A dream come true for my wife and business partner Melinda and me. The Seven Fs Executive Retreat, February 2016.

A dream come true for my wife and business partner, Melinda, and me. The Seven Fs Executive Retreat, February 2016.

When was the last time you actually had healthy nerves in your stomach and spine-tingling anticipation, because you put your vision out there to be tested?

Seven years ago, I promised my business partner and wife – Melinda Batz – we would invite clients and friends to join us for a Seven Fs Executive Destination Retreat. The idea was to use the momentum from the Good Leadership Breakfast to create a “blending the Seven Fs experience” around faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future for senior executives.

Blending the Seven Fs

The inspiring Opening Dinner was sponsored by our friend Jeri Meola (front right) from SMS.

The Opening Dinner featured inspiring Seven Fs stories. It was sponsored by our friend, Jeri Meola (front right), from SMS.

The vision was a result of stretching conversations about how our business could be rewarding both personally and professionally. The strategy was to focus on gathering people who shared a passion, The Seven Fs, and focus around one particular brand of “fun.”

The mustard-seed idea was organized around “golf” as the “fun.” And if we invited the right people, maybe…just maybe, we could create something catalytic.

We tried it. And it worked!

After three years of research and planning, we invited clients and friends to help us test the concept. From February 25-28, twenty-seven leaders from Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon and Minnesota attended inspiring dinners and breakfast workshops around two themes: Blending the Seven Fs, and Golf from the Inside Out.

Mark Bergman, inventor of the HANDy Paint Pail, found new excitement and boyish hope in a new vision for his golf game.

Mark Bergman, inventor of the HANDy Paint Pail, found new excitement and boyish hope in a new vision for his golf game.

We met at the world-class Ritz-Carlton Resort at Dove Mountain, in the Tucson area of Arizona. Recently, the property was named the #1 golf resort in Arizona, a Forbes 5-star property, and a top five place in North America for stargazing. The setting was absolutely exquisite: breathtaking both day and night.

Stretching one another

The guest of honor was LPGA golf professional, Barb Moxness. She stretched and challenged 20 golfers with her inspiring ideas about abandoning the “thinking” side of golfing, and embracing the “seeing and feeling” side. Her own personal/professional story captured our attention about “what’s possible?” in our own leadership.

The best way to describe Barb’s coaching approach is mystical. With a quiet voice she persuaded this group of Type-A executives to toss aside their left-brain “shoulder turn” technique-thinking, to adopt a right-brain “see it, feel it, do it” approach.

LPGA pro Barb Moxness was our "golf whisperer," who quietly convinced us to embrace our "feeling" side of the game.

LPGA pro, Barb Moxness, was our “golf whisperer,” who quietly convinced us to embrace our “feeling” side of the game.

“I was thoroughly exhausted from the experience in a really, really good way!” remarked banking executive Lou Gomez. “I learned so much from Barb and Paul about the connections between my passion for golf, and my areas for development in myself as a leader. It was an awesome experience… significantly beyond my expectations.”

Grateful for teamwork

Nothing significant ever happens alone. This endeavor required the courage and investment of sponsors and guests, as well as advanced scouting, planning and coordination beyond anything I’ve ever done. Special thanks to Bob Jungbluth, aka “Mr. Schedule” who visited a number of properties and convincingly persuaded us to choose the Dove Mountain site.

Why did it work?

A father daughter pair added a special touch to our Seven Fs experience.

A father-daughter pair added a special touch to our Seven Fs experience.

Good leaders invest themselves both personally and professionally in their work – which often means travel that leaves spouses, children, and friends behind. The retreat was an opportunity to bring special people along. One executive was accompanied by his 30-year-old daughter. Most people brought a spouse or friend. They recognized the golden opportunity to increase their special bond by stretching their vision together. Spending three full days and nights focusing on The Seven Fs proved to be both inspiring and fulfilling.

Melinda and I look forward to hosting another Seven Fs Executive Retreat soon.

Melinda and I look forward to hosting another Seven Fs Executive Retreat soon.

So, Melinda and I are both equally inspired and exhausted…pilot projects always create an adrenaline rush and subsequent let down. We are now pondering what’s next?!

Good leaders stretch their vision with compelling ideas around “what’s possible?” in their leadership. And they invest their faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future in making those dreams come true.

Golf is a great metaphor for life requiring positivity to develop excellence.

Golf is a great metaphor for life requiring positivity to develop excellence.

Please share with me: How are you stretching your vision?