Throughout history, all great men have understood the importance of conscious men’s retreats.
Whether it was Theodore Roosevelt eschewing his political duties to go on big game safaris or Ernest Hemingway backpacking across foreign countries with his closest friends – the greatest men all understood the importance of breaking free from their routine to push their physical limits, connecting with other men, and recharging from the onslaught of daily life.
If you’ve been feeling an infectious sense of dissatisfaction and boredom in your day to day, a men’s retreat could be the missing ingredient to help you get back to the passion, vigor, and energy you crave.
In this article, I’m going to explore the seven major benefits of a men’s retreat as well as their biggest drawback (and how to solve it)
1. Retreats Give You the Time to Step Back From Everyday Life
Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. To give us ample leisure and the ability to pursue our deepest passions without stress or overwhelm.
Yet the opposite seems true in our modern societies.
Men are more stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted than ever before.
Burnout has risen to epidemic highs, and with ever-increasing demands for our time and attention, few men have the mental or spiritual bandwidth to step back and reflect on the trajectory of their lives.
As a result, many of us stay trapped in jobs, relationships, and situations that don’t serve our goals or desires. We barely have the time to clear our inbox and take our partner out for a date night – let alone analyze our decisions or craft a more inspiring vision for our futures.
By signing up for a men’s retreat, we give ourselves the opportunity for some much-needed disconnection from daily life so that we can reconnect to ourselves.
We’re able to relax and connect with other men, free from the responsibilities of work, family, and daily life.
Not only does this give us a much-needed break for our mental health, but it allows us to tap into our inner selves and take an honest look at where we are in our lives.
We’re given the opportunity to examine our lives objectively and look at what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to change.
As the old saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”
Retreats give you the opportunity to challenge “what you’ve always done” and consider what you really want – and the best way to make it happen.
2. Retreats Challenge You to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
Depending on the company you choose and your group leaders, you may step outside of your comfort zone in a big way.
Whether walking on hot coals, jumping off a cliff, hiking a mountain, or even punching another man in the face, most men’s retreats are designed to force you out of your comfort zone and put you back in touch with your primal nature.
But often more important than the physical steps you’ll take out of your comfort zone are the emotional walls men’s retreats allow you to break down.
While men’s retreats might seem like little more than a weekend adventure to give you a break from your family, they’re a rare opportunity to spend quality time with other men and experience a sense of brotherhood and connection that’s rare in modern society.
Opening yourself up to this type of experience is uncomfortable.
It’s one thing to go out for drinks with the guys and complain about work or women.
It’s another to enter into the container of a men’s retreat where vulnerability, authentic self-expression, and raw emotion are not only expected but required.
You’ll be challenged to share parts of yourself you may never have shared before (in a group setting, no less) and strip away all of the masks you hide behind in “normal” life.
But if you’re willing to embrace it fully, it can be one of the most liberating experiences of your life.
3. They Force You to Rest and Spend Time in Nature
Although this will vary from retreat to retreat, most men’s retreats involve some connection with the natural world.
You may not spend the weekend camping or indulging in outdoor’s activities as you did as a boy scout, but at the very least, you’ll have the opportunity to recover from the demands of daily life and spend time reconnecting to nature.
Study upon study has revealed the positive physical and mental health benefits of spending just an hour a day outside.
So imagine the impact an entire weekend spent at a scenic retreat center will have on your psyche and sense of well-being.
Although you certainly don’t need to attend a men’s retreat to experience this benefit – you can camp for free at almost any state park – when compounded with all of the other facts listed in this article, the benefits quickly become apparent.
4. They Surround You With Likeminded Men Who Will Take a Stand for Your Greatness and Boost Your Confidence
We’ve all heard the saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend your time with most.”
Yet, for most men, this concept goes in one ear and right out the other.
When trying to improve our lives, we’ll try waking up earlier, reading self-love books, or buying some online course.
But the greatest transformations are rarely found in annals of the internet or the shelves of a library. Instead, they’re the result of exposing yourself to men playing the game of life at a higher level who can show you the path and hold you accountable to walking it.
How much time do you spend every month or even every year thinking about the social life you want to build (and consciously do the work to make it)? How often do you think about the impact that the other men in your life are having on your beliefs, habits, and success?
For most men, the answer is “none.”
And the reason is simple.
They’ve never experienced the power of being in a room – or the woods – with like-minded men who will stand for their greatness. They don’t understand the impact a single relationship or mentor can have on their trajectory in life.
A men’s retreat will wake you up to this reality and put you shoulder to shoulder with men who can challenge, encourage, and hold you accountable to a stronger way of being.
If you’re willing to stay in touch and follow up, you may even develop lifelong friends who will support you in your journey – as you support them in their journey – for years to come.
5. They Offer a Low Stakes Opportunity to Hone Your Leadership Abilities
Your success in life ultimately comes down to one thing:
Your ability to lead yourself and others toward the goals and vision that matter most to you.
Men who lack this crucial trait wander listlessly through life, following whatever is popular and building their lives and identities on the bandwagon pulled by others.
The men with the greatest impact are always men with the greatest ability to lead.
Which is where men’s retreats come into play.
Although every retreat is different, and some focus on leadership more than others, most retreats offer men the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities in some capacity.
Whether leading an athletic event or a conversation or being asked to reflect on challenging questions you wouldn’t have considered otherwise, you’ll be given the unique opportunity to hone yourself as a leader and a man – free from the risks of daily life.
6. They Give You Perspective on Big Life Decisions
Whether you’re considering a career change, marriage, divorce, or another life-altering decision, it’s essential to seek perspective and wisdom from the men who have walked this road before you.
And one of the most significant benefits of a men’s retreat is the opportunity to spend time with men who have already faced the decisions and challenges you’re facing now – and can offer counsel and guidance based on experience, not theory.
You’ll be allowed to peer into a proverbial crystal ball, learning from the mistakes and victories of others before deciding upon a course for yourself.
Even if you don’t walk away with all the answers you seek, you’ll be far closer to the solution than when you came in.
7. They’re Fun
Finally, men’s retreats are just plain fun.
As a society, we’ve lost touch with the importance of play and leisure. Everything is about work, all the time.
I know many men who will select their hobbies based on how they could benefit them professionally rather than pure enjoyment.
But at the end of the day, life is about the interconnection of work and play. After coaching thousands of men over the past ten years, I’ve realized that for most guys, the problem isn’t that they’re working too much – it’s that they’re playing too little.
Their only version of “fun” is binge-watching the latest Game of Thrones season or getting drunk on a Saturday night with friends they barely like.
So if you’re only reason for attending a men’s retreat is that you like the sound of shooting a bow and arrow in the middle of the woods, singing songs around a fire, and hiking a mountain with a random group of strangers?
That’s a good enough reason to take the leap and sign up.
The Biggest Problem With Men’s Retreats
While there are many benefits of men’s retreats, there’s one major drawback.
They aren’t a sustainable solution to the problems they help address.
They’re a good start. But most men don’t have the money, time, or energy to disappear into the woods every weekend with a group of men.
Once the retreat is over, you’re left with little more than memories and a few connections – that you may or may not follow up with.
Men’s retreats are a great way to spark a lasting transformation, but they’re rarely sufficient to keep the fire burning long-term.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution.
Here at Knowledge for Men, we offer one of the premier men’s coaching experiences and communities on the planet.
Unlike a men’s retreat where you get excited for a weekend only to find yourself with no lasting support system or standard coaching programs where you talk 1-on-1 with someone once a week but have no real community supporting you…
Our program Project Grounded Man offers the best of both worlds.
Combining world-class coaching with an elite brotherhood of like-minded men who will be by your side in the trenches of life, supporting you and challenging you every step of the way.
Because of the nature of the program, enrollment is by application only – and we’re highly selective about who we accept (to ensure the highest caliber experience possible for everyone involved).
But if this article has sparked a fire in your belly, you’re ready to sharpen your masculine edge, reclaim your power, and take your life, relationships, and career to the next level.