All Forest, No Trees

Today my two teammates and I planned a retreat, a full day dedicated to long-term visioning for the year ahead. 

This is my favorite kind of thinking. 

We started the day off site at a coffee shop—my favorite place for getting creative. 

With an amaretto latte in hand, things were off to a promising start.

As a big picture, conceptual thinker, I love this chance to step out of the day-to-day and set the details aside. 

It’s an invitation to just ideate, to put ideas on the table. At that high level, we can see patterns, sort ideas into categories. We can make connections that are challenging to see when we’re waist/shoulder/neck deep in the work. 

There are no pesky limitations, like whether or not we have the capacity to DO all of the things. We imagine what is possible, and we discover which ideas bring us energy. 

For my more structural teammates, this is less comfortable territory, since we aren’t checking to-dos off lists. It can harder to measure our productivity. But since we live 80% of our time in their comfort zone, I know they’re willing to invest some quality time in mine. 

Lunch was out at a restaurant because, well, it was one teammate’s birthday, so lunch out was practically a requirement, right? Social connections are important, too.

A big table with a whiteboard on the wall was our location for part two of our retreat. We mapped out what was becoming more clear—puzzle pieces beginning to fall into place.

We’re a new team, and two thirds of the way through the school year, we know we’ve found our groove. 

By end of day, we had accomplished a satisfying amount of thinking. We have time scheduled on our calendars in the weeks ahead to begin fleshing out the details. Because my teammates are planners by nature, we’re at least a month out from any hard deadlines related to today’s big picture thinking. Knowing we have plenty of time to play with kept the day relaxed.

In advance of today, we had joked that “retreat” is just a euphemism for “long-ass meeting.” Luckily, it did feel like a treat to spend a Friday focused on the forest rather than the trees.

Today’s post is part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by the co-authors at Two Writing Teachers Blog. In March, we write a slice of life story every day of the month!


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