In 6 days time I am flying to Fiji to attend a business retreat with Nurture Change. I am not travelling with hubby or friends. I know nobody going. Zilcho. I am technically an introvert (although most people think I am an extrovert). How the heck am I going to survive?

“No you can’t come in my suitcase. No you can’t come and carry my bags. No you can’t go instead of me. I need to do this on my own. But it is scaring the shit out of me.”

Those that know me and those that have met me, assume that because I am a laughy, smiley, generally happy (and loud) person – that I must love the thought of going overseas and hanging out with 200 other random business owners (hopefully soon to be my new BFF’s).

Far out – what the heck gives you that idea?

I am flying on my own. Whilst flying with no kids is very appealing (like freaking exciting), I am not a huge fan of flying and turbulence makes me want to go and hug a flight attendant until it is all over. Heading to dinners/lunches each day and hoping like hell someone will speak to me – nerve wracking. Attending the gala dinner and dance solo – takes me back to my primary school days where the thought of “please someone pick me to dance with” were forefront of my mind.

“So no, the overall thought of going on a business retreat does not flipping excite me. I am not ungrateful, I am nervous and scared.”

Here are my tips for any introverts also wishing to attend a business retreat on their own – safety in numbers right ?

1.Get over yourself. Sometimes, we just need to give ourselves a kick up our own butt. Of the 200 people going to the retreat, I am not the only newbie. Guaranteed. So chances are, at least half of the other newbies are thinking (and feeling) the exact same. Nervous, scared, intimidated, worried, scared – the list goes on. So whilst you don’t need to ignore those feelings, you need to work out how to break down those fears so they are just not so scary.

2. Get involved. The business retreat I am going on has their own app. I can add my details, see the schedule, see the speakers, see other attendees, put up posts and questions. Somehow, posting in a group before you go….is just not so scary. I have looked over the schedule of speakers, heck I even booked my included massage – and suddenly, the fear has evaporated ever so slightly. I can already see myself there with the people who are in the group.

3. Ask questions. I guarantee even if you get involved and get over yourself, you will still have some questions. Like me, I noticed there was a gala dinner on the last night. Yippee I first thought. Then of course I started stressing about my outfit. Not sure sarong and Birkenstocks would be appropriate – I jumped into the Facebook group and put it out there. Sure enough, 5 other women jumped in and said “gee Stacey, thanks for asking, I had no idea either”. Fears be gone – and I even had a giggle at how crazy I was to think an outfit was freaking me out.

4. Get prepared. For me, this means getting clear in my head what I want to get out of the retreat. I have questions about where my business is headed – and how the heck to I get there? I have now written down those things in my notebook so that I remember the core reason for me attending. At every opportunity throughout the retreat, I am focusing on how I can learn from every other successful business owner, and translate that into my own journey.

5. Don’t complicate conversations. You have all heard of the elevator pitch right. The pitch you are “supposed” to learn off by heart which if you only have 30 seconds, tells someone what you do. Well, forget it. Instead, talk from the heart. Tell people what lights you up and note that your story, your why, your pitch doesn’t have to be perfect each time. It just has to be honest. And repeating something over and over that doesn’t even hold true meaning – well that to me is stressful just in itself.

So, this introvert is off to pack her bags. I am taking enough clothes to last a lifetime because that is just one less stress. I have my pretty business cards at the ready and stocked up on extra notebooks for all my brain dumps I plan on having.

But the most important thing I have packed – is my smile and my open mind. Without these two things, even an extrovert would struggle to get true value from any business retreat. See you soon Fiji x