As the holiday season winds down, and the “undecorating” begins… as you stand in all the shiny new possibilities that a new year brings, having read more than your share of “how to make this your best year ever” blogs/posts/articles… as you wade through the sea of ever-mounting expectations — both those of others as well as your own… I would simply offer the wisdom/solace/perspective of Ecclesiastes. For everything there is a season.
What season is this for you? Is it a time for taking bold steps, or for building stability? Is it a time for focusing internally or externally? Is it a time for endings, and the corresponding new beginnings, or a time to stay the course? It is a season with great clarity and focus, or one with restless uncertainty? A season may or may not be of your choosing. Regardless, you get to decide how to approach it. A few thoughts to consider:
- Recognize that there is not a right or a wrong season.
I recently attended a retirement party for a long-time friend who is roughly the same age as me. A retirement party! While we have shared many life experiences, and I am extremely happy for her, we are not in the same season. She is entering one of her choosing, and I am carrying on in mine. Neither is right or wrong, they are simply different, and that is okay. Envying someone else’s season does nothing to maximize your own. When you as a leader can embrace the season you are in, it becomes easier for your people to do likewise.
- Sometimes you have to endure a season, and look for the lessons it holds.
Leaders are sometimes thrust into seasons they would not choose. That doesn’t mean they can’t control how they will respond. Sitting down and wallowing in “oh poor me land” rarely gets you to the other side. It is fine to acknowledge that the current season stinks, but then a leader has to decide what he or she is going to do about it… whether that means offering themselves or others a measure of grace, clearly articulating the end goal and what you will do to get there, or something else entirely. Making conscious choices about how you will move forward helps you recognize that the current season is just that… a season that will pass, leaving in its wake lessons that can serve you well going forward.
- Just because you aren’t in a specific season now doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.
In our competitive, high-expectation, instant everything world, patience and perspective tend to be in short supply. And yet, in my experience, seasons — either positive or negative — often happen on schedules that are immune to our deadlines or expectations. Making peace and acknowledging where you are may be just what it takes to move toward where you would like to be.
‘Tis the season.