energy. You can even take this question a level deeper, and ask "What jazzes me most about a specific role, or a specific task." 

We coach clients in all walks of life to schedule and invest in mini-retreats. Mini-retreats are times during the day when you literally retreat from the relentless challenges and take a few minutes for yourself. You are not a computer. You are not a machine. You are a human being.

As human beings, our preventative maintenance schedules are a critical component of our professional performance and our personal well-being. We can get so caught up in do-do-do, just going from one pile of do-do to the next. Enough said.

It's not so much about the number of hours we spend at work as it is about the outcomes we produce. Without building into our schedules small retreats to refuel, we can easily distract ourselves, become over stimulated, lose focus and become non-productive. And then we find ourselves compensating by working longer and harder.

One of the quickest ways to add high performance fuel to your life is to actively seek and schedule in sources of inspiration for yourself and to become a source of inspiration for your colleagues, customers, friends and family.

It's just a matter of tuning into what inspires us personally. Hank and I love to take a "Michelle Moment" and enjoy the most recent photos of our first and only great niece. Michelle's parents generously share up to the minute, late breaking photos and videos. And, we stop whatever we are doing, literally, and contemplate the wonder of this very cool little human being, "Our Michelle."   

I keep a few favorite books at my finger-tips. When I start to lose it, I randomly choose a book and get a quick fix of inspiration. Notice, I do not check in with USA Today or CNN for my inspiration. And, speaking of inspiration, how about those Cardinals? 

When your tasks become difficult or overwhelming, stop! Working harder and longer will not cut it! I promise. Take a small time out! Retreat! 

  • Unplug from the drama of the day.
  • Breathe in. Breathe out. Fresh air preferred.
  • Fuel up with a healthy snack.
  • Hydrate.
  • Get physical. Walk it off.
  • Keep a few sources of instant inspiration at your finger-tips.
  • Spend a few minutes reconnecting with a colleague.
  • Keep it simple.

Better yet! Retreat and recharge before you hit overwhelm. 

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