You've got to disconnect to reconnect

I love this story Simon Edwards, a filmmaker and founder of PopUp Media shared on his blog a while back (see below). Simon is a member of our Happy Startup online community, he regularly attends (and facilitates) our Lean Coffee mornings, and every time I speak to him I frantically try to scribble down all the cool books, apps and ideas he has for achieving a better work/life balance. 

I hope the story he shares below of a recent founders walkshop he joined us at will inspire you to get outside, re-centre your thoughts and spark conversation outside of stuffy boardrooms. We all know great ideas never happen there


Words & images by Simon Edwards, read more from Simon by visiting


Free range Friday

A day unplugging from the day to day to reconnect with people and nature

On a Friday in late November I headed down to Brighton on the train for workshop a little different from your run of the mill flip chart and powerpoint affair. I was joining a merry band of hippy entrepreneur types who had been gathered together by the righteous dudes of The Happy Startup School and Unknown Epic, all with big dreams and plans, all in search of new ways of doing things. So with notebooks, back packs and waterproofs, we met round the back of Brighton station in the morning drizzle and headed out to the hills on a big yellow mini bus.

There’s something about being in the great out doors that immediately removes all barriers of who's who and any kind of status or ego. The conversation soon flowed as people sharing stories of what had brought them on the day, ideas, struggles and problems that need solving.

The conversation continued throughout the day. It was great discovering what everyone was up to, sharing ideas, inspirations to help people move forwards, and simply devouring the joy of walking in the woods.

Continuing onwards though the undergrowth after lunch lead to a few minor challenges.

We emerged from the woodland to be greeted with a stunning view of Cuckmere haven. 

As we headed towards the sea the weather turned and wind and rain started to lash down.

We were truly getting our money’s worth immersed in everything the late Autumnal weather could throw at us. There was even time for a few games on the beach before we drew stumps for the day and headed for the pub.

As we made our getaway there was plenty of opportunity to drink in as much of the scenery as possible. The light was fading fast, but everyone seem buoyed with the time spent together and safe in the knowledge that what ever challenges we faced in our individual endeavours, we were not alone and very much part of the Happy Startup tribe.

how can you reignite your creative spark?

Like Simon, it's time we fill our days with experiences that help us explore the meaning of work and life to re-plot our path and keep checking in on the direction we're heading.

It's all too easy to trap ourselves in an office environment 9 to 5 without regularly reflecting on progress made and where we want to be. 

How can you start reigniting your creative spark? Consider joining us on our next founders workshop to begin developing ideas and meaningful connections. Or if you feel like you need to commit to a long weekend of creative solitude apply for a place at Summercamp or our week long mountain retreat in the stunning french alps.

There are many simple ways you can find creative solitude in the next few days:

  • Get back to nature, a park will do if you’re in the City
  • Unplug from tech
  • Switch off all phones
  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Go for a walk or run
  • Go on a slow drive

If you’re thinking that there’s no way you’ll have time for any of these how about trying the following:

  • Watching less TV
  • Getting up a little earlier in the morning
  • Reduce time spent on email
  • Limiting your social media use
  • Doing less stuff
“Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.” Leo Babauta

Make time in your routine to unplug, get back to the things that matter and you'll see the difference it makes on yourself, your project and the outside world.

Read next: When you put love in, you get love back ››