Seasons are a simple way for us to compartmentalize things. We have the four main calendar seasons, which in Canada, are very distinct from each other. There often seems to be an excitement in the air as each new season approaches. It is as if a restart has been granted to us. We begin to look for signs that the new season really is coming. We set some new goals, look forward to some old traditions and we even change our wardrobe. Our outward appearance starts to match the inner changes we feel. We notice the tiniest bits of evidence to support our belief that a change is on the way.
What I find interesting about these seasons is that although each of us has our favourite and least favourite season, we all seem to be able to find something good and something less favourable to say about every season. I wonder if this is because we can count on each season to eventually come to an end. We know that we are not stuck with it forever!
In our everyday lives, we also have ‘seasons’. These do not follow the days of the calendar. Unlike Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter who seem at least to coordinate themselves for all the residents of each region of the country, our life seasons are very individual. Neighbours living side by side can be experiencing two completely different seasons. One could be in the season of new life, celebrating the birth of a child, while the other could be in the season of the empty nest.
There are many ways that I use seasons in Coaching. One way is for me to have a client tell me what season is upcoming for them in their life. This gives them power to choose what they wish to create for themselves. It does not mean that life will not take its usual twists and turns. Nor does it mean that every single day of their ‘season’ will be filled with what they are looking for. Neither do the seasons that nature provides. Many a golfer has been disappointed because Mother Nature was late in bringing warm weather and open courses. However, these devoted links-people are still able to find ways to put as much golf as possible into the days they have. Knowing that they are in golf season gives them a sense of who they are ‘being’. It gives them a choice about what attitude they choose to bring with them.
Sometimes I ask clients to look back on a season and have them name it. For me, I could have called the last six or seven weeks the season of permission. I gave myself permission to be less structured and to try some new things. I started swimming in our local lake, we biked on the pathways and stopped for brunch, and this week I tried paddle boarding for the very first time. I LOVED it. Some things of course I kept the same. Chocolate peanut-butter ice cream is not going anywhere – it’s not silly season.
An important thing to do when naming a season after the fact is to make sure that you find the gift that the season offered you. There is always a gift.
One of my clients uses the idea of seasons to talk about the permanence or fleetingness of things in her life. She has started a new job and she told me, ‘I have the feeling that this job is just meant to be a season.’ How much easier it makes it for her to accept a less than perfect work situation when she understands that this job is not her forever job.
Originally, I was going to name my upcoming season, my season of Bravery. As I have reflected on it, I notice that this feels like it is a ‘should’. I feel like I should be brave and that I should model bravery. When a name has a heaviness to it or a feeling obligation associated with it, it might not be the right name – or at least not the right name for this particular season. So, I’m choosing to name my season, the season of opportunity. Right now, that just sounds so much easier. I know I have several great opportunities coming my way and I want to approach them with the feeling of optimism, of gratitude and of ease.
As we notice the changes in our environment that are signalling a change in nature’s seasons, take some time to chose what season you want to create for yourself.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What is this season offering me?’ Once you have your answer, your season will be named!
Workplaces and individuals go through seasons. Book a coaching session with Elizabeth to make sure you have the tools to create the seasons you enjoy the most! Elizabeth provides professional and personal leadership coaching. She facilitates custom workshops for teams, groups and businesses.