At Seasons Leadership, we use the seasonal metaphor to help describe where we are in the cycle of change in our life or a specific aspect of life. Our overall life, relationships, careers, projects, visions/missions, and values go through seasonal change and growth at various rates and rhythms. At the beginning of each season, we discuss characteristics of that season to provide inspiration and clarity, but the metaphor is not tied to the calendar.
In Seattle, where I live, today we will only see about 8.5 hours of daylight. We are deep in the winter in the northern hemisphere. The clouds, which are ever present this time of year, make it feel darker, even earlier. I feel like hibernating! This seasonal atmosphere makes it easy to reflect on the metaphor of the season of winter in my life/work/relationships.
You are probably in “winter” if you have decided to end something but don't know what is next. (This decision could be about anything important to you: job, marriage, church, friendship.) This "not knowing space" can make you tired, confused, frustrated, or even anxious – mainly because you think you should "know." In the West especially, we feel there is something wrong if we don't have the answer or if we don't feel confident, energized, and excited.
There is nothing wrong.
Winter is the time to rest, and it is essential to do so. Take a clue from nature. Notice the trees and their bare limbs. It looks like nothing is happening, but trees conserve energy through miraculous cellular adjustments. At the same time, their roots gather the soil's nutrients and water to have enough energy to grow buds for new leaves and flowers in the spring. Without the winter, trees would not have the energy to renew themselves.
You are the same: miraculous winter can transform you.
Open yourself to transformative change
How we think about winter changes our response. If you are feeling the pull to act faster than you are ready, remind yourself that you are in winter and allow yourself the grace of time. Consider activities that will renew and refresh – not deliver results. Create and honor quiet time for yourself, where you can reflect on what you really want, journal, create art, read, or connect deeply with those you love. If this is new for you, it may feel awkward or selfish. But give it some time, and it will get easier.
You will be rewarded with new energy and perspective when winter ends.
During the holiday season, there are forces all around us that can divert our attention from our winter work. It is challenging, and probably not even the best approach, to totally shut out the world while you reflect and renew. But notice if you are staying so busy or starting new projects to avoid quiet time and self-reflection. If you find this is the case, slow down and take more time for yourself.
Debbie and I are doing our “winter work” actions to achieve our Seasons Leadership mission to amplify and accelerate positive leadership impact, responsibility and growth. We are reflecting on what has been working well and what we want to provide in the future (more on this soon!).
Many coaching clients come to us during a “winter phase” because they feel confused and frustrated and want support. A common situation is the client has decided they are going to change jobs, but they don’t know what they want to do next. By supporting our clients through winter, and not jumping to quick solutions, we find that our clients create new directions that are more satisfying and long lasting. If you are considering a coach to support your winter work, contact us at www.seasonsleadership.com fora free 30-minute introductory session.
Let winter transform you this season.