For an entrepreneur, the American dream can come at a high price. Long working hours, relentless stress, and the various headaches associated with starting a business can pile on a person and rob them of their joie de vivre – or worse.
Gv Freeman knows all about it.
The St. Louis-based entrepreneur left his hometown in central Nebraska for the larger city and spent extra hours finding opportunities in the technology industry. Not just self-care Not a priority, it wasn’t even on his radar. And in a real startup spirit, he purposefully drove himself to build a successful career. But the pressure took its toll.
In need of a break from everyday life, Freeman embarked on a long journey in the style of a dark night of the soul to find things out. On mindfulness retreats, he sometimes meditated up to 14 hours a day. He completed a yoga teacher training course and even became a student of the late Ram Dass (née Dr. Richard Alpert), a former Harvard professor whose 1971 book on LSD and mysticism inspired countless spiritual seekers in the West to recreate their place in the universe to rate .
It was not easy for Freeman to break his logical engineering spirit and embrace his spiritual side. But he stayed open-minded and eventually came up with a more holistic definition of success – plus a variety of transferable insights that are ready to be shared.
Now the self-proclaimed Founder Coach & Growth Strategist is offering an entrepreneur-friendly version of the various meditation retreats and medicine rituals that likely helped save his life.
The Founders Thriving Retreat is a five-day mindfulness experience for founders which will take place September 19-25 at the Costa Dulce Resort in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.
Freeman describes Founders Thriving as a conscious space for entrepreneurs who want to build a healthier relationship with themselves and their business: one with more meaning, fulfillment, and happiness, where self-worth is never confused with wealth.
“We are programmed very early on what we need to do to be successful, and a lot of it tells us not to take care of ourselves first,” Freeman said. “And this is an opportunity to put yourself first for a while – at least for five days.”
Founders Thriving allows founders to put themselves first, slow down the world around them for a few days, and – hopefully – take home some wisdom that will bring them on a healthier path.
“The two goals I try to get people to leave are: the ability to decouple wealth and self-worth (and to be able to say, ‘I’m a good person, regardless of how successful my company is.'” he said. “And the other idea is to have a healthier relationship with your company.”
The retreat combines yoga, meditation, breath work and thought-provoking workshops specially designed for founders. Mind-expanding options are also offered, including holotropic breathing work, a sweat lodge and the opportunity to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony (if requested by the participant).
If this all sounds a bit intense, Freeman says there will be time to play too.
Participants have four hours to explore their surroundings in Nicaragua. That means roping through the jungle, hanging out on the beach, riding horses, sitting by the resort pool, and – if necessary – returning to your room and checking into the world you left in the States.
Essentially, the purpose of the retreat is to deprogram old patterns of thought and habits that Freeman characterizes as “letting go of what we don’t need and then installing the 2.0 operating system”.
While checking out from a founder’s stressful day-to-day life is the goal, Freeman wants the classes and peace of mind his attendees receive to be portable.
“The trick is not escaping action to find calm, the trick is to find calm in action – and we do that as part of the retreat,” Freeman said.
Would you like to attend the Founders Thriving Retreat or recommend it to a stressed founder? Find more information here.