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What happens at a men’s retreat?

Dudefluencer: Men's Retreat

Press Forward. Two words, a simple message telling you that no matter what pain, pitfall, or problem is in the way, pick yourself up, do some work and you must Press Forward.

When people meet me for the first time, their impressions are predictable. “He’s a little loud; he’s a little rough around the edges. People just don’t expect the things that I say to come out of my mouth.”

I get it. 

I’m broad shouldered, leaned in and forward guy with  a bad-ass beard, I look intimidating.

However, spend some time with me and you’ll notice that beyond my tough exterior, beyond this broad-shouldered, tattooed, bearded, Marine Corps veteran is a kind, honest, ethical man with a value and belief system.

And most importantly, deeply committed to his mission to help men become better, live happier, and press forward through everything life throws at them to walk out the other side, representatives of the best in humanity. 

I’ve always been passionate about personal development and helping men show up in today’s world with congruence, accountability, integrity, and healthy habits.

That’s why for the past two years, I’ve been facilitating men’s retreats and coaching on business and masculinity.

As a kid who grew up without a father-figure, I often felt like I missed out on having someone to look up to, someone to teach me “how to man up”, someone to guide me, and someone to give me a shot.

And no matter how often I put in the “work” towards life, I found myself unfulfilled.

I saw vulnerability and surrender as weaknesses. I masked my wounds with ego and over the top confidence. I leaned into unhealthy competition and a need to have control. It often blew up in my face and the cycle would repeat in the next job, relationship, focus. 

I was empty. 

After hitting a personal rock bottom, I spent years investing in myself.

Investments that led me doing spiritual work in India.

Sweating a ton in sweat lodges.

Heck, even working with Tony Robbins, plant medicine, mediation, and yoga.

Suddenly I realized something: I could either stay behind and continue to fall apart or Press Forward and build myself back up into the man I always needed.

This has become my driving force to give back to others because I understand what it is like to feel the isolation.

After speaking with thousands of men, I noticed trends in what men are/were missing in today’s world. 

I broke those down into the three pillars that make up the foundation of the men’s circles and virtual accountability groups I run: accountability, integrity, and habits.

I felt compelled to create a platform where men could have an open and safe place to share their challenges and have tactical practices to put into place to edit their lives to operate from a place of confidence.

I wanted to create the space I needed to help me become the man I always wanted to be.

Enter Press Forward.

Press Forward is the culmination of all the introspection, meditation, and guidance I’ve worked towards. 

Press Forward isn’t just a tagline; it’s how I survived, thrived, and unlocked my inner child, magician, warrior, and king.

Press Forward is a brotherhood of men who strive to gain alignment, build healthy habits, and work together to become the best version of themselves possible.

We have two events coming up: Reset & Raise Up, and Hunt & Gather.

Reset & Raise Up is a three-day retreat where men get the opportunity to grow, push themselves, and eventually press forward to take back the power in their lives. 

That means self-reflection. That means feeling alive in their own skin. That means building and strengthening the relationship with yourself, your family, your friends.

This event is also a plant medicine event.

Our retreat starts with a welcome meal and is followed by an opening fire ceremony. A bit nervous and anxious, I ask the men to form what is referred to as a container, i.e., the four agreements for the weekend.

1. This is a safe and confidential space.

2. We let men speak. 

3. We will support all men here. 

4. If you cannot commit yourself fully to the present moment, you do not need to be here.

After running a dozen or some retreats and workshops I paid very close attention to how men integrate these types of events into their life and they struggled to do so . I have now started to integrate some forms of plant medicine into some retreats.

As the men physically unpack, they often begin to metaphorically unpack and share their backgrounds, obstacles, and challenges in life. The next day provides adventure, compassion, and introspection opportunities.

Sometimes we go hiking or climbing. Other times we are meditating, practicing yoga, or participating in an hour of silence. Maybe it’s Wim Hof Breathe Work and a cold plunge. These activities are just the background to the real action- the introspection and self-reflection going on with these men.

By the second night at the fire, I noticed something about the men. They’re different. They’re open, honest, vulnerable, and ready to conquer their lives.

As the sun rises on the third and final day of our adventure, we begin by building a support system for everyone. We set goals together; offer counsel and support. They identify weak points in their health, wealth, relationships, and mindset. They map out a clear path forward. This time though, with a team of brothers to be part of the journey with them when they leave.

After a weekend of change, that’s when life truly begins for these men. They leave with a new support system and team in place, a new outlook on life, a new beginning. 

I make sure to follow up with them for several weeks after the event with virtual group calls, coaching, and counsel.

For our Hunt & Gather event, men and women are invited on a plant medicine retreat where we will lean in, release, become aware, and expand ourselves.

Together, we will learn how modern masculinity/feminine is changing and how you can embrace it and be a cornerstone for positive change in their community.

So if you’re feeling lost, want to join a team of like-minded, progress-driven men, then join me, and Press Forward.

To attend a men’s circle retreat, visit https://www.nealconlon.com/menscircle/

To find more details and learn more about me, follow me @iamnealconlon on social media.

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