Today I want to tell you a story that still makes me cringe when I think of it!

In 1995 Marlyse & I started planning In-Tuition & Purpose, a 2½ day retreat which focussed on helping people get a sense of purpose and direction.

Once we agreed on what we were going to do, Marlyse designed the program, wrote up the notes and I did the marketing.

So far so good.

But boy oh boy, that first retreat was a huge learning experience.

It was quite a circus really – we started on Friday night and after the participants went to bed, Marlyse and I worked until 2:00 am getting logistical things ready. Collating manuals, preparing props etc.

First lesson: Be prepared – don’t leave things to the last minute.

On Saturday morning, even though we were both exhausted, things were sailing along smoothly enough until our room monitor said he had to leave for a few hours. Bummer.

Then Marlyse discovered that our only other assistant – Sarah, our lovely cook – was so behind with meal preparation that lunch wouldn’t be ready for hours. So off Marlyse went to the kitchen!

Second lesson: Be prepared for the unexpected!

So I was left alone with a room full of participants expecting an exciting session led by me. It turned out to be the ultimate baptism of fire!

It sure felt like I had been thrown into the lion’s den and they were hungry! You see, Marlyse had researched and created the notes and I hadn’t even read them.

Oops…

Third lesson learnt: Be professionally prepared!

“WTF do I do now?” I thought. Excuse the language.

The next session was the longest 90 minutes of my life!

I managed to wing it, well sort of… Then two male participants walked off and drove home whilst their respective wives chose to stay. More drama.

Anyway, I did learn these lessons… and more. And by the end of the weekend, those who stayed were very happy indeed.

From then on, things changed big time at INNER PEACE. We became much more organised. Trust me, I wasn’t going to let this happen more than once.

Oh, how I love systems.

And here’s another little story. This time a positive one.

A well-known Melbourne psychiatrist participated in the third retreat. And at the end, he shared ‘What I observed this weekend is the equal to two years of weekly sessions with me’.

Imagine that. So I knew we were on the right track 🙂

We ended up running 49 In-Tuition & Purpose retreats in the years that followed. These made a huge difference for the thousand plus people who attended.

Yet Marlyse and I soon realised that setting a direction is one thing, but getting there is another.

So we created a follow-up 3½ retreat – In-Tuition & Freedom – which was about letting go of beliefs that keep people stuck. But that’s for another post.

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