Okay, so I wanna know who screwed up the weather order and signed us up for another few weeks of winter?
This weekend I have definitely been walking around with a little extra pep in my step now that the weather is warming up. I gotta admit though, the nights still have me wondering if maybe the extra cold snap has been the universe…or the weather…sending us a little reminder to chill, both literally and figuratively. With two years of covid, we’ve all spent a lot of time busy with administration and adjustments to pivot with the global changes the pandemic has thrown at us. I wonder if, like me, some of that busy-ness has felt like time just hustling to tread water, rather than actually getting anywhere?
So why is it that we feel like if we’re not going a hundred miles an hour we’re not doing enough?
I was thinking about this on the weekend while wandering through my garden. It got me thinking about the change of season upon us, and that made me think about the seasons of business. Just like nature has seasons, so too does business. And, just like nature’s season, each business season has a purpose and a flow of its own. If you’re a spiritual person, you’ll know that the element for winter is water. It’s all about following the flow of the world around us and working with the current, rather than against it, which makes sense, right?
When we think of winter, we think of cosy blankets, warm drinks, and curling up in front of the fire. We think of hibernation and looking after ourselves (so we don’t get the flu, or can fight it when we get it). We cook ourselves comfort food and wrap ourselves in warmth, snuggling close to loved ones while we reminisce on warmer days. Winter is a time of slowness and planning, setting goals and dreaming of the adventures of spring and summer. In fact, Scottish writer, Ali Smith suggests that that’s the exactly what winter is all about:
That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.Ali Smith
Winter in business in the same. It’s about recalibration and simplification. It’s a time to rest in preparation for the refreshment of spring. This can sit a little uneasily with us go-go-go types, because we’re so used to equating the word ‘busy’ with ‘success’. But we need to learn that it’s okay to slow down. To step back and see what in your business is important. In fact, winter is the perfect time to see what you can optimise and what you can just let go of, so it’s not holding you back.
We’ve done this recently at Foodie Shots, and come to realise the time of year we had pinpointed as our winter was, in fact, nowhere near the case. In fact, our winter sits at the opposite time to many other small businesses. On the other hand, our summer falls in many of our clients’ winter/spring season, as this is when they take the time to regenerate and refresh their branding and content material, ready for their own busy summers.
Speaking of readying yourself for summer, here’s a quick activity I did at a recent business event. It’s a great way to take stock when everything seems just that little bit too much. Ask yourself the following questions:
What’s your top three goals?
Why are they so important?
What are the success metrics that will make you feel like you’ve achieved each goal?
How can you achieve each of these?
Set yourself a time frame to achieve each goal. Why not aim for Christmas—that’s ten weeks. Once you’ve achieved those three, repeat the process with three more goals. If you’re finding one goal a bit tricky, break it down again into three goals of its own.
When you’re so busy, it can seem futile to spend time on something that isn’t actively achieving a goal. And it can seem even sillier to stop and rest when things are slow, because shouldn’t you be just working harder to create business? But perhaps the Roman poet, Ovid, said it best…
Winter is that time of rest. It is a time to reflect, to think, to solidify, to be quiet, and be ready for the rebirth and bountiful growth spring offers. When we allow ourselves to sit comfortably within the quiet, we can hear the whispers of clarity we’ve been missing.
So use this slowness as a time to re-energise, ready for Spring’s bountiful business. That way, when spring does hit, in life and business, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with purpose and passion.