Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
I am Naji, your host for this very special episode like no other with Brie Doyle, founder of She Glows Retreats and Author of the great book YOU SHOULD LEAD NOW: Going on Retreat to Find your Way Back to Yourself!
This episode is like no other, we will be hearing from Brie about how to take care about ourselves as leaders – a key subject, yet rarely seriously considered by many of us…
Brie hosts transformational wellness retreats throughout the US and across the globe and is the founder of She Glows Retreats. She specializes in curating mental and emotional wellness curriculum for groups, conscious companies, schools and individuals. A yoga and meditation teacher for over twenty years, Brie is a leader in the health and wellness space who helps people heal their past and reclaim their power. Her first book, comes out this July – be on the lookout! Brie lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and three kids.
Brie Doyle: Thanks so much Naji. I’m so excited to be here,
Naji: Brie, before traveling with you on a retreat. If I might say it that way, I’d love to hear more about your personal story and your journey, founding your company and writing this very first
Brie Doyle: book.
Absolutely. Yeah. I’d love to share more. um, so I, so I grew up in, um, Boulder, Colorado, actually, and I live here now, so I moved away for a bit, but I, um, grew up, you know, both my parents, my parents were married. I had, um, I have two younger brothers and, um, I grew up, I was a really shy, quiet kid. I, um, you know, I was smaller and younger for my grade.
So I was, I was pretty quiet in class and I, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. That was something I really, you know, I loved children at a young age. So that was something I pursued. And, um, you know, from there I taught, I taught in schools actually for quite a while before, um, before having my own kids.
So I kind of started there and then, um, going further into my, into my professional career. So I, so I taught in New York city for a while. That was a wild experience. um, and then I taught in, um, Boulder, Colorado. For 10 years. And then once I had my kids, I decided to stay home with my kiddos, cuz my husband has a big job and travels quite a lot.
Um, so that was when I started writing. Um, yeah, so it kind of started there.
Naji: awesome. And, and so from, from there, how did you, um, you know, went into this, your belief if around retreats and they’re, you know, they’re, well, I, I would say in, uh, for leaders, right. And how to thrive, uh, in your life?
Brie Doyle: So retreating became important for me for a lot of reasons. I actually, I studied abroad when I was in college. I lived in Nepal actually, and I met a Buddhist meditation teacher and I, you know, became really interested in and. Studied under him and read constantly about Buddhism.
And I started taking retreats that way. And I was, you know, in my twenties at that time. And, um, so I came home and I took, I continued to take regular retreats just as a practice, um, to, to kind of pull away from my daily life and meditate and relax. And. Dig deeper into kind of my inside life. And, um, but then I had kids and things changed a little bit.
It became harder to leave, um, as I’m sure many of, you know, uh, so, so I, you know, I had a few years where I hadn’t taken a retreat for a while and, and there was a point where I was really kind of struggling. I found myself, you know, just deplete did and exhausted and, um, Just, I, I was, I was feeling a little bit lost.
And so I said to my husband, I was like, you know, I think I need to take a retreat. I know we have three small kids. It’s a hard time for me to leave, but I, I think I need to go on a retreat. And thankfully he was, um, really understanding and I went on a retreat and what I realized is that, you know, there was nothing wrong with, with me.
There was, I was just exhausted. I just needed more of myself, you know, so stepping away was really important. And, and so going on that trip, and then I came home, I realized. Gosh, you know, I’m not the only one who feels like this. I know that other people, whether it’s from parenting or work or whatever it is, are dealing with exhaustion and burnout and, you know, feeling, feeling sad, heavy feelings like that.
So, so that’s where I started my business was from that point, just, just realizing that other people, you know, need some kind of container or, or motivation to step away themselves.
Naji: Yeah. This is social and for, you know, for many leaders, We always say, you, you have to, uh, take care of yourself to be able to take care of others, right?
Like the self-love and you even use this word in, uh, in your book around self-love, but many of us would see it as a little bit selfish. You know, if I, if I may use the word, you know, to go on a retreat or do this, um, and, and we, any times we say, yeah, we need to take care of about ourself, but. We don’t have time, you know, we always find excuses not to do it.
What, what would you, what would be your advice for, um, for many of us, uh, you know, who, who need it, but won’t do it.
Brie Doyle: Totally. I, and I, and I hear that all the time is that, gosh, it feels so indulgent, you know, and, and one of my beliefs is that, you know, if we’re really gonna take care of other people, it has to start with ourself and it’s a discipline.
You know, it seems like this really nice frivolous thing that, that people who have lots of money or lots of free time might do. But the thing is if, if we’re really leaders in our industry or in our homes, or we’re ever were leaders, you know, we have to model this kind of behavior because. When you’re, when you’re, when you’re modeling this for the people that work for you or the people that live with you, then they themselves feel permission to do the same sort of thing.
So, honestly, I see it as a sense of discipline, um, that a leader would take this kind of break because it’s not common and it’s not encouraged. You know, our society is like, go, go, go more, more, more push, push, push. And, and we’re, you know, Staggering numbers of mental health issues. You know, we think about health and we think it’s all related to our physical bodies.
You know, we have all kinds of like foods. We should be eating exercises we should be doing. But the only thing we hear about mental health are like the really horrifying statistics. You know, it’s like one in four, uh, adults right now has a diagnosable mental health, um, challenge, you know, and that’s really significant.
Um, I think it’s, I, this is in my book too, but I think it’s, um, oh, let’s see. Uh, Um, um, um, oh, 10.3 million adults have suicidal thoughts, you know, um, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds. So this is, this is really significant, you know, it’s not any it’s, it’s not something that we can treat lightly anymore, like dealing and, and making space for our mental health is really significant.
If we’re gonna talk about health, we have to talk about the mental, emotional components, not just like what’s going on with our heart, what’s going on with our lungs. You know, it’s a lot deeper than that. Yeah. Yeah.
Naji: We, we, we don’t know. We, we never learned right in school, how to deal with emotions, how to talk about them.
Like how many times, you know, with my team, we, especially during, uh, this past year that we had, right. With the pandemic, starting to talk about emotions, how important it’s true. You know, technology connected us, but there’s myth of human warmth. Yeah. That is definitely bringing, uh, I, I hope we won’t get into a new pandemic.
With mental health, but it’s, it’s definitely a big issue that we will, uh, we will be facing. So, yeah, it’s, it’s great. What you’re doing and spreading this important, uh, notion about taking care of ourselves. Uh, Bria, how would you define we? We talked about retreat. I’d love to hear. What do you mean by retreat?
Brie Doyle: Yeah, of course. So for me, a retreat is really just taking time, a set period of time and pulling away from your day to day life, you know, pulling out of your daily duties, all the shoulds and the have tos and unplugging. I, I suggest on my retreats that all my participants, you know, they shut off their phones.
They send one final email to family and work say, Hey, you know, I’ll be back in touch. After the weekend or after the week or whatever duration you’ve decided and really kind of shutting out that world to focus on your inner world and really just to kind of realign realign yourself, you know, I mean, it starts with very basic things.
So like getting proper sleep. I mean, these are things we totally take for granted. And in our day to day life, we. We don’t value things like sleep or eating, nourishing food, or being out in nature. These things that are very basic and fundamental to our species, but we, this is not, again, these are not values that are honored in our society.
So it’s coming back to those really basic principles that seem like, oh, of course I do that. But over a lifetime, we start as. To slip away from some of those habits. So it’s bathing ourselves in those habits again. And that’s how retreating starts is really kind of allowing yourself to sleep. You know, allowing yourself really basic things and then, but it goes much deeper than that.
You know, I, I believe on retreat that it’s different than like a vacation it’s different than like a weekend away with friends. You go away for like a higher spiritual intent. So I always suggest that people bring either a podcast or a book or something that’s gonna challenge you or help you grow in a certain way.
Um, particularly if you’re going on your own, you know, you can either join an organized retreat or you can retreat by yourself. So it, it, you, my book kind of breaks down how to choose what is best for you, whether you should just go by yourself or to join a group. Um, there’s so many ways to retreat right now.
It’s. It’s wonderful. Um, but it’s worth considering, you know, what is best for you at a certain time. So it’s really just pulling away, um, shutting out your day to day duties and just allowing time for yourself
Naji: a and would this be something that you would do like once a year, once a semester, is there any advice around, you know, timing of those.
Brie Doyle: Yes. I, you know, I, my husband and I have this packed where we each go once a year, that right. We are kind of in the throes of life, you know, we both have big careers, we have kids. And so that feels reasonable. I mean, I, of course I’d love to go more, but that feels like a reasonable duration. If I can go more great.
But typically once a year, and that’s a pact, I keep with myself because one of the things that happens is once you say, okay, I’m gonna go on a retreat, then you easily start to talk yourself out of it. Like, oh, I don’t really actually have time for that. Or, oh, this is a bad weekend for me. So I suggest like committing to some duration or some or some, um, you know, every year, something like, like that, that feels reasonable and sticking with that because you will try to kind of weasel your way out of it.
Naji: and, and in between. Like this one year D which, uh, I, I definitely agree with you, like shutting down disconnecting is, is so important, right? At least, uh, we need it at least once a year. Right? Absolutely. What any advice on, in between those times? Right? Because our brain, uh, I’m also a big believer of, uh, the not only intensity, right, but more being consistent, uh, with, with what we do.
Yes. Uh, and our brain has always turned on with many different hats that we have. Yeah. Any advices or anything that you do personally, between those retreats to keep on reenergizing yourself, stepping back, being mindful, a any tips for, for us as leaders.
Brie Doyle: Sure. I mean, I, you know, I really think committing to some sort of daily practice.
I mean, we hear this all the time, but I appreciate that. You said, you know, consistency really matters. Cause I agree with you. I mean, I think it’s our habits that really determine who we become. So for me, my personal practice, I’m a morning person. I think you have to kind of. Consider am I morning person or a night person, but for me, I’m a morning person.
So I like to get up in the morning and I, you know, do yoga, do some meditation before the kids get up. And, um, you know, there’s so many different apps out there. There’s so many different supports to do meditation or yoga just from your living room. And that’s. Those are the things I do. And then also breathwork.
So I do those three every single morning and you know, occasionally here and there I’ll miss, like if we’re traveling or if I wake up, I don’t sleep well and I wake up late, then I’ll just do like just meditation or something like that. But I, I try to have a really firm, um, Practice for my internal, you know, wellspring, because I feel like, like you said, it’s, it’s a stacking effect.
It’s not something you do once, just like a retreat. I mean, it’s not something you do one time and say, okay, I’m, I’m good. , it’s a, it’s a regular practice. So again, finding the time of day that works for you and committing to that. And again, if you, if you commit really firmly to two weeks of that, then you’ll have a new pattern, you know?
So finding that, finding that time of day and. Honestly, I mean, 10 minutes makes a world of difference. It doesn’t have to be hours. It can be 10 minutes. And frankly, if you don’t have 10 minutes in your day, then, you know, I think it’s time to reprioritize.
Naji: yeah. Take a minute to plan for it, right. Exactly.
Brie Doyle: Exactly. Yeah.
Naji: Uh, brief from, uh, from your, uh, you should leave now. That is. That is going to be published very soon. July 13th, right? Yes. Awesome. Uh, you, you, uh, you share nine elements of a retreat. Uh, what would be the top two that, that you can share right now?
Brie Doyle: Yeah, the top two. So, um, you know, we spoke about one briefly, which is, um, disconnecting from work and home life.
So again, that’s just being really clear and I, and I again suggest sending an email or, um, some kind of communication. So there’s a hard line when you leave. Like, I love you all so much, unless there’s an emergency, we don’t need to be in touch. Um, because it’s hard, you know, we, and you get on retreat, you start to feel bored or you start to miss your people and then, or you start to think, gosh, I really should be working on that.
And that pulls you completely out of your. Phase. So really being firm about disconnecting from work and home life and another practice that this is a hard one for people, but I, I believe really firmly in this practice is using silence as a tool when you’re on retreat. So when you’re, when you’ve pulled away, this is easy to do when you’re by yourself, right?
Because you’re not interacting with lots of people, but if you join and program, it’s harder to find moments of silence. And the reason that I, that I feel this way is we. Been so much of our lives, just inundated with conversations and opinions and constantly bumping up against people, whether it’s via zoom or seeing people that drop off our kids’ playground, you know, at the school or friends or family, whatever it is, we’re constantly chatting.
And sometimes we lose that, that sense of like what we really, that felt sense that inner voice that we know is there. And so when you, when you take out that element of. Speaking all the time, then, you know, different, different, um, different things start to bubble up for you. Different ideas, different creative insights, different, um, synchronicities, all of these things start to come forward.
So using silence as a tool on your retreat, like for me, when I go by myself, but I’ll stay at, usually I’ll stay at a, a retreat center. I’ll have the morning be total silence. So even though people are having breakfast and some people are having conversations, I just sit by myself and stay silent. .
Naji: I, I love this.
I, I miss silence. So , I love that if we try it.
Brie Doyle: yeah. Sorry. When you have two, when you have kids at home, you realize it’s like, you really value it even more.
Naji: yeah. What is, if, if I were ask, like, what is your best learning or, you know, the best experience you had during a person? I retreated.
Brie Doyle: Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great question.
I, um, you know, so one of the was my idea for this book actually came as a result of a retreat and all the chapters, it was like, I had had two days of silence, you know, the first day is kind of hard. You’re kind of battling through like your old patterns of home and you’re feeling like bored and like you to be doing more.
But by the second day, you kind of start to drop down a little bit and settle down, calm down. . So after that second day, it was. The third day came and it was, I, you know, I was meditating and then I had gone for a hike. And on that hike, I had the idea for, for this book, that’s now being published and it was like, it all came to me in a matter of, you know, an hour.
And I couldn’t, I couldn’t get my pen to move fast enough. I mean, I was just joting down millions of ideas. And it’s funny because that’s that journal is the journal that I use to kind of reflect back on when I was writing the actual book. So to me, that was really a big moment because I, you know, I’ve always wanted to have, I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’ve, I’ve always been a writer.
Um, and I’ve worked with fiction. I’ve done all kinds of different things. So, so this really came true as a result of, for me, pulling away for retreats.
Naji: That that is. That is great. Thanks. Um, re uh, you know, our podcast is called spread love in organizations. I have to ask you, what do you think about this?
So what is your reaction when you hear spread love in organizations?
Brie Doyle: Uh, I mean, I think it’s an amazing way to use your gifts because I think, you know, I know you personally have had so much experience with like in the medical world, but to spread love in organizations is such an important thing, because if you wanna be a leader, right, we have to model this work and to share it among the business world, I think is.
So, so critical because we kind of tend to separate, you know, like thinking spiritual or personal over here, business over here. But when you can bring those two things together, then you feel so fulfilled. You know, I think that’s, I think you’re doing something very important and to have these conversations with people that coming from the heart, I mean, that’s.
We’re all desperate for deep connection. You know, we spend too much time with like surface level garbage and we’re all yearning to have real meaningful connection. So I think, you know, to have these conversations with people is really important. And to hear other people’s stories is this is an awesome way to spread love.
So I really honor what you’re doing. Thank you.
Naji: Yeah. Uh, I, I know you had different mentions in your book, uh, from great leaders, uh, who inspired you, uh, personally, spiritually, uh, anyone specifically that, that, uh, you would mention today?
Brie Doyle: I mean, Eckhart tole is to me, one of the all time rates of ever, you know, I, I reread his book, a new earth just on repeat, because I think.
There’s so much profound wisdom in that book and it’s so grounding. And so to me, I read that book regularly and I think his, his work really informs a lot of my opinions and I can listen to it or read it a hundred times and come up with something new every time. So I think his. His bit about, you know, um, the importance of meditation.
I mean, that’s another, one of the elements of retreat is meditating. Again, having some kind of way to handle are constantly ruminating thoughts. And, and my, my view of how to handle that is through the practice of meditation. And he talks a lot about this, really just creating spaciousness with inside your internal life.
So I think Ekar whole lake to me really stands out.
Naji: Uh, and any, any app or advice, you know, for busy business people, as we always, as we always would say, uh, that, that you would recommend, or that you use, or even any dip, like a habit that I can bring. Starting
Brie Doyle: tomorrow morning. Yes. Um, so have you, there’s a, there’s an app called insight timer, which I find it’s a meditation app and I think it’s really easy to use.
It’s really manageable. So that’s a great setting, a timer for yourself when you’re starting a meditation practice, I think is really important because you, you kind of sit down and suddenly you’re like, I wanna do this, or I need to do this. Your mind starts going all the over the place. So I think setting a timer is a really great practice cuz then you know that like you don’t have to be constantly thinking about when is this over you can, you can kind of relax.
Into what you’re doing. So it doesn’t have to be inside timer. It can just be a timer, but there, there are guided meditations on inside timer. So if you’re someone who’s a very busy mind, sometimes listening to a meditation is a really helpful thing, you know, if, if you wanna experiment. So, so in my book I talk about, there are two kinds of meditation.
There’s form meditation, and there’s. Meditation. So form meditation is when you’re focusing on something like you’re listening to music like Ural beats, for instance, you know, these are those beats that, that have the theta brainwave vibration. So then your brain matches them. That’s a really great thing to listen to too.
So Ural beats is great, but this is a, this is a kind of form meditation, or maybe you’ve heard of walking meditation again, that’s for meditation. And then. Form less meditation is just where you’re sitting down. There’s no music, there’s no stimulation. You’re just allowing your thoughts to come in and allowing them to go out.
So. So, you know, choose which, which, which direction you wanna go, um, form or formless. And I would say, you know, if you have a very busy mind, you don’t have a lot of experience meditating. I would start with form meditation. I would start listening to meditations or listening to the Ural beats, something like that.
So it feels a little bit more manageable. And I would also say do it in bite size pieces. So maybe 10 minutes is a great goal. 10 minutes every morning for two weeks or 10 minutes every night before you go to bed for two weeks. Um, I think that’s a great starting point, you know, from there you can add on breathwork and different things like that.
Um, Or yoga or any other or prayer or whatever practice feels connective to you. But I think meditation is just such a foundational. It doesn’t have to have any religious connotation whatsoever. It’s just a really important practice to my meditation teacher talks about, he calls it, um, making friends with ourselves.
So I love which I love. I love the lightness of that. You know, there’s no, sometimes the Western mind comes in with such like aggressive tendencies. Like I’ve gotta be the best meditator in the room or something , you know, and I, and I love the idea of just like, Making friends with ourselves just kind of softening softening, you know?
So, so that would be one tip is, um, you know, using it a timer using insight timer and choosing, do I wanna do form meditation or form less meditation? Um, another tip that I have is to, to UN start to understand your state and what I mean by that is. You know, we have times when we, we have habitual behavior.
So sometimes we, we feel lots of energy during the day. Sometimes we feel really low and tired during the day. So starting to notice where our energy dips and taking responsibility for it, there are three things we can do to change our state. So, you know, sometimes for me, I’ll notice like after I’m kind of like, Ugh, you know, a bit of a, a bit of a dip, I feel tired.
So there are a couple things you can do. You can change your focus. Change what you’re focusing on. So if I’m working up and working on the same thing for a long time, and I feel that dip in my state, I need to change what I’m focusing on. So I need to try something different, work on something different, you know, get up, move, something like that.
So if change your focus, you can change your physiology. So like I said, you can get up and move. You can go outside, you can run up the stairs really quick. You can jump of up and down 10 times. so that’s another way to quickly change your energetic. State or you can change your language to me, this is the most nuanced one changing, noticing how we speak.
If you’re saying, if it’s after lunch and you’re jumping in a meeting and you’re like, oh, I’m so tired. I’m just so tired. I can’t believe how tired I am then it’s just this reaffirming thing. So kind of starting to pay attention to the Lang language that we use around everything around how we. Speak about our state, around how we speak about our partnerships, about our work, all of these things.
So those three ways, and starting to take notice in your own life of how you can manage your state. Because I think sometimes we think we’re just victims to like, well, I’m just tired. And it’s like, no, actually you can do something to shift that. So to, so managing those three things would be another, um, and noticing in your day, like where do I dip or where, when do I get really angry or when do I get really sad, you know, starting to take notice and then taking ownership of that.
Naji: That’s that’s really great, great tips. I will be adding, you know, I’m like to share with you the, the one thing, uh, I’m trying to make it a habit now is, uh, but, but I need to move to 10 minutes. I’m doing like the triple two. So it’s two minutes of mindfulness, two minutes of, you know, planning two minutes of prioritizing every morning and I feel it changed your day.
Yes. But I need to get more into the 10 days, uh, 10 minutes, your meditation. I’m I’m taking a lot of. Fits from you today. And thank you so much for that.
Brie Doyle: Of course, I’m, I’m honored and that’s, that’s amazing that you do that practice. I mean, clearly you’re a leader, so you have these things in place, which is awesome.
It’s, it’s so fun to talk to other people too, because then you start to get new ideas, like, oh, I might wanna try this or read this. And so I think that’s a fun thing too. Just sharing different ideas. Like what do you do for your mind for in this practice? You know, another thing I love is thinking and feeling gratitude.
So like, Adding that at the end of your 10 minutes and not just thinking like here, like writing a list, here’s what I’m grateful for, but like really feeling it in your body because the body is so amazing. As you know, it’s like, you don’t have to, you don’t have to go through an experience. You can actually just think about an experience and physiologically all the same hormones are gonna go off.
So if you’re remembering and you’re heart, like the moment you met your amazing wife, Or the moment that you had your first child, it’s like, I get chills just talking about it because, and then, and then you feel energized, you know, you’re like, gosh, I do have so much to be grateful for. So it’s not just making a list of things.
That’s a fantastic thing to do of gratitudes, but it’s like feeling it in your body. It’s a whole, it’s a physiological reaction. And so learning to feel. Those emotions and practicing them, right? Because the emotions that we feel over and over again are they become habitualize right. So if we’re constantly pissed off , then we get really comfortable being pissed off.
And then everything in our environment shows us like, well, that guy is awful and this work sucks. And I don’t like, you know, so it becomes this habitualize thing, but if you like. Oh, wow. Like, I feel, I feel so grateful right now to have rain. I mean, we don’t usually get a lot of rain in Boulder, but it’s like dumping outside and it feels like it’s really green right now.
And it’s, it’s a silly little thing, but like to start to look for little things, to feel grateful for and then feel it it’s a whole different experience.
Naji: and, and you find a word, uh, real of, uh, final word of wisdom for leaders, uh, around the words specifically in healthcare. I’d love to hear something from you to yeah.
Healthcare leaders. ,
Brie Doyle: you know, I, I hate to go back to this always, but I actually, I don’t hate to go back to this at all. I think, um, claiming fully like taking planning a retreat for yourself and putting it on your calendar well, in advance. So being really, really disciplined about when your retreat is like making this part of your regular practice.
So that you have it on the calendar, you have something to look forward to and that’s gonna come for you. I think that’s critical. Um, and I, and so the tips are the same, whether you’re in healthcare or anywhere. I mean, I think these are so valuable, no matter what you’re doing, but again, putting a retreat on the map I think is incredibly critical and then meditating that’s that, that would be the other tip.
I mean, those tips are, I just harp on them over and over, but I think they’re so important.
Naji: Thank you so much. Uh, yeah. Agree for such an amazing discussion and definitely in healthcare, uh, you know, people mainly on the frontline, even more, they I’m sure they need to, uh, step back disconnect recharge and all the tips that you gave us today, uh, are definitely needed for us to be able to continue on serving the word, uh, in the, from a healthcare standpoint.
Yeah. Thank you so much again for joining me today.
Brie Doyle: Thanks so much for having me. I’m great. Glad to be here.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to spread love and organization’s podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
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