Winter, you may say – isn’t that obvious? 😉
Well, while it is, in fact, still winter – and our family sure does love long winters here in Colorado – I think personally and professionally, it’s valuable to step back and assess which season of life we are experiencing. That way, we don’t expect it to be “spring or summer” when it is actually “winter” and we can “dress” accordingly and live into the season fully.
Here are a few types of seasons we may be feeling. See if you can identify with any:
Life is not continually full of success as many Instagram feeds try to sell. It is mostly full of problems. They come in all shapes and sizes. When we are growing a business or seeking to grow personally, there is much struggle involved, often times without any assurance of success or relief in sight.
During these times, I’ve found it helpful to hold on to the big picture: What am I shooting for? Why is this important? Faith and belief are required to push through. And then, I have to trust the process and know that the struggle is actually the most important part of the journey.
“To achieve excellence requires hard work, discipline, routines that can become boring, the continual frustrations that accompany learning, adversities that test every measure of our heart and soul, and above all, courage.” – Brendon Burchard, High Performing Habits
“You reap WHAT you sow.”
This may be obvious to everyone else, but this insight really impacted me this month. You cannot expect to reap great wealth when you are sowing great healthy habits – you reap great health. 🙂 Likewise, if you want valuable relationships, make consistent efforts to invest in new friendships with people you admire personally and professionally. If you want to be seen as more of an expert in your field, invest in all the education and experience you can, reading books, attending workshops, putting your new knowledge into action.
When we are in seasons of sowing, just like with struggle, we don’t often get to experience immediate “reaping.” Don’t let that stop you from sowing. While we can’t control the timing, we can trust that there will be a reward, so hang on.
Pruning just doesn’t sound like a pleasant word. I picture shears and pain and trash. Yet, it is the only way for plants to grow best. I recently read that a gardener prunes 90% of the vines for maximum growth. If we are wise, we’d be open to the same measure of reflection and pruning.
That may look like a “Marie Kondo” exercise with material possessions and other commitments. What things are not serving you well that you can shed in order to focus on and maximize the most important things?
It can also be more emotionally painful, like taking a good long look in the mirror and being honest about character issues, bad habits, or past wounds that needs to heal properly. Seek out loving friends that can walk with you during this process. Be encouraged knowing that growth will indeed come, and that you will bear even more fruit once pruned.
We’ve had several colleagues who have exited their businesses recently, selling them for a profit after years and years of toil and stress. They have earned a great reward. They usually take a while to catch their breath and then figure out what they want to do next.
Sometimes things come crumbling down after a personal loss, bankruptcy, health crisis, lawsuit, or divorce. It takes time to recover from those setbacks, and it’s worth it to allot the time to heal, take stock, and then decide how to rebuild.
A move is sometimes a perfect opportunity to rebuild that offers a tangible fresh start. Committing to some key habits will also help you rebuild, one brick at a time. We always quote James Altucher who encourages us to take care of every aspect of our being – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Do the do. Daily.
This is a fun stage of life to be in. You did the work to increase your capacity. You sowed and struggled and are now reaping the rewards. We have experienced that in business, and we are also actually feeling a semblance of that in life with our teenagers as they are competing at high levels of snowboarding that require much more focus, travel, and higher stakes. We’ve earned these opportunities as a family and are so grateful.
But scaling can feel overwhelming. You are just trying to keep your head above water and ride the wave.
When you can, step back and enjoy the ride, appreciate the reward and focus on gratitude.
And in business, it may be the best time to outsource more – hire a virtual admin to help with the extra details; hire a coach to help guide you through; and hire new personnel to manage the increased load. You’ll reach that next plateau before you know it and be able to catch your breath again.
I grew up in a place that didn’t experience many seasons – it felt like summer all year! So maybe there’s a part of me that used to expect more consistency out of life. But I’ve really come to appreciate and embrace the variety in the natural seasons of life, personally and professionally.