The last thing I should have been thinking about while at SPINCon 2018 was the “chaos” shaking around inside a snow globe as I strolled the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida. The sun was beaming, and the brilliance of the blue sky and ocean warmly enveloped me.

But there I was, smiling, thinking of the analogy of the “anxious” snow globe and how “setting it down,”—in this case, taking time away from the meeting to walk barefoot in the sand with the eyes of a child—led to mental clarity and calm.

Along with roughly 22 other participants at the annual Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN) event, held at The Don CeSar in St. Petersburg, I opted not to take a morning educational session indoors. Instead, I stepped outside my comfort zone for a new program fostering the organization’s continued focus on wellness: “Go Outside to Go Inside: Higher Performance Through the Magic of Insight.” The 3.5-hour professional and personal development retreat centered on the power of being clear and present to become more productive, achieve better results and cultivate better relationships.

It was an expansion and facilitation of SPINCon’s opening keynote by Brian O’Malley, an adventurer, author, speaker and photographer who zeroed in on the importance of clarity and looking within to achieve insight—and free oneself from incessant worries and distractions.

SPINCon 2018 Keynote Speaker Brian O'Malley, Credit: Josh Power Photography
SPINCon 2018 Keynote Speaker Brian O'Malley, Credit: Josh Power Photography

Toward the end of his opening keynote, O’Malley shook a snow globe to drive his point home, setting it down as the snowflakes cleared to reveal four perfectly balanced rocks within.

Finding Inspiration by Getting Groups Outdoors

The next morning, O’Malley and Dean Savoca, professional speaker from The Savoca Performance Group, co-facilitated their sold out “Go Outside to Go Inside” program, which started with a brainstorming session examining the feelings that ensue with a chaotic mind versus a peaceful mind.

We then ventured outdoors to begin the work at hand. We used the power of nature to help melt away the anxious thoughts of a busy mind and small breakout sessions to connect with others in the group on a personal level, each revealing what was most important to ourselves.

SPINCon 2018 Brainstorming Session With Dean Savoca and Brian O'Malley, Credit: Josh Power Photography
SPINCon 2018 Brainstorming Session With Dean Savoca and Brian O'Malley, Credit: Josh Power Photography

Ultimately, slowing the mind and learning how to listen deeply and unconditionally helped us discover personal insights, appreciate our differences and find inspiration, not to mention realize that coming from a place of clarity and balance does wonders to improve productivity, creativity and relationships.

“I’ve had the opportunity to go to a lot of conferences as a speaker and presenter,” O’Malley said. “What often happens is they have everyone show up at a beautiful resort, and they’re then confined to a meeting space. They’re jammed with content with a rigid agenda.

[Related Content: 3 Stunning Wellness Resorts in Texas Hill Country]

"People get so revved up, but it’s my experience that they get the greatest returns when they look from a settled mind," he added. “So think of a settled mind when you put your meetings together and give that space for people to reflect."

Mindfulness: The Path to Productivity

Savoca said being centered, present and clear is definitely the path to productivity and fulfillment—both from a personal and team perspective.

“Our work is about delivering results for individuals, teams and organizations—it’s just done in a different way,” Savoca said. “When you’re coming from a place of more clarity and focus and presence, you will get the results. It’s just the opposite of thinking you have to be busy and have all the distractions to accomplish something.”

“Life is not a series of boxes to check off,” he added. “It’s presence, it’s relationships, it’s people. If you want to drive results, there’s a better way.”

In the end, our group—sand between our toes and all—could not have agreed more.

SPINCon 2018
SPINCon 2018 "Go Outside to Go Inside" Session Participants, Credit Josh Power Photography

Sidebar: 3 Other Healthy Teambuilding Options to Consider

Getting groups active and in nature is a great way to improve brain power and stimulate creativity. Here are three properties that put a wellness spin on teambuilding.

Historic Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard, Maryland, partners with Farm.Field.Sea. to offer groups a variety of culinary experiences unique to the island.

Groups can opt for a customized retreat that might include a tour and workshop on foraging or cheesemaking, for example; a wellness or teambuilding activity; and healthy farm-to-table meals created with local, fresh ingredients.

At Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, Arizona, planners can incorporate events such as Iron Chef America-inspired culinary competitions, aura readings and photography workshops to fuel creativity.

More active options such as group hikes, yoga and Pilates are also available.

Additionally, a Corporate Power-Up features a choice of cardio beats/drumming, boot camp, Zumba class or tennis match.

Sanctuary guests can also try out chair exercises and Breathe and Rejuvenate sessions.

Groups meeting at Whiteface Lodge can take full advantage of its setting in Lake Placid, New York, twice host of the Olympic Winter Games. The resort can arrange teambuilding activities such as curling and bobsledding in the same facilities where Olympic athletes have trained and competed, as well as ziplining and mountaineering adventures.

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