3 Must Haves For Planning A Retreat - Meg Sylvester
planning-a-retreat

3 Must Haves For Planning A Retreat

If you’ve been dreaming of hosting your own retreat someday, I’m here to give you the tools and guidance and 3 must haves for planning a retreat, to help you on your journey.

I love leading retreats. It’s an integral part of my soulful spiritual business, and holding the space for people to have an immersive and transformative experience, is a dream come true. 

Leading a retreat doesn’t have to be scary.

I’m fresh from leading my Manifest Miracles retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica, and here are my 3 key take-aways from the experience.

1. You Do NOT Always Have To Be “On”

As a retreat leader, sometimes we get in a headspace where we feel like we always have to be ‘on’. That we have to be constantly moving and grooving, and generally being the hostess with the mostest.

This is simply not true. And in fact I strongly discourage it.

Firstly, if you want to show up fully for your retreat participants then you must take time out for yourself to recenter.

Make sure you take regular downtime. Lean back from the small daily details of rushing around, coordinating and checking in every 5 minutes with your attendees. 

You are the main conduit for Source on the retreat, so it’s super important that you take time to recharge, rest, and re-align.

This could be a meditation, a walk in nature, a nap, or simply calling someone you love.

When you’re grounded and centered, it’s much easier for the messages from Source to flow through you. This allows you to serve from a much higher place than if you were forcing yourself to be ‘on’ 24/7.

Secondly, some of the most powerful transformations actually occur in the group work once you’ve stepped back.

As group facilitators, our role is to lead and teach.. but the real magic happens when we lean back and let the participant’s aha moments unfold.

This allows them to hear your message and then process it fully at their own pace, without feeling like they’re under any kind of pressure.

In this way it’s actually better for everyone if you’re not around all the time!

Give them the time to process their own experience in their own way, and I promise, so much magic will flow from that.

2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Prepare your ass off!

When you know your materials back to front you can be fluid and easy when things don’t go 100% according to plan (because trust me, they won’t!).

For example I love making workbooks when planning a retreat. But the ones for my Money Mindset workshop In Nosara, didn’t make it.

If I was winging it – this would have been a total disaster!

BUT, because I knew my work back to front, it actually became one of my favorite parts of the retreat. I got the whiteboard out, put my questions to the group, and we worked though everything together.

It was so much fun! And I have a little inkling that the Universe made it that way for a reason! 🙂

It’s not that everything will go wrong if we don’t have all the details down to the Nth degree.. and it’s not about being a control freak..

What I mean is that when we’re dedicated and committed to understanding and embodying the materials inside out – the magic flows from us naturally (regardless of what takes place around us). 

This is why I prepare so much.. to allow myself to fully relax and connect with my attendees and lead from deep within my soul.

Remember, you are your retreat.

Workbooks may not make it in time.. local activities may get mixed up.. but as long as you’re present (and you know your stuff!) – you’re golden.

Like Gabby Bernstein says – obstacles are just detours in the right direction. 

Prepare your ass off – then go with the flow.

3. It’s Not Your Place to Label What Your Attendee’s Transformations Look Like

This one has the power to really melt away a lot of anxiety for first time (and experienced) retreat leaders, when planning a retreat.

Know that everyone who has been called to your retreat is 100% meant to be there. And that (wether you can ‘see’ it or not, something important is taking place).

This is why authentic marketing is so crucial. When marketing your retreat you want to show up fully in your energy and represent yourself in a very real authentic and raw way. By doing this (and being vulnerable) you make sure you’re pulling in the people who are meant to be there.

It really is so simple..

All you have to do is show up fully.

Create material that is completely aligned with you.

And trust that the people who attend are going to have the exact experience that they need. 

It’s not for you to define what a transformation looks like for someone. For one person it may be lots of emotions, lots of tears and sharing. For somebody else it may mean they’re in the corner silently observing and keeping to themselves. Transformative experiences look different on everyone, and even on the same people in different settings or at different points in their journey.

Show up – do your best, and detach from any expectations around what these transformations will look like.

In fact one of the greatest things about this work is that the retreat is just the beginning. For many the transformative experiences go on for months and even years when they return home.

More Resources For Planning A Retreat

So these were my 3 Key Takeaways for hosting your own soulful retreat. I hope they help you on your journey to creating your own, and if you’d like some deeper support please join me in my Facebook group Soulful Leaders + Lightworkers.

I’ll soon be doing a free 10 part training on how to create and lead your own soulful retreat. Click below to join!

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