What’s Next? Navigating Tsunamis of Business and Life

What's next

In working with CEO’s and Executive Leaders, a question that often comes up is “What’s Next?”

Transition and new chapters  can kind of creep up on you “we know the kids will be gone in 2 years” or they can fall from the sky without warning,  “We’re right-sizing and your job has been eliminated”

So how to navigate the Tsunamis of Business and Life?  

Here are  5 tips from my audio book published by Career Track/Park University,  Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life that may help :

  1. Awareness:  What are 5 things you want to be, have and do in the next 1 – 5 years? You will need a total of 15 index cards (5 for each of these 3 questions) for this reflection.  My husband and I  have  a state of the marriage retreat each year  where we complete this 5, 5 and 5 card sort separately and then over a glass of wine, share our common goals and differences.  Note: There is no way he will be attending every  creativity retreat and for sure I won’t be playing bridge, but we are aware of our own and each other’s aspirations. Be aware of your own dreams and aspirations and those most important to you.
  2. Adaptability: Curb your  enthusiasm!   Transitions are about change and that includes comfort with the ambiguity  of not knowing.  Caution for planners and over- achieving leaders:  Use the power of the pause. How often have you made a choice because something came up verses planning and waiting for the right opportunity?
  3. Skill:  The Power of Creative Problem Solving  What I love about CPS  (Creative Problem Solving) is the separation of divergent and convergent thinking.  Before settling in on a specific job, career or life choice begin by asking yourself an expansive question:  “In what ways might I… (filling in your aspirations).  Here’s an example:  “In what ways might I make the most, work the least and spend maximum time with my family?”  The only  rule in divergent thinking  is that rule of initially deferring judgement on any idea as you seek to generate the longest list possible including wild ideas!  Don’t worry:  Step 2 convergent thinking allows time for  review and ranking of  those expansive ideas,  based on criteria that  you define that will help  you make those right business and life choices.
  4. Conservation of Energy:  Consider  A  “Year of NO”  A top executive known for doing it all  told me their greatest breakthrough was designating a “Year of No” so they could focus on what was most important.  Getting to that next chapter may mean eliminating activities which are creating noise and obstacles to your personal  pivot point.  If you are selling your business or retiring, consider a hiatus where every day you have leisure time to really think about that next chapter. If you don’t have that luxury, consider eliminating those activities that fall outside of your big picture.
  5. Positive Mental Attitude:  Change is Hard: Embrace the head and heart of being an explorer not an expert You are free to be a student of life again and write your next chapter.

Rosemary Rein is the Author of  “Go Wild Survival Skills for Business and Life” and a Keynote Speaker/Author based in Silicon Valley, California  rosemary rein . 

Visit Inspired Leadership Retreats



10 Questions for Introspection

Hans Doller Art

Connected.  Original Painting by Hans Doller, Costa Rica

Here’s 10  questions for pause and reflection.  Not surprisingly,  the questions prompt  stories which engage both head and heart and can be used individually or in a group where  you have or are striving for trust and connection.

The 10 Questions

  1. Describe the best day of your life.  Describe the worst day of your life.
  2. List 5 crossroads in your life where your choice of paths made a difference.
  3. Who is the one (non-family member)person who has done the most to make you  who you are today? How was that person significant to you?
  4. Share an event that strongly influenced your life?
  5. If by magic you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? and why?
  6. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? What is stopping you?
  7. What are 5 things you couldn’t bear to lose?
  8. What are the 5 words you would use to describe your personal brand?
  9. What is your perfect day?
  10. If you could take a 1 month trip anywhere in the world and money were not a consideration.  Where would you go and what would you do?

About the Author:

Rosemary Rein is the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life”. She facilitates Executive Leadership Forums and Retreats for the Young President’s Organization, Entrepreneur’s Organization and Senior Leadership Teams in Silicon Valley, California, Costa Rica and other retreat destinations around the world. Rosemary Rein and YPO Forums and Retreats



Jeffersonian Dinner: Compassion is Served


Forget the cocktail chit-chat, bring on a feast of social innovation

As both Director of the Largest non-profit in the World, United Way Worldwide and the web-site  committed to free knowledge, Wikipedia, I have attended my share of events to support worthy causes. From auctions to campaign kick-offs to thank you receptions, fundraising is frequently by necessity on the menu for today’s non-profit organizations.

Compassion is served

I was intrigued  to attend  a very different event sponsored by nobully.org hosted at a private home in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.   Our invitation included only one request: Bring a story about a time in  life when we were touched by someone’s compassion while at school.  We would be dining with 10 guests  who we didn’t know,  representing business, philanthropy and education for a conversation that mattered.


Jeffersonian Dinner Parties – Dining with a Difference

Inspired by Thomas Jefferson, who detested idle chit-chat and preferred inviting  guests to his table from different walks of life to discuss important matters of the day,  the  Jeffersonian Dinner party begins with an invitation to 10 – 12 people you would like to have at your table.  A theme or topic is selected and  a thought-provoking question is sent to your guests in advance.   The only real rule of the evening:  rather than just talking to the one person beside you at dinner,  you talk to all of your fellow guests.

In my evening at the Jeffersonian Dinner Party,  sharing our  personal stories of compassion both connected and inspired us.  The contrast of the tragedy of the mass shooting in Orlando earlier in the week, standing in stark comparison.    By dessert we imagined more.   How might we make sure that  Kindness  is not an Elective and Care and Compassion,  not Violence is the News Headline.

Blog References:

nobully.org Each year 30% of students are the target of bullying and cyberbullying. No Bully is an evidence based program that leverages student empathy to bring this crisis to an end.

Rosemary Rein is a Writer and Keynote Speaker on Leadership, Innovation and Community Engagement.  She resides in San Francisco Bay, California




5 Tips for Hosting Inspired and Productive Leadership Retreats

  1. Just One Thing: What is the one thing your team will walk away at the end of your retreat?  Until you have that answer, don’t think about an agenda.  Leadership meetings  are often crammed and jammed with a stew of agenda items. Be ruthless in keeping to your core retreat outcome.
  2. Stimulate All of Their Senses:
    From Wine Tasting Events, to Fly Fishing, we plan YPO Forums and Executive Leadership Retreats which offer locations and social activities that  inspire creative and innovative thinking.  In addition to tapping into brain power, tap into sensability!
  3. Uber Mapping/Graphic Recording 
    One of the reasons we like UBER  is we  can track and see the progress of our ride. Consider graphic recording of your meeting which helps participants see the progress of their work.
  4. Themes Build Teams;
    Consider selecting a retreat theme. (Example: Play-Create-Succeed for an Innovation Retreat) Don’t forget to merchandise and brand your retreat as you would a product in both the invitation and wrap-up/celebration experience and communications.
  5. Hire a “Hit” Man/Woman
    Calculate the salary of every staff member going to the retreat in addition to hotel/travel costs. A professional meeting facilitator and event planner can insure your investment produces results and liberates you to be an active participant and thought leader.

rosemaryrein.com  / YPOretreats.com  Rosemary Rein is an Executive Leadership and YPO/EO Faciliator based in  San Francisco Bay, California.  She is the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life” hosting creative leadership retreats in Silicon Valley and at retreats destinations around the world.



YPO Go Wild! Leadership Retreat


The Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life”  Rosemary Rein in South Africa.  Rosemary’s  Book on Wilderness Survival Skills is the theme of YPO Forum retreats hosted in Costa Rica and  South Africa  Go Wild! Go GREAT! Survival Skills for Business and Life.

During a  3 – 7  day annual leadership retreat,  executive members of  Young President’s Organization  (YPO Forums) explore how the 5 principles of Wilderness Survival apply to not only surviving but thriving in business and life.


YPO Forum leaders explore the Survival Principle of  Adaptability on a thrilling White Water Rafting Adventure set amidst the natural paradise of tropical, Costa Rica.

Go Wild! Go GREAT! Leadership Safaris are hosted by YPOretreats.com.   The 5 principles of Wilderness Survival become a blend of mantra and motion at transformative retreats,  where forum members learn about themselves and each other.  The 5 Wilderness Survival Principles outlined in Rosemary’s book on life and leadership,  serve as the GPS for the 4 day executive learning adventure set in exotic destinations.

The 5 Keys To Wilderness Survival explored in the YPO Go Wild! Go GREAT! Safari

  1.  Awareness
  2.  Adaptability
  3.  Skill
  4. Conservation of Energy 
  5. Positive Mental Attitude

YPO Retreats works with the  forum moderators in selecting and booking the retreat destination, facilitator and experiences as well as handling of on-site logistics.   Other themes linked to innovation, improved relationships, parenting and work/life balance. A retreat itinerary and location proposal is provided to Forum moderators, so unique goals and preferences of the group become part of a co-created design.

For support in planning and hosting your YPO Forum Retreat contact:   YPOretreats.com

Permaculture: Lessons for Leadership

 In what ways might  Permaculture Farming  offer lessons for today’s Organizational Leaders?  In the retreats we facilitate  for YPO, EO and Executive Teams, we seek retreat destinations,  where nature is the fuel for innovation. We found an Air B & B in the countryside outside of Silicon Valley, California, providing an ideal opportunity for a senior team to review how the 12 principles of  Permaculture could help them identify areas of growth, impact and sustainability. (Yes, we have them feed the pigs with their leftovers after lunch and I have to say, they get permaculture principle  6:  No Waste.


 Here’s the 12 point Permaculture Playbook. How many principles are being addressed in your organizational strategy.

Permaculture-Principles (1)There are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
    By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

Blog References: David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. His passion about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability which are highlighted in his book, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

Rosemary Rein, is the Author of Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life and a Global Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Leadership and Innovation.  Rosemary facilitates retreats and forums for Executive Teams including the  Young President’s Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization.   Plan your Leadership Retreat connected to Permaculture.

Visit Rosemaryrein.com  reinrosemary@gmail.com   (239) 910-3354

Wine Making Wisdom & Leadership

Wine Tasting

In this YPO (Young President’s Organization) Forum  Adventure: YPO Executive Leaders  learn about wine and each other  in Mendoza, Argentina, while decanting  lessons in leadership 

The Importance of Tasting and Correction. Wine makers care for their harvest like children.  There is a daily tasting of wine from wooden oak barrels awaiting the precise moment when the grape is  worthy of the family name. There is also course correction along the way and every year the relentless pursuit of better quality. Successful organizations  know that the key to longevity is attention and care to product quality and continuous improvement.

It’s About People: The charming  Frederico Cassone is passionate about his family wine and jokes that “If you don’t like my wine, don’t worry!  Wine is about people, just Like me!” Although this family need not worry about people liking their wines, (The Obra Prima Malbec was both rustic and deliciously elegant) we were so charmed by this winemaker, that if the wine was not to our liking, we would have bought a bottle anyway as a memory for the experience he provided.  Likability of Leaders matters as does the buying experience.

Importance of Branding:  Wine makers seek to build a unique brand reputation. What are   5 words other people  use to describe you?   It’s a question worth asking as leaders strive for greater self-awareness of how they show up to others and defining their personal brand of leadership.

Don’t rely on one Profit Center & Protect the Big Crop: To minimize risk from inclement weather conditions, wine makers often have various vineyards in different parts of the country so if one area is hit by inclement weather,  the other vineyard is their insurance for uninterrupted production.   Winemakers also  frequently plant olive trees as a second crop and use decoy fruit trees so that when the grapes are ripe, the birds will go for the sacrificial fruit on the trees and not the grapes. Protect your big crop with risk assessment and consider multiple profit centers and suppliers.

Take Care of  Vendors:  One of the wine makers we talked with in Mendoza noted that if one of his  suppliers has a bad year due to inclement weather, he still buys from him.  The reason:   Because long-term  relationships are more important than one bad crop.  Take care of your vendor partners.  Value long-term relationships over single business transactions.

Leverage Technology:  Argentina’s  wine renaissance is due in large part to innovative technology brought in by foreign investment. That technology has enabled the country to maintain it’s long tradition  in wine making but increase production and quality through  cloning of the best vines.  Maintain important traditions but  Leverage technology to enable your organization to grow and increase efficiency.

Develop a Global Perspective. The Cassone family has raised their children to  receive education and training abroad but always come back home to Argentina. Walter Bressia noted that when he begins thinking of creating the perfect wine,  he leaves Argentina and first envisions end customers in the United States,  France or  Canada.    Walter said that part of his success is also due to working for and learning from other companies before venturing into his own business.   Welcome and seek employees that have experience beyond yours and get out of your own neighborhood for global inspiration.

Passion is The Secret: We  asked Walter Bressia  what are the qualities needed of a successful winemaker? “Passion for Wine is # 1 and Loving what you Do” is # 2″  The winemaker went on to say  “What I have given to the wine is minuscule in comparison to what the wine has given to me”. Walter acknowledged the patience of his wife for his “other woman–aka wine”.  He laughed and noted that “I am better with wine than with women. At least the wine allows me to improve”  ” The secret sauce of Successful Leaders and Entrepreneurs is their undeniable passion and loving what they do.

Blog References

Thanks to our Fruit of the Gods Experts, Walter and Bodega Bressia, Familia Cassone and Bodega Tempus Alba in Mendoza Argentina.

Rosemary Rein is Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life” .he facilitates Executive Learning Adventures for YPO, EO and Executive Teams  in the US, Latin America, India and South Africa.

Rosemaryrein.com   reinrosemary@gmail.com / 239-910-3354


Want Innovation? Consider A FailFest


As the Director of Global Learning for Wikipedia, I had the opportunity to design and host “FailFest”  a Forum for not sharing success and what  works, but rather sharing stories of failure and what didn’t work and why.  FailFests are particularly relevant as a knowledge management tool in global enterprises where repeating failures is costly and a barrier to scale and capacity building.

FailFests are being hosted not only in Silicon Valley, California,  but at organizations and global conferences around the world committed to innovation through continuous learning.

In YPO and EO Executive Forums, built on trusted tribal circles, Trust is currency.  In a world where CEO’s are expected to  convey confidence and competence to stakeholders, having trusted peers willing to not only share success stories but failures is gold.

Personally, my greatest learning has come not from successes but situations where I fell flat on my face and learned what I would do differently next time.

FailFest for the US Presidential Race?  If you are at all following  US politics, imagine Donald Trump not sharing how great he is,  but lessons learned from his greatest business failures.  Hillary Clinton  sharing not  her resume,  but what she learned from her mistakes as Secretary of State. That’s a debate I would tune into and one likely to frazzle both  candidates.

There is a formula and ground rules for hosting a successful FailFest that supports both learning and innovation. As a note for Conference Planners, Failfests are also a  fabulous format for just about any conference where peer learning is a priority.  The FailFest formula insures safety in sharing failures and a template for learning from them.  To receive a Free FailFest Kit, write me at reinrosemary@gmail.com or visit my web-site at Rosemaryrein.com


Rosemary Rein is the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life. She is a Keynote Speaker/Facilitator for YPO/EO Forums, Executive Retreats and Global Conferences  on Leadership, Innovation and Customer/Employee Engagement.   A resident of Latin America for 12 years, Rosemary’s Leadership and Innovation Consulting Practice is based in San Francisco Bay, California.







Executive Monkey Business In Costa Rica

monkey man

10 Reasons We Love Costa Rica for YPO and EO Executive Retreats.  As planners and facilitators for Executive Retreats,  including the Young President’s Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization, we have our preference for destinations that consistently create WOW Factor.

In this blog, a focus on why Costa Rica makes the  list for top executive retreat destinations:

10:  Location, Location, Location:  With two major airports and flights under 5 hours from New York and California and under 3 hours from Florida, Costa Rica makes the list for  minimizing travel time and maximizing connection time of meeting participants.

9.    The Nature of Inspiration.  From an active Volcano to  Rainforests,  Mountains and Sea, you can almost select your retreat  environment, which represents the greatest biological diversity on the planet.  Biomimicry  is a tool for innovation and Costa Rica offers a natural laboratory for new ideas inspired by mother nature.

8.    Private:  Keep Out:  The magic of the Young President’s Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization is  built on “Tribal Trust”. What we love about working in Costa Rica is the vast inventory of private villas for total exclusivity.

7.   A Learning Safari:  Our YPO and EO Adventures are based on experiential learning.  This means your learning is self-directed, i.e.  you can experience the sights and sounds of a physical adventure , while you also learn something about yourself. For example: You would be surprised at the lessons in awareness, adaptability and team communication offered by an exhilarating White Water Rafting Adventure.

6.   Pura Vida Spirit: “Pure Life”  There is an undeniable life force in Costa Rica that consistently inspires our Executives  to climb to that highest tree in the rainforest and realize a personal Ah Ha.  The value of immersion in a completely different environment has long been a creative muse and Costa Rica offers endless opportunities.

5.   Howling to the Moon and  with the Monkeys.  You have not lived until you have experienced a Moon Rising over the Ocean, nor quieted the voices in your head when hearing the sound of Howler Monkeys shocking you with their loudest voices on the planet.

4.   Wake up and Smell the Coffee:  . Long before the Starbucks rage, Costa Rica Coffee has made all of my mornings better.  On retreat, you  experience a  true coffee culture break.

3.  A Retreat for Every Budget:  I have planned Executive and Organizational Retreats for Fortune 500 and Non-profit organizations.  The beauty in Costa Rica, is we can make it happen for all budgets  with the diversity of tourism options.

2.The Tax Man:  For US-based Organizations, Costa Rica qualifies as a tax-deductible destination for business meetings. As Ben Franklin said “A penny saved is a penny earned”

1.  Happiest Place on the Planet:   Costa Rica ranks among the  Happiest Places on the Planet.  This happines translates to your total retreat experience.

Rosemary Rein is a Global Keynote Speaker and  the Author of “Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life”.  She lived in Costa Rica for 12 years and hosts/facilitates YPO, EO and Executive Team Retreats at exotic destinations around the world. rosemaryrein.com

reinrosemary@gmail.com    (239) 910-3354/ San Francisco, CA Based


Flying High/Letting Go

YPO Forum

Ziplining in Costa Rica-Executives in YPO and EO Forums identify “just one thing they need to let go of”  before jumping off a platform high above the rain forest canopy in a Costa Rica Zip Line experience.

CEO’s have no lack of to do list,  but what they sometimes lack is the ability to pause and  identify what they need to let go of ; what’s no longer working for them. Often leaving behind the one thing that got them where they are but won’t get them and/or their business where they need to be.  In the course of hosting and facilitating Executive Retreats  I’ve seen CEO’s drop some heavy baggage.

Doing it all?  How’s that working for you?  No time or energy for the 1 thing you can’t live without? i.e your partner or Family? Maybe it’s time to put them on  your Executive To Do List.

Today’s YPO Hangout Questions:  1) What’s the one thing you can’t live without? and 2) What’s the one thing you need to let go of that’s holding you back?