I’ve been thinking lately about how ingrained our culture is to focus solely on outcomes.
Too often we expect to produce fruits without caring for the roots.
Years ago I recall attending an event where the speaker opened the three-day training talking about the seasons being a metaphor for life. Specifically, I recall him giving a lot of attention to our metaphorical Winter being a time for stillness and rest.
I still remember the visceral reaction I had to this discussion. I was annoyed!
I hadn’t attended the event to hear how I should be still and rest during my proverbial Winter. I was there to learn how I could be in a state of perpetual production.
If there was any season I wanted to learn about it was how to work harder in Summer so I could produce and harvest non-stop in Fall… and Winter… and Spring.
I had just had my third child. He was only three months old at the time. My thoughts based on the models I’d observed were that the only way I could run my business, meet with clients, raise a family and maintain a healthy marriage was to be in a state of perpetual production.
In hindsight, I didn’t want to learn to flow with the seasons. I wanted to know how I could defy them.
I don’t need to tell you what happens when you continue to plant the same crop over and over again without ever giving it a break. The crop suffers as the soil is depleted. Eventually, there is no harvest.
Not long after that event, I recall my body taking on an intense infection. I remember laying on the floor next to my infant son. My body was so fatigued and depleted that it couldn’t produce food for him or anything else for that matter.
I was stunned, but I shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t the first time I’d overextended myself and not appreciated a more balanced rhythm.
Fast forward over twelve years later… I respect the seasons.
I’m completely clear on the fact that we are not meant to be in perpetual production. No matter how much our ego and domesticated self says we can. Even if we believe we’re the exception to the rule.
Looking back, I realize now I’ve made mistakes in how hard I pushed myself and others. I’m certain I unknowingly missed moments with my kids and family along the way as a result.
What I know deep down is that a well-lived life is no longer measured by a stack of achievements but a stack of presence-filled moments.
As my first child departs for college next month, I am respecting the season I’m in and am setting an intention to experience the moments until then with:
- More connection instead of direction
- More calm energy instead of tense energy
- More creativity instead of routine
- More trust and less fear
- More happiness focus than success focus
I’ve learned that when we listen and give our brains, bodies, and spirits a break, it not only allows the systems to replenish but also allows our subconscious to work on creating something new.
If you have been pushing for an extended period, I invite you to challenge culture’s approach to always be producing and take time to cultivate — and maybe even restore — those things that are the source of your success and happiness.
Enjoy your season!
All my best,