How to Create your Retreat with Catherine Kontos

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Do you want your nonprofit to be more unified, have a strong relationship, and understand each other? Retreats are a great way to bond with your team. A retreat is a means to advertise your organization in a way that makes money while also making a difference in the lives of those you deal with.


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Conversation Highlights

{01:40} Catherine’s journey
11:10} How Catherine came to start retreats
15:51} Why people love retreats and the marketing value of retreats
22:20} When your retreat is a train wreck
26:00} What you to know before putting a retreat together
36:52} Team building exercises

Notable Quotes

Retreats are an incredible way to create a bond among your people

After a retreat, you will have a board that is now more cohesive; they will understand each other better.

Retreats will scale your business. They are marketing gold.

Assume you are now earning $100,000 on a retreat for your nonprofit, how much good can you do with that money? How much more can you expand your nonprofit and touch many more people with that money? It's a win-win situation.

Catherine Kontos Bio

Catherine built her retreat business from a blank canvas. Since then, she has explored every aspect of the retreat world and has helped plan for retreats with thousands of guests around the world, providing memorable retreat experiences. After years of coaching retreat leaders, she has decided to pivot her teachings to the digital world with her Retreat Boss brand and podcast. she is also a Speaker and Author of the book Soul Shaker: A Whirlwind Awakening.

Connect with Catherine

Full Transcript

Hey, welcome back. I’m here today with Katherine Kontos, retreat boss. How are you today? 

I’m great. Thank you. How are you? 

I’m fabulous as always. You are calling in from Montreal, way up in Canada. 

Oui, Montreal.  

Montreal for all you southern Montre-Y’all. It’s how we expand this out. We would say in the South. 

That’s fantastic. I that. You can do that for your southern style and have a certain make-up. This is Montreal. Screw that. It would be great marketing.  

Yeah, strategy for, Montreal. The City of Montreal is a place for anybody from the South. 

Yeah, you’re going to have an accent-driven campaign. You see, I must do things up in Montreal. 

Y’all in Montreal? 

Well, that’s a nice plug for my city. 

Catherine’s journey

Perfect Yeah, how can we do that? Can we get more rednecks in our hostel?  Tell us a little bit about who you are and the retreat boss.  

My name is Catherine Kontos. I am an author, speaker, coach, business coach, and entrepreneur. In the past, my goodness, I started my entrepreneurship when I was 23. I’m 49 now. I’m not afraid to say my age. I’m very proud of it. Because nine years ago, I could have lost my life. When I suffered or suffered, yeah, I suffered. I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. I fought that off and continued my intrapreneurship. I started the retreat business right before I had just bought in, and I converted it to a retreat space for addictions, mental illness, and burnouts.

As soon as I opened it, I started losing a lot of weight, then realized what was going on, got diagnosed with cancer, and then my battle shifted to fighting for my life. And while I was doing that, as I wrote in my book as well, which was someone a purpose of mine, was to inform people and maybe inspire people throughout my journey, I ended up getting divorced during my cancer treatments. I had to shut down my business because there was no way it was just launched. 

There was no way that such a big project could be run without me. I did all this between treatments, surgeries, and all that, and while I was losing a lot of stuff, I gained a new business on my laptop. 

In between these treatments, I shifted the retreat space of this building. I had this huge building, and I started just creating a market. A strategy where it was rented out to a large gathering, I don’t know. I hit a special niche at that time that, was quite new. I didn’t even know that it was something that people wanted, but they did. I started reserving. I started hiring my staff. I said I built my website: everything, everything out of my bed. And when I felt better, I would go out and meet my staff member who was in charge. My man, my building manager, whoever, whoever was there. And that grew, and a couple of years later, it ended up winning an award. I got the recognition on the news, and then people started looking out for me to repeat for me to do what I did for myself. My competitors, let’s say, started hiring me to do what I did. I duplicated my success with them, and that’s how it began. 

Do you think that’s true? My podcast journeys. I was deployed. When someone convinced me, I should start a podcast. 

You did it. 

Yeah, it was never my goal or my direction. Oh yeah, I should do this fell into it. 

Yeah, because I was all right before that I bought it as real estate as well, right? Because I had always bought real estate, I would flip it. I kept them for a few years, did what I needed to do with them, and solved them. Keep some right, and this was one of the things I wanted to buy into and do what I wanted with it, and it all meshed in with everything else I was doing, which was psychology as well as, I was a psychotherapist. For the people that were coming in, I had a beautiful space. I love helping people. All that kind of thing into my marketing. All my hats went on that one, and I enjoyed it. I said, kind of literally fell in my lap on a laptop.

Under your laptop, yeah. 

On my laptop.  

I don’t know if I missed this before, but did I do it? I know that you were a cancer survivor; I don’t think I knew that.  

Not sure; I don’t always talk about it. I do have a book I said that I wrote about my journey and your book, Soul Shaker, a worldwide awakening.  

What’s the name of the bug?  

I released it a few years later when I was just trying to get my life back. Because there were a lot of losses all at once, I knew that when I was going through this, I needed to start speaking about it and helping others. That’s why I wrote the book. It was very vulnerable and put me in a vulnerable position to write that book. It is exposed. I wrote everything about myself at the time, and it was a difficult book to write because I had to revisit everything. Cancer survivors and veterans do suffer from it. Mostly about recurrence and, stuff like that. The severity varies between people, but it was hard when I was writing the book. I had to stop a few times because I was traumatized while writing it.

Yeah, and I will. I had to stop because it was all stale. I’d repressed; I’d forgotten. You never know when the floodgates will open. And I’d be like, I don’t. But I never quit. I never quit. It took me about A year ago 1 and 1/2 minutes to write with a few months’ break twice. It happened to me that I had to stop for a few months to recover. And then I was able to write it. 

Yeah, yeah, that’s great. My mom just finished her book called My Sanity Quest. She’s suffered from bipolar disorder with hallucinations and a few other things, and it took her an enormously long time to read. It should come with a trigger warning on the front because as soon as you just Dive right in. Do you? Do you dive right into your trauma, or do you just ease this in a little bit?

I just start I dive right into it. I believe the 1st three chapters are the most difficult to read. 

Because I just started talking about my story. But people know when they pick it up what it’s about.  

Yeah, that’s fair. 

But it’s not all sad. A lot of great things. It was what it was. Yes, I do not want to have suffered that, but I got a huge gift from that time. I’m not the same person. It was ten years ago. I’m a purpose-driven person. That journey created a different perspective that not many people have. Unless you’ve been through something like that, everything I do, my values in life, everything. 

There’s a reason why the people I have around me are around me. There’s a reason why I wake up every morning and what I do during my day. The retreat space, the way I’ve turned it around, is because I wanted to give it to somebody else to flap with every wing that I flopped that bit of air. As well as creating a butterfly effect of transformation. That’s why now I’m teaching. My knowledge and expertise through my online courses on Retreat Boss where they can create transformational retreats, corporate retreats, whatever it is, and make that little change in every person that goes to these retreats that I think instead of hosting a retreat, which I guess it’s tremendous. Why not teach more people to do it and spread that wealth of knowledge and transformation worldwide? 

Absolute. Retreats are something I strongly believe in. Getting back from a week-long retreat that I did at a ranch in Texas run by Fletcher Cox. Amazing event. The whole week was just phenomenal. The number of lessons that we did during the week and then we did karaoke, and we had live music. That’s fine. 

The experience occurs when grown people play flag football. They forget some things like they’re not as young as they used to be. I’m raising my hand on that one, I’m not as young as I was. I got beat up. The earth is a lot harder than I remember. It got knocked down a couple of times, and I won’t blame Fletcher Cox directly. No, we were out playing in the pasture, and it was clean, but there were still some big rocks out there, and I’ve got a gash on my back. No, look, someone shot me with a shotgun on my leg. And yes, this is me, bellyaching and crying, and I’m OK with it. I had ice cream. I’m better now, but I would be. 

Like, please sign this form. I’m not responsible if you choose to participate in this flag football team.

How Catherine came to start retreats

Definitely, yeah. We had to sign some waivers, but I’m OK with that. Tell us about one of the retreats that you helped create. That was just in a just an amazing location. 

There are so many beautiful locations worldwide that it’s hard to choose. It’s hard to choose because they’re chosen specifically for the purpose. An example would be a culinary retreat in Tuscany, right where you have the farm. And you could choose your vegetables, directly from the plant. And you have a chef. And you have wine. He pairs you with that food and teaches you how to cook with this fresh food you choose. Right, right off the farm. Or even a market doesn’t matter. And then the experience is much more enhanced than before. I don’t know. You go somewhere in the city, in New York, for New York, beautiful. It has its purpose, but a culinary retreat in New York does not have the same ring. Like something like that, right?

It’s just beyond beautiful and the experience is fantastic, and you could pair that, and it has been paired up with wellness included because you’re eating fresh food.  You have a chef in place, and then you could all have a transformational experience with it. That’s with you. Including wellness nutrition, whatever to teach people. Maybe it could be a place for people looking to change their lifestyle. Food is an amazing experience. It makes a difference versus, I said, a New York culinary retreat. Or if you go to Tulum for any type of psychedelic retreat. If people are into that.

Where is Tulum? 

Tulum is near Cancun, Mexico. 


It is very trendy. It’s the New York of Mexico. Fashionable It’s known for its retreats. OK, you have a lot of people, sort of just a lot of Americans there. I was there a few months ago, and it was filled with foreigners. And you have the Mexican police trying to catch him to kick them out. Isn’t that funny? Trying to kick out the Americans and Canadians. We don’t want you in Mexico. 

The way we behave, I can’t blame. Him yeah. 

It would be funny because I’d be visiting retreats. The people that were, I’m hosting you.

Guessing or guiding me through all these spaces? I could hear them talking to the rest of the foreigners, saying, hey, the police are at the beach today. They’re asking for papers, I think. 

Quite funny too. See the reverse side of it. This doesn’t make sense, but anyway, they’re known for a lot of their retreats there. It depends on this space, and I want to define something because people mismatch, or they use retreats and vacations. It’s kind of the same way, depending on which part of the world you are in and how you define it. 

In my space, a retreat. It is a gathering of people during an intensive few day where they immerse you in a program with a specific goal in mind for the group. OK, it’s not the same thing as a group vacation, a group vacation. You’re just probably picking up a destination. You’re all going together, having fun, and doing whatever you feel like doing, but a retreat is just a facilitator guiding you to create that transformation.

I got you, thanks. 

Right in the case of people and as far as your nonprofit, because we are speaking to nonprofit people here or businesses, it’s an incredible way to create a bond among your people. One of the retreats that I do that is fully funded is a retreat for breast cancer survivors. It’s something that they go to for free. They need it. They need it, and it creates a huge impact, and after feeling, they’re not alone because a lot of the time, you feel alone in this space. It does create a huge difference in their lives and impacts anybody who wants to do any type of charity work. What is it? 

Why people love retreats and the marketing value of retreats

What are the reasons that people want to put together a retreat? And then what are some reasons people would say yes to going on a retreat? 

Oh, my goodness, it is the fastest-growing mode of travel because of what we’ve been through in the past couple of years. People have had to go inwards, and there’s a lot of stuff going on in the US, and they’ve been restricted from travel. Imagine being able to go to a reach. It could be a company, business coaching, or a retreat. It could be a life coaching retreat. 

You should go on that retreat if you like their program, who they are, and what they do. You will get so much value in just a few days that if they know how to plan a retreat properly, you will come out of there and, you will know what just happened.

I’m not the same person, and that’s what I do when I host retreats within two days. I think my goal is to have a switch that goes on in your brain when you go, and you see a physical change in the person, and they’re not the same. If you could do that, that’s amazing. That’s one of the reasons why you do them. Also, for corporate retreats, it’s all for, solidifying the company culture, getting the teams to connect better, and making sure your vision is all the same. Throughout the whole company, it’s to meet people because when you’re in the presidency or whatever you are, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on. With your staff, you can’t possibly, know, and you start getting information that you didn’t know before, and it makes a huge difference in your company and, my goodness, to scale your business. It is marketing gold.

Do you mean by a marketing goal? 

You have, let’s say. You have a seven-day retreat. First, people must value who you are and what you do because they’re paying money and time to spend time with you, which is more valuable to me than money. They’re spending seven days of money because they can’t get back to you. OK, they already have them. Which marketing technique or whatever can you get? 

People are with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yeah, send 168 hours of that. It doesn’t cost you a thing. OK, they’re paying to come to your retreat for you to be able to even market to them. Your products and services are there while they’re there because you have them. You have them. They can’t get away, and they’ve signed up and signed a release that says they’re not going to run away from you, you, and you’re not holding them against your will. If you want testimonials, guess what? That’s the best place to get them. You have them live. You could set up a video and usually retreat people are super happy they’re there because they’ve disconnected from the rest of the world. They’ll be glad to sit down if you’re giving them value. Make a video of whatever they want to endorse you for. They’re all-over social media. Weren’t you on it? Social media last week said, “oh, check me.” I’m at this retreat, right? 

That may or may not be true. You may be able to go check out my social media and see all the great times I was having at the ranch. Yeah, nothing, nothing but great reviews. 

Yeah, you can upsell if you have a webinar coming up. If you have a book or any products, you want to? Get them to sign up for the next retreat. They’re there. They’re happy to be there. They’re having a fantastic time. You’re not forcing it on them. Do not make it into a sale. Thing, but they know what you’re offering. This is while you’re at the retreat. They’re more likely to buy it. Spot plus you. He’s leaving, and I want to go. Let’s go together, or let’s do this together. It’s a great way to scale your business. With ten people, you could be making five figures with every retreat. You’re just saying you could early make six figures with a retreat. I don’t see why not. Every business is doing it. This is because, like Guys, look at what you can do. 

When I look at retreats for the nonprofit setting, I’ve seen him go a few different ways. I’ve seen one just for the board, all the board members, the board directors go on in retreat, and they usually bring in a consultant or two or three to talk about different things in different phases and provide different training. And you get that board that is now more cohesive. 

They understand each other better. They build that solid relationship with you. I just really can’t build with them. The day-to-day boss will go and hustle and bustle while you have their captivated audience. You get them to build these relationships, and they’re learning directly from experts to help make the organization better.

I’ve seen ones where they do retreats for the volunteers and where they do it for the whole staff. They do it for the staff and the board. There are different ways to put this together to package this for you, your business, your nonprofit, or whatever it is you’re looking to do. To create the desired outcome, when you have that captivated audience, and they’re happy and relaxed, you can get almost anything accomplished that you need to be done. 

Creativity is incredibly high, and in return, productivity is very high because they’re super appreciative in return. They’re relaxed now. They got their creative juices going during the retreat. They’re now going to execute everything, and the team feels a lot closer. You asked whether it was the board of directors or just one couple that met another group that is probably working internationally, especially now with a tun of companies are going remotely. 

This is a great way to connect everybody again, and everybody is on the same track. Let’s say they were a little spread out. You can’t be as productive when you put them all on the same road that you want them to be on. 

Assume you are now earning $100,000 on a retreat for your nonprofit, how much good can you do with that money? How much more can you expand your nonprofit and touch many more people with that money? It’s a win-win situation. I’ve never heard of anything negative about retreats like this. Unless you go to one who doesn’t know what he’s doing, and that’s where I come in, and my business comes in where I can teach with the online courses on how to create an epic retreat. Or you hire someone.

When your retreat is a train wreck

A planner can do this for you. There’s nothing negative about it. Unless you don’t know what, you’re doing, you are responsible for what I don’t know. 1020, 35 hundred people, whatever it is.

Yeah, absolutely. 

That’s a lot of personalities. 

It can be, and if you were on a retreat with me, those people who shall not be named know that I bring a ton of personality to those events. 

You don’t need to tell me that I already. Know I heard. You already hired. 

We’re going to get to word gets around, word gets around about Travis. The Saint. Tell me about an experience you were a part of that was just a complete trainwreck. Tell me what happened, where were you? What was it about? Whenever didn’t those things go well? 

This was funny and thank God it ended up funny because it could have gone the other way. We’re up north here in Montreal, in the mountains in the Laurentians at my venue, and I’m hosting that fully funded retreat that I told you about for breast cancer survivors.

We had some people that came, some facilitators, and they did what they needed to do during the day. And it had snowed 3 feet of snow that day. It was quite a large snowstorm. It’s time for them to leave, and suddenly they’re stuck. They aren’t moving and where is my venue? On a cliff! You have your parking lot. And then a cliff. I’m like, “Oh. My God”, suddenly, all the other girls came to help them. You could see 10 breast cancer survivors. They’re all teaming up and they’re pushing the guard, and I’m going. “Oh my God!”

I am sending a party. Send that one-off. The benefits of the retreat. Is that not one of the benefits of the retreat? 

I’ll start talking to you. This is part of team building. And, well, here are a few that obviously can’t because of physical issues we had, and I’m one of them. I can’t help because I have a bad arm where I can’t lift anything heavy. We’re indoors looking at them, and I’m just recording everybody. Everybody is just rooting for them. 

They got that car moving. She was gone and we didn’t have to call a tow truck or anything like that. They came in. They’re all pumped and excited. And then we just started dancing. But I’m glad nobody got hurt.

This is a bad experience. A bad experience is high-end teamwork and ends in dancing. That’s a bad experience. 

If you’re good or good at what you do, how to twist things around and make sure. It becomes a positive thing, so. Thankfully, nobody got hurt, and they got on their way, and we were assured to keep in touch with him because the roads were bad. 

But everybody came out of it proudly. And it was a great team-building exercise that was unexpected. That’s what’s great about retreats: we’re dynamic. Stuff happens not only with personalities; you might have people that don’t get along. Right, that could happen. That could happen. Many things could happen, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing.

What you to know before putting a retreat together

If someone out there is listening and they want to put a retreat together, what are the things they need to do or consider putting together their retreat?  

There are a lot of things you must look at. It depends. First, you’ve got to have a dream. It’s got to be something you’re passionate about and right for you to invest time and money in. Hopefully, you’re enthusiastic about it and have a program you’d like to deliver. That’s the first thing. 

The second thing is that you’ve got to clarify who your niche is. OK, to be able to market them. You’ve got to do your market research and see what they would jump on when making a retreat. OK, what program would it be? What would they be willing to pay for? How much are they willing to spend? What destination would they choose? There are a lot of questions, and there are exercises that people buy that make people go through them to get to the answers. Once you’ve defined your mission, vision, and values, which is pretty much basic business practice when you’re launching any type of provider act, service, or even you’ve clarified that, then what you’ve got to do is just figure it out. Now that I know my niche, I know what they love. I know what I want to do. I know what the goal of this retreat is. 

How can I improve it with every decision I make, and when I say decide on every choice? What types of activities are available at each destination when looking at destination activities? How will that enhance their experience? Are they going to be doing stuff They don’t even know that you’ve put in place purposely to create? The impact that you want isle micro behaviors that they’re not even aware of. Which could be as simple as the food choice you made or an activity that was placed at a certain time or rolled out at a certain time during your events that were specifically there to create something. 

Maybe for your next thing that you were going to do right. It’s all about the rollout. It’s all about your choices, everything. And, you must have a good plan for your marketing. You must have a good timeline for your marketing. You must have contracts with your suppliers, and even with your guests. And all this stuff. If it’s an international retreat you’re looking at. 

Depending on if you already have people like meaning, followers, or whatever, for 12 months. Because people need to plan their retreat, especially if they’re going international, they need to. Plan their money, plan their time, and plan their lives—family if it is local. At Retreat, I wouldn’t do it. And if you have your group already, I will say about three months. But if you don’t Have a group. Of the people following you, I would say six months to gather your group at least, maybe even a little more.

What changes if you’re doing it within your own company or nonprofit.  The timeline is a little different. 

If it’s international again, people still need to plan their time. OK, if it’s already paid for and whatever, you don’t need 12 months, that’s for sure. If it’s a plate-paid retreat, you just must figure out your family. It could be quite quick. But availability becomes scarce then. 

Depending on where you want to go, if it’s a popular destination during a high season, you can’t do it three months before because I’m not going to find the venue that you’re looking for is going to be very expensive. Your company, but if you plan, it’s less expensive. You could always pick your season. When you want to do it, it’s not expensive for your company to do it. You don’t go during the high season in Europe, the summer months. Maybe do it late. It’s still very warm for early October. The tourists are gone, and you can negotiate with the suppliers, your venues, and everything because they’re not fully booked off. The season isn’t as great because there’s a reason. 

Why it’s off-season, either? The weather isn’t great for typhoons. I don’t know whatever it is. If you don’t care about what’s happening outside and it’s going to be a very indoor retreat, then fine, do it. But if you want to do some outdoor activities and its off-season, you’ll get a reasonable price. 

It’s interesting what you talk about. That is so. Our organization made retreats in the fall, and they did one in late spring. The one they did in the fall was in Vegas, where many people go to Vegas and do conferences and different things, and then in the spring when they did it at the ranch. And the biggest significant thing I heard was from people that went to both, the first is about farming. You can get away from people, but essentially, you’re together. Right and then, in Vegas, everyone has a separate room. Everyone is away from each other. This is not a common area. After the event for the day is over everyone kind of disperses. If you’re looking to have a team-building event and trying to build those relationships and those connections, I would have to think that somewhere a ranch. 

You’re not leaving each other to go but see what’s going on this trip today. If you get tickets for show or want to sit at the poker table for fun, for five hours, something at a ranch where you’re together, and you have common areas to hang out with seems to be the better option. That’s your experience. 

What you described in Vegas is not a retreat for me.  I don’t know what the goal was, but it’s more of a corporate, maybe a conference. 

Or a seminar? 

Yeah, something like that. It’s more than that, right? The spring one that you said at the ranch. 

Yes, a retreat must be held. There must be a shared space. If you’re doing it at a resort, that’s fine, but if you have your section, it depends if it’s a resort, it must be sometimes because it’s 100 people. It’s ten people finding a venue and being completely isolated. You must be under a standard roof. Or at least it’s a shared space. 

Let’s say There are little cottages but in the same section. And everybody gathers in one shared space. That’s the only way you’re going to build relationships. If you’re too busy, going to whatever, you’re doing shows is just a vacation. I don’t consider that a retreat, even if you’re in that space.

For example, creating a retreat at a ranch means you’re all under a common roof, and the activities are limited to whatever is there. Maybe you could do something outside, that’s fine. But the program is overloaded with activities, and you’re exhausted. I don’t consider that a retreat. You need to have the time to process in between whatever activity you’re doing. There should be some time when you can just not only process in your mind. But your body too. 

What’s going on? What’s happening? It depends obviously on the purpose of the retreat, but there. It needs to be. It can’t be overloaded because when people are exhausted, their brains are not working correctly, and they’re physically not there. You could get a lot more impact with less. In a retreat, it’s not about quantity. At a conference you’re going to go to, there’s one speaker. There’s another speaker. There’s another speaker. 

There’s another speed. How much are you retained by the end of the day? 10%. Maybe. You’re exhausted.

You’re catching the 1st 20 minutes in the last 20 minutes between breaks. 

That’s the retreat. Less is better. It’s about quality versus quantity. If you’re doing something like, OK, I’m it’s. It’s common. It’s a retreat where they’re learning something. There should be a strategic way of creating that learning where, yeah, they’ve just spent maybe an hour. as well as a half. Taught something. Then in the next hour and a half, for example, there should be I’m just giving an example of meditation. 

Right? To walk away from what? You’ve been taught right now just so you could process it. And then you come back to it. You’re fresh now. I don’t know what you did now, but you could start again with another hour and a half of chatting and teaching and learning new strategies. It’s really about quality, trying to figure out how you could get that information in less time. And allowing people to process it or do exercises or whatever it is that’ll solidify what they just learned.

I don’t know about you, but when I was in class. I went out, of course, where there was only the instructor talking. Blah blah blah. For 3 hours, my eyes were crossed. I tuned out a long time ago, but I was just daydreaming about my trip to Florida. I don’t know what or my boyfriend at the time, I just completely tuned up. And then it would be like, it did nothing for me. I didn’t learn anything. People who zoned out were human, yeah.

Because you weren’t engaged.  

No, you must be engaged, and even after, even if you’re engaged, that’s tiring, right? We have energy that we like to give and take. I’m the type of person that, after an event, I’ve given many of my people a lot of energy. Take the energy that I give. During an event, deals are going on, I’m talking about chatting and laughing, and then I leave, and I think, That’s my brain, it’s crashing. 

I need that time just to decompress. I’m sure I’m not alone.  Even if you’re not. I’m a high-energy person. The energy that you are giving, you are giving to people. You need to refresh yourself. You need to get that back. It is about how you deliver your program, and you must keep that in mind. Don’t overbook your stuff during the day. 

Team building exercises

Yeah, it’s very interesting. What do you think about team-building exercises? You don’t him team-building exercises. 

Oh, absolutely, if you. If, some of them are kind of lame. 

What is your time? What is your favorite team-building exercise you’ve seen at an event? 

It depends again on your goal and your mission for your retreat. 

OK, there’s, when we think of team building, we think of corporations going on retreats and doing team building. But team building can be the same for me when you’re going to a wellness retreat where you’re trying to do team building, create bonds, create connections, and create something profound. Just an icebreaker, that kind of thing. 

Team building can be worded very differently depending on what you’re doing and what you must have – especially on day one – must be some type of activity or icebreaker where you get people to work together. They get to know each other quickly and release all their tension because they’re nervous. They’re coming in; they’re like, they don’t know most people, usually OK, and even if they do, they don’t know them at that level. What are you going to do the moment they come in? That will ease them and remove the vulnerability they feel coming into this place with these people. 

You’re doing that 100% throughout the entire weekend, always creating that connection, that connection, creating it creates trust. I’m sure after the last retreat; you came out of there feeling connected to all these people that you were. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. You got to know them in ways that you never thought of or knew about. 

I don’t know what activities were included in teambuilding, but even if this is what happens, I imagine you just keep on enhancing that with these little things. Activities where they’re either profoundly sharing something that is very deep and meaningful or if it’s just an activity where they’re just working together, they team up with different people, different personalities, and end up being friends that you never thought you’d be friends with. A person of that personality that’s different than yours that’s a successful team-building strategy to have. And I said, “It doesn’t have to be this big.” OK, we’re doing a team-building event. No, it just does it.

Give us an example of a team-building event that you’ve seen. 

If it’s more of a transformation type of thing, one of the ones. 

There’s a fire ceremony for you. A retreat should always begin before the retreat begins. The physical retreat should end after the retreat. There should always be a follow-up, one of the things you could do again for transformational retreats. You want to create an impact. You want to eliminate the vulnerabilities. Get people to be true and authentically themselves. That’s the point. 

Is it possible for you to tell him, OK, write something down? It causes you pain. OK, a trauma, or maybe it could be an item, like a pencil, that somebody gave you and, you look at it and, it just triggers you.   you want to write, or it could be a story that keeps going on in your head or a vision that hurts you. They write it. Maybe they keep a journal for it. A little bit or whatever, and then they come to the retreat. And you tell them that, and they know that this is something that they can share with other people, and they will share their journal or that moment or that pen that they hate so much because their business partner gave it to them, and they ended up getting screwed over by this partner, and every time they look at it, they just hate it. It just triggers them. 

OK, that’s an example. And you open with a fire, a campfire, or a fireplace, whatever it is. And they share what happened to them. And I’ll tell you; it’s not easy because you’re literally in a room of strangers. And even if you’re not in a room of strangers, you’re still sharing. Something very painful to me. And then you go to the fire, and you let it go. You burn it. And that is your day—one of your transformations. And the first day begins on the First Day of the retreat.

Yeah, I’ve seen some things similar to this. I’ve seen it with a board-breaking ceremony. They rate the things in your way, and then you make sure you write them in the correct orientation on the board, and when you break through that, the break goes through the middle of each of those words I’ve seen. I mean things with an arrow, people who put an arrow in their neck and break through the thing, causing them pain. They’re three feet from their goal, and they’re trying to get to that, and the only thing stopping them is their mindset because you can break the arrow. It’s very interesting to see the different ways people think. I am thinking of Tony Robbins Just walking on hot coals. 

Yeah, but he does that. He does that at the end of his seminars. I’ll tell you why. 

OK, there are a few reasons. There are psychological reasons for what he does. Yes, it’s a thing that if you do, wow, I just did that, right? When you feel great about yourself and whatever’s happening around you, it’s when you have a lot of emotions and excitement happening. So, aside from the fire ceremony, what other examples do you have? Let’s say you want to date somebody, and you want them to connect with you. The best thing to do is to put them through something truly terrifying. I don’t know about bungee jumping or Whitewater rafting, or I don’t know anything that will create that fear and excitement and whatever. When you can entice those types of emotions, especially at the end of an event, that is when you should do it.

It forges in their minds how incredibly exciting and enhanced it is. They just leave, pumped and excited about what just happened. Even if they weren’t that excited about it before, it tricks your mind into thinking this was because it was at the end. This was the most exciting event I’ve ever been to. It’s phenomenal. 

He uses strategies during his seminars. His speeches tell you to do that. Know all the rules. Dancing and all that is OK. It helps oxygen flow to your brain for a very long time. It creates that break in the brakes that I was talking about. That’s what he does. He creates those brakes. Because there are many speakers during that time, and you’re creating movement in the body, you’re screaming, laughing, dancing, and high-fiving people around you. There’s a reason for that. Again, it’s to trick the mind into thinking this was the most incredible thing because you’re feeding your dopamine hormone in your brain, which is the pleasure part of your brain. 

And it doesn’t know the difference between winning the lottery and what’s happening to your body? There’s a lot of excitement happening in your body right now. And say, “Yeah, I love this.”

Let’s do it again. When people leave, his seminars are the best. I’m going to buy it again. I’m already at the next event. That’s what you want. To do at your retreat. You want people to buy your event the minute it’s not even finished.   you want them to buy into it. 

Your next retreat These tricks people use. Know about and include them. 

I don’t know if I would say tricks, but I know how the mind works, and I know that we relate things, and we are a tour storage bank of ours. Memories are the things that are easy and most vividly recalled or something that’s tied to an emotion. If you’re just studying for an exam and not getting yourself into an emotional state, it’s hard to put those files in your head into a place where they’re going to be recalled. They’re going to fall on the warehouse floor largely, and you’re not going to be able to find them. 

When you need it, you must tie this experience to emotion to recall it and incorporate it into your life If he’s not creating those emotions. What are you going to remember? Consider the last time you attended training, a conference, or a retreat for those listening to this. The last time you did anything, and you’re going to have a hard time remembering something that’s not attached to an emotion, you could hear ten speakers that day, and you’re not going to remember anything unless they figure out a way. Attaching it to feeling that it gets stored in the correct folder will allow you to recall that, and people ask you when they meet connection, “You were engaged.” “What are you like?” Why are you this way? Is there something behind it?

I said yes. I want to file a positive entry. The colors in your mind are related to me. I want you to immediately light up with this energy, that you immediately remember how wonderful it is to be in my presence, not because I’m any kind of amazing person, but because I want to be associated with those positive emotions, those positive feelings. When my name pops up on your phone, your trash. I can’t wait. If I want to talk to him forever and you hit Become because you attached me to positive experiences in your life, and that’s what I’m going for There are too many people. They’re out there that try to create negative folders every time you talk to them.

There’s something else wrong with the country; the economy, the weather, the presidency, or whatever you saw on the news. And all those things are attached to negative emotions. When you see them, they’re filing negative folders on you. When their name pops up on your Phone, phoneline, “ah.” It’s a heavy folder. Yeah, you don’t know if you want to talk to that person, right? And I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to. Be the guy that when you make the phone call, it pops up, and you’re like Do I want to talk to Travis? You were, oh man; I can’t believe I have. Something I’m in the middle of a meeting with. Hey Travis, I would love to talk to you later. Let me call you back here in a couple of hours. I’m just in a meeting right now. I’ll call you. That’s. That’s the kind of experience that I want people to have when they associate with me.

And, not many times do we qualify certain emotions as unfavorable, but sometimes a negative emotion can be a positive one. If someone has not cried in three years and comes to your treatment, they will finally open and start crying. It’s amazing that they just literally released everything that was going on there, and they trusted and became vulnerable. If you’re speaking and you trigger people to just tear up. That could be a very positive emotion because they’ve just realized something. It gave them that moment of awareness about themselves or a situation, whatever, and it gave them that, Oh my. God, she’s right, or he’s right.

Some negative emotions are good, right? You need to trigger emotions during a retreat during a speech. Whether it’s inspiration or entertainment because you’re making them laugh, or it’s a touch of a sad moment that triggered something inside them. And you said, “It attaches.” It adheres to whatever it solidifies, strengthening whatever message you were attempting to convey. You’ve got to know your goal before you head into that. head onto that stage or into that retreat or whatever you do. Even when you’re teaching, you’ve got to teach in a way that how am I going to? Make them understand. 

I just created it. I’m a speaker for what will be shown in the next few days. An expert speaker on retreats asked me how I could make it transformational. What’s the best strategy for creating transformation in your space? And unfortunately, I can’t be there live, so I pre-recorded my talk. And what I did was a lot of storytelling. And to get them into the mood of that story, I placed videos and visions with my voice. One minute you’re seeing me, and then when I’m talking, I’m teaching something. And then when the story comes up, you no longer see me; you see a video. of what I’m talking about. And I know that by doing that, first, it keeps them interested. They’re not just seeing my face for an hour or whatever. 

I could be interested in yours. Face for an hour; I don’t know. 

But they’re seeing the actual story being played out and imagining it and making it go. If I make them breathe before that happens, they could reset. Let’s reset. You’ve just been thoughtless. We said, “I’m bringing you on a journey.” And I create this journey in their minds. There’s always a technique for getting people to understand and leave without understanding, and it stays with them. This is always the purpose if you’re a teacher, a coach, a retreat expert, whatever you are, a seminar, whatever it is. How do I get my message across? They don’t go back to work on Monday, and they forget about it. That is the goal. You want that message to stay with them for as long as possible. If you’re really good for life.

Yeah, that’s what it’s about, right? For all these things that we do in our lives and for a long time, I wanted to. My goal is to be the first phone call when something happens, good or bad. 

I invested a lot in the people in my circles. A large portion of it was spent in the military, which demonstrated my concern for people. And I’ve had people call me and tell me about her promotion before they’ve even called her. I’ve had people call me and tell me that I know that they’re going to have a baby before they let their husbands know. I’ve had people call me, and I almost feel a little selfish because I’m getting this information.

What do you think? Mean you didn’t call me before your wife? 

But it is interesting because when these things happen, a guy called me and had already come to my room until we were deployed. He came to my room, and he told me before he called his wife, he had gotten promoted, and I knew it was going to happen. The commanding officer called me ahead of time and said, “Hey, what’s this guy’s number?” Oh, I know what’s going on, and they’ve called to notify him in two minutes. Later, there’s a knock at my door, and they’re just shaking, they just can’t believe what happened, and he told me that he got meritoriously promoted just to bump to the next. 

To find out before his wife, that happens leading up to the cultivation, that you just can’t beat that. You can’t beat that feeling. You can’t beat that connection. But there’s nothing you can do. I don’t know why I was going. With this, I just wanted to tell that story. 

It’s a gift that’s a huge gift that somebody gives to you. Sharing a moment in their time, the trust that comes with that, right? It’s a gift. Again, if we’re talking about that because we’re talking about impacting people when people are doing that with you, it’s because you’ve impacted them in a way that you’ve solidified that folder with them in their mind. 

You’re probably the kid who gets the puppy and immediately starts screaming and jumping. ? You’re probably very right. This is what I see. You’re probably someone who shows their emotions versus saying, “Oh, that’s nice.” Thank you, right? And jumping, whatever you do, you probably really just bring out all your emotions, and that’s fun for people to see and experience together, especially when they’re giving you good news. It’s better than just our congratulations on your new child, on your new home!

Oh absolutely. 

I don’t know. What do you do? I’ll share my good news. One day with you and I’ll. See how you react, but I’m sure it’s epic. 

I have got to celebrate with people. Many people are out there; then we tell them the good news. They say congratulations through their teeth, and then they’re immediately jealous. 

Or they are like, why didn’t it happen to me? Or are there any bad things attached to someone else’s victory? And like, why on Earth is this a thing? Why do I have to figure out who I’m going to call in mine? phone to celebrate with. It’s not going to try to make me feel bad for something good happening. Look, if you’re listening to this right now, there is a lot of terrible garbage that happens to people. All-day, every day, and if someone wants to celebrate something with you, go bananas. Jump up and down, grab them, hold them, scream victory, please.

Dear God, can we be people that celebrate with each other instead of immediately wondering? Why don’t you have the thing? You’re pretending there’s not enough to go around. There is more than enough to go around; please, dear God, celebrate with your tribe, family, friends, and however you come into contact. If you feel bad about it, that’s on you. That’s not on them, please. exactly right. Dear God, celebrate with people. 

Yeah, and unfortunately, jealousy is a kind of disease. It doesn’t go away. It’s something that’s instilled in the person, and it’s not something that anybody can change. But then, it’s very difficult to change. The only thing you can do as a person who has this great news is telling the people that will celebrate with you, and if they happen to find out while there because they’re in the room or whatever, they just see that jealousy in their eyes and on their faces. That’s OK. It’s not your problem. They just keep celebrating because that’s their issue, not yours. And you’re not going to make it yours. You’re going to continue being happy and celebrating your great news. That’s how I see it, and to be honest with you, I’ve had people in my life. Not anymore. 

They are still there, but I don’t know. They’re not mine. Go to people when I’m celebrating; they see it on social media. That’s OK. 

It is OK. We’ve talked about a lot of stuff today, Catherine. We talked about it. Breast cancer is how you set up your first kind of retreat for breast cancer survivors. We’ve talked about all the different ways to say about the receipt, all the different steps that things you need to consider, whether you’re doing it for yourself as a business or whether you’re doing it within your business or your nonprofit. We’ve talked about venues, and we’ve talked about emotional states and team building and all this wonderful stuff. But you all had something you wanted to talk about for your upcoming master class. 

Yes, I have a master’s class that’s not going to be free, and there’s a reason for that. I’m going to charge a minimal fee of $10, and part of that $10 will go to fund these breast cancer survivor retreats. If you’re ever looking to start a retreat, create one plan, one profit from one, whatever it is. This master class is the one to be in because I will be giving part of my course for $10 to teach you how to profit from a retreat. How to price your retreat The legal implications of a retreat How to market your retreat

There’s going to be a lot of great information given out to you for almost free. It will be happening this summer in July; if you want to look up to it, look out for it. Sorry, you can just subscribe to my newsletter, and you’ll be the first one to get it. I’m giving a lot of freebies. One person is going to get a free course out of it, which has a value of over $1,200.

Just sign up for the newsletter, and as soon as we have the news out, the dates, and all of that, sign up for it and have your chance to get a lot of nice little freebies out. 

That master class, where can people sign up? just signs up with the newsletter at the bottom where it says join our team. 

Hey, thanks much for being our guest today. Catherine, it was. A pleasure

Thank you. I loved speaking with you. You do have great energy, and I just I’m going to have a full day of just this positive energy that you just pumped into this space into my space.  Thank you. 

Hey, my pleasure. If what you’ve heard today and want to figure out how can I do my podcast? Go to There is an ultimate and complete podcast guide of everything we do and how we do it. We don’t hold anything back. We will walk you through how to do this step by step if you need my personal. Help to do it. We’ve got a course approved at Forbes Business School of Technology. You don’t have to be enrolled to take it, but you can take it. You can get college credit and transfer it to the college you’re already attending. 

Thank you much today.  

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