May 15, 2019
There is nothing I like more than bringing awesome women together.
It’s what I do #sorrynotsorrymen but it’s true, I love doing it online but boy oh boy do I love doing it in person too.
My first running retreats were a simple affair, 20 women brought together initially in the function room of the apartment block where I live in East London, and then taken on a running tour of the nearby Olympic Park, a lovely pub lunch, some more running, and then back to TFTR HQ for some goal setting work.
And all for £59 (including lunch and a tshirt) what was I thinking???
Anyways…my business sense has moved on a bit since then, as has my desire to get out of the UK occasionally for work.
A chance conversation with one of my followers back in 2015 saw me head out to Rhodes in Greece with my daughter Rose who was just 2 to check out a venue for potentially the first ever TFTR retreat…and it was perfect. A mountain top location, luxury villa, privacy, beautiful authentic surroundings just the kind of escape my clients need to have a week away from it all.
And so here we are 3 retreats down…and boy oh boy have we learned a lot.
This review will give you a taste of the week, but you really do have to be part of something like this to experience its power…even for the staff involved, in fact especially for the staff involved.
I arrived at Gatwick at 4am…literally 48 hours after running the London Marathon…my feet were still in bits and I hadn’t been to sleep that night, I was meeting one of my clients in departures as she was on the same 5.30am flight as me.
Literally 4 hours later we had left the grey and gloomy delights of London and were stepping off the plane in Rhodes to glorious sunshine. Our event host Elizabeth (or Kass as she is affectionately known) met us at the airport with her teenage daughter Poppy.
We headed to the beach to have lunch and catch up.
We then headed back to the airport to pick up another client and then make our way across the island to Pefkos where we would spend the rest of the week. The rest of our 6 ladies were flying in later in small groups and would have private transfers to the villa.
I always breathe a sigh of relief on the car journey towards Pefkos…all the hard work of planning and recruiting the right women is behind us…by this point there is no turning back.
We were staying at a staff villa a short drive from the main one, which gave us and the group some space in the evenings. We were joined this year by the bloody incredible Rapid Transformational Therapist Glyniss Trinder…who was an absolute joy to work with.
A bit of a team catch up before an early night…what would the week bring us.
Up early and to the villa for 8am on day one, to find the ladies helping themselves to breakfast in the vast kitchen area of the villa, some of the ladies had arrived in darkness so the beautiful ocean views over the infinity pool had greeted them.
There was a relaxed vibe, lots of laughter…and cups of tea being made for each other…you can tell it was mainly brits on this retreat…we must have got through a million tea bags.
The first session of the day was all about intentions and finding out who was in the group and why they were here. The groups ability to share their insecurities and worries right from the off was refreshing, and I knew there and then this would be a good week.
The plan for day 1 is to break them in gently ha ha
A bit of pool activity, and some gentle goal setting workshops…and loads of time to chill out and to enjoy the villa.
8am yoga the following day signalled the start of the retreat for real, John was a new addition to the team, a cheeky chappy from the UK, now living in Rhodes with his fingers in many pies, stand up paddle boarding instructor, dog trainer, yogi…
He put the ladies minds at rest and gave their bodies a good stretch. He’d be back in a few days, to push them further. We never really brief the visiting instructors too fully, we like them to come and make their own minds up, so when John came out with corkers like,
“you are stronger than you think”
And “Theres no judgement in yoga” I knew we were onto a winner.
The flow of the retreat tends to be some kind of morning exercise, hill training, swimming, yoga, or a hike…and then daytime workshops or RTT sessions (I will explain what that is) but there is also plenty of time for fun around the pool, and time to reflect.
We spend two days away from the villa, one trip to Lindos where the ladies climbed many many stairs to get up to the stunning Acropolis at the top (I’ve done it many times now, so I browsed the shops instead) and then we all share lunch and have time on the beach. Later on in the week we head into nearby Pefkos for some down time….which is just as important in my view.
So let’s talk about the nitty gritty of some of things we work on.
As many of you know I have moved into Life Coaching in previous years, I’ve always used coaching in all of my previous jobs, and in my work with TFTR but over the last 6 months I have been formalising that with an official qualification, and lots of 121 clients (I have 4 spaces available at the moment for anyone interested)
My approach to coaching is based on many of the principles outlined in my book “Living a Bigger Life” but my skills as a coach have come on leaps and bounds as a result of this new focus, and it really showed on the retreat…especially in tandem with Glyniss.
I first met Glyniss on a business mastermind we were both in, I later had some Rapid Transformational Therapy to help me understand some of my behaviours and patterns to do with food. It blew my mind back then and I knew what an asset she would be on the retreat.
Rapid Transformation Therapy is a type of Hypnotherapy developed by a lady called Marissa Peer, helping you to go back to scenes from the past that have triggered certain beliefs and behaviours, to first understand and make sense and then heal/fix/address.
We did two quite intense sessions during the week which really helped women to have some serious breakthroughs…including me.
One of the things which I love about RTT is that you don’t have to think, and you never quite know what memories you might find. I had one a few years about sitting in a changing room in C&As in a yellow bikini aged around 11 (that was a long forgotten memory but still managed to come out)
This time in Rhodes though for me it was about Fish Fingers…bloody Fish Fingers.
The memory was around my mum sharing out Fish Fingers between me and my 5 fingers, and us squabbling over who had more. The lasting feeling this left me was I can only win if others lose, and that there isn’t enough to go round.
Which of course isn’t the truth at all.
The thing with retreats is you never know which bits are going to have the biggest impact, and for whom. For some women it will have been being able to walk around in a bikini without being judged, for others it would have been the hill training, it could have been a lightbulb moment over portion sizes, or a BIG FAT STUPID GOAL jumping out of their head onto the pages on their journal.
In the evenings I spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of these retreats and what makes them so special.
And I think it is a number of things
- Being away from home (its like medicine by itself)
- Cass and her home cooked with love food
- Glyniss and the care she takes of the women, and how generous she is with her expertise and knowledge
- The excitement and laughter of the pound and zumba sessions
- The luxury and space of the villa
- The beauty of the location
- The balance of exercise and talking sessions
But something else came out too.
I realise I do have this ability to attract the most awesome of women, women who literally within moments of meeting each other, get on.
I am able to hold space in a powerful way which means everything else just falls into place….with of course the support from my team, especially Kass who is like a mummy bear to us all.
I think one of the highlights for me was the Monday night circuits session…the one I’d been building up all week ha ha.
The women really didn’t want to exercise that night, they didn’t quite trust what I had in store for them, and so reluctantly they changed into their work out gear and made their way out to one of the numerous outdoor spaces.
I’d set up a circuit and had a session planned called “I go, you go” where working in pairs they had to do 1000 exercise reps.
Literally 60 seconds after we started the vibe changed, there was laughter, squeals of delight (or was it pain ha ha), words of encouragement, looks of wonder up above as they spotted the twilight sky…and when 45 minutes in I told them the session was over they actually groaned…they wanted to carry on.
We are all capable of so much more than we think
We can all do more than we think we can
With the support of the right women we are invincible…well at least it feels that way.
We are a week out from being home now, and has the magic worn off? Hell no. The intuitive eating that our guest expert in the Living a bigger Life community Nikki Haggett has been working with the ladies on is still being worked on, the women are busy listening to their recordings from Glyniss…and all kinds of exercise is being done.
People often ask,
“What did you lose” when you come back off a health and fitness retreat, but I think that’s the wrong question, I think it should be “What have you gained?”
I am already starting to get excited about the 2020 retreat.
The sales page for this will go up in a few weeks, but for the time being, you can join the waiting list by adding your details here
Dates are likely to be the second week in May, 13th-20th, with prices starting at £1799 (extended payment plans available). There are only 10 places available each year so do get yourself on the list ASAP
I’d like to say a massive heartfelt thank you to Elizabeth…you seriously are an angel sent to me, you make this retreat so filled with love and care, and I will forever be grateful for the generosity you have shown me and continue to.
And to Glyniss, you have helped me in ways you will never know. Your natural talents and abilities are endless, and just how open and generous you are to everyone that knows you.
Ladies it was a real honour…all of you.
If you would like to work with me in a life coaching capacity on a more longer-term affordable basis, why not think about joining Living a Bigger Life Community which runs via an app.
It’s less than £15 a month and you get daily access to me and over 100 awesome women who are invested in the Living a Bigger Life philosophy…working on Big Fat Stupid Goals, planning adventures and travel, focussing on health and happiness, being more visible…having better boundaries.
We don’t start investing in ourselves, until we start investing in ourself…so get involved.