A Unique Valentine’s Day: the Family Executive Retreat

Creating family values in 2020
Our family values have now been placed on a wall we frequently pass by in our home. This will allow us to constantly have them on our minds to ensure we are upholding them on a daily basis.

2019 was such a year of growth for my husband and me. We knew, however, if we wanted 2020 to be bigger and better than 2019, we had to think outside of the box. We needed to not only define our goals clearly but we decided we wanted to create family values that would drive our daily actions.

When it came time to planning out our family goals for 2020 and beyond, we knew we wanted to step up our game. No more of this willy-nilly coming up with one or two goals, slapping them on a Post-it note, calling it a day, only to forget about them a couple months later.

Cue our family executive retreat! Now, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this can be the perfect time to schedule some one-on-one time with your spouse before celebrating your love over a nice dinner! Or you can curl up on the couch after the kiddos go to bed and get to work. The point is…just start the conversation.

The Planning for Our Retreat

I was tasked with creating our agenda. After finding some amazing articles on professional executive retreats, I was able to incorporate those into our schedule and create an agenda more suited towards the familial level.

Our initial goal of our hotel stay was to have a good time and enjoy a nice dinner and drinks without an emotionally unstable, somewhat psychotic three-year old our cute, amazing three-year-old. Yes, that dinner was still a big part of the plan, but prior to that, my husband and I had some great conversation about 2020 and beyond.

The Agenda

You better believe there was an agenda, that may or may not have gone through three edits before getting the final version laminated. (Not even kidding!) It had all the bells and whistles—time stamps of when we were to go to dinner, drinks, talking points, suggestions for activities, and links to the articles I found.  So, what did the agenda include?

2019 Year in Review

This allowed us to do a complete review of 2019. The good, the bad, and the better! As I previously mentioned some of our accomplishments, here’s a more complete list.

  • Paid off $75,319.50 in debt and accumulated no new debt.
  • Had a surrogacy baby that was no relation to either one of us.
  • My husband got a huge promotion to (acting) vice president.
  • Our son was potty-trained.
  • I completed a grueling mental toughness program, #75hard. This program developed traits in me I didn’t know I had: grit, fortitude, determination, discipline, to name a few. (This program was created by Andy Frisella. Go to Instagram and look up the hashtag #75hard.)
  • We sold our Beetle.
  • We kept our son alive.

Planning Our 2020 Goals

Our talking points driving our planning here was financial, health/wellness, our son (Mark), and individual goals. We put a huge emphasis on health/wellness because we want that to be the theme of 2020.

We wrote on a Post-it note “Health & Wellness” and slapped that on the middle of the poster board. Then we color coded Dustin’s (my husband) individual goals, my goals, and then shared goals.

Next up were our finances. What would our payoff goal be? After running some numbers, our goal of money to go towards debt is $30,000.

We did this for every facet of our life—personal, professional, individual, as a couple, as parents, and our son.

Goals for 2021 & Beyond

We knew we wanted to have a vision projected out further than just one year. Where will we buy a house? What ISD do we want Mark to be a part of? Will we do another surrogacy? Will we have another baby? What types of vacations do we want to take when we are debt free? Knowing this was much further down the road, we purely stuck to a conversation here.

Focusing on our Family Values

This was the big topic that I was most excited to work through together. Creating family values in 2020 was the highest priority on our agenda for the night. We started by creating a huge list of words that we wanted to live by, and then we narrowed it down to the top seven.

Creating Our Family Values in 2020

As a result when creating our family values, we decided we did not want to just have nouns. We wanted our family values to be actionable. What do I mean?

Let’s take the words honesty and integrity. While those are words we do want to uphold, there is no clear direction with just saying the words honesty and integrity.

Below is an outline of our keywords that we wanted to create an actionable statement for so that they could become a part of our family values.

  1. Honesty/Integrity
  2. Be open-minded
  3. Work ethic, hard work, and respect
  4. Kindness
  5. Volunteerism
  6. Family Recreation
  7. Financial Independence

After that, we took those nouns and made them actionable.

  1. Do the right thing.
  2. Look at each situation from multiple angles.
  3. Strive to be better every day.
  4. Be kind to everyone.
  5. Find ways to give back to the less fortunate.
  6. Spend quality family time together pursuing various interests.
  7. Live within our means.
This picture was taken during our Executive Retreat. These poster boards represent the first of many of these retreats we plan to take!

The Follow Through

Attending a family executive retreat in 2020 would be for nothing if we didn’t know what our next steps should be. Here is our plan:

  • I have framed our family values. That way we have a daily reminder of what The Robinson Family is all about. Could this change over time? Absolutely! That’s OK!
  • We plan on constantly evaluating our progress individually, as a couple and as a family. How did my actions today uphold our family values?

The communication alone that came from planning and working through this with my husband meant more to me than a nice dinner sans baby.

My suggestion is to get creative and have a blast planning your life away (or at least for 2020!). And, if you need someone to support you in your endeavors, please reach out to me! I’d love to cheer you on.

Want to see my updates on our family values and more? Join me on my Instagram page, taking KARA myself, and check out my website. See you there!

Kara Robinson
Kara was born in Florida, lived in Washington State and California as a Navy brat, and then settled in Jacksonville, Florida. That was until work moved her to Texas. Her (then) boyfriend followed her out, and there they got engaged, married, and welcomed their son, Mark, in 2016. Then Kara was a surrogate and welcomed her surro-baby in September 2019. Her favorite hobbies including finding adventures (aka free things to do) on weekends with her family around town, spending time at her parents in Oklahoma, fitness and working towards paying off their debt. You can read more about her family, fitness and financial freedom journey on her website - Taking KARA Myself.