A few times a year, I have the honor and privilege of training 25 world-changing leaders on how to align your life and business with the seasons and cycles so that you are more successful, more in-the-flow, and all-around happier. (If you’re interested in being at the next training, let me know!).
Whenever I teach this, the room is blown away by the power of living and working in attunement to the Earth.
It is life-changing.
And inevitably there is also some initial disbelief on what the cold, dark, bare Winter could ever teach about life and business.
Most folks shun the Winter and the dark, anxiously waiting for the warm, pastel days of Spring. But the truth is that there is a wealth of gifts the Winter has to offer you, and you are absolutely missing out on a lot (plus literally stunting your business growth) without honoring and attuning to this powerful season.
Here are some of my favorite lessons from Winter:
Rest is Sacred and Necessary for Re-Birth
Nature created a full season dedicated to very short days and very long nights – a signal to all of nature to rest, to hibernate, and to honor sleep. Winter gives permission to all species of vegetable and animal to take time off from working and outward growth to regenerate.
Yet, as human beings, we skip over this. We can understand intellectually that the Earth needs downtime in order to bloom again in the Spring, but somehow most of us forget that we as human beings need this, too.
We think that if we slow down, if we take time off, that everything will fall apart. That our business will take a hit. That we’ll lose everything we’ve worked so hard to create.
But in fact, the exact opposite is true.
When you don’t take enough time off, when you don’t truly and fully rest (instead of just giving it lip service), you:
- become disconnected from your inner wisdom and therefore can’t make the best decisions
- stop enjoying the work you do
- aren’t fully present and in all your power & brilliance
If you honor the Winter and the deep biological, spiritual, emotional, and mental need for rest (and occasionally for extended rest), you are able to approach your life and your work with your full wisdom, brilliance, and energy…and everything flows much better.
Dreams and Visions happen in the Dark
Successful businesses are rooted in your ability to have a creative, effective and aligned Vision. And at each phase of your business growth, you are required to dream up the next level of your vision.
So many people love to vision, yet they forget this powerful Winter lesson: When do you dream the most? In the dark, at night, when you’re not so BUSY, and when the daylight doesn’t make things so clear.
Busy can be great, but when you’re busy, you are full. And when you are full, you don’t really have much space to vision anything new.
Clarity is wonderful, but clarity also has clear boundaries and limits. The dark has no boundaries and has no limits. You can’t see where things begin and where things end in the dark. Plus, it’s a little chaotic.
All of this is what makes the visioning MOST effective when you slow down, when you sleep more, and when you let go of activities that aren’t necessary. Winter-time asks us to do all this.
Let go of Anything & Everything that Doesn’t Serve
When you look at a tree in the Wintertime, you think it’s dead because it’s not growing any blossoms, and it’s let go of all its leaves.
In fact, trees grow the MOST in the Wintertime.
How? Well, that’s the time of year that the tree’s roots are growing quickest and strongest underground, giving it strength, energy, and resilience for the next cycle of blossoms in the Spring.
The reason the roots can grow so dramatically in Winter is because the tree has released and let go of any excess weight and functions it no longer needs. So, the bare trees are bare for a sacred and important reason.
Same is true for your business.
Think about how many “unnecessary” things you hold on to in your business: offerings that no longer reflect who you are, clients that annoy you, team members that aren’t aligned anymore, old ways of doing things.
You’re probably holding on to all those things that no longer serve because you’re scared of letting go because you don’t know what you would replace those things with, because you think you’ll stop growing if you do.
I’m sure the tree has some momentary fear of letting go of its beautiful leaves. But it “knows” that the leaves have already served their purpose, and that they would simply be dead weight if they weren’t shed. The tree knows that without the excess baggage it can get to the deep work of growing its roots.
Can you imagine what you could accomplish if you did that in your business?
Trust the Mystery
Generations ago, before modern technology, humankind was much more connected to the Earth. The bounty of the Autumn Harvest was amazing, and it was also a little scary to step into the bareness and non-Harvest of the Winter.
What if the Harvest ran out? What if it stayed cold forever and the Spring wouldn’t come again?
But after the Winter, ALWAYS came Spring (and with it new bounties and harvests). And so, people learned to embrace and trust the mystery of Winter. They learned that there is a flow to life and productivity even in the moments when it seems like everything is cold and dead.
And this lesson is totally essential for any business owner.
Hopefully, in your business, there is a lot of “Summertime” energy – lots of highs and successes and outward growth and forward movement. But every business (mine included) inevitably goes through some Winter phases – phases where business seems to slow down or things don’t go as planned or you are fully in the mystery and unclear of what’s next.
Instead of hating on these Winter phases or being scared or them…embrace them. Don’t rush to get to Spring. Understand that your business grows in cycles, just like everything else on Earth and that the darkness, with the Mystery, is a beautiful and safe place to be.
Imagine how different your life and business would be if instead of stressing, you could trust the mystery.
I’d love to hear from you on what you’ve learned from this article and how you are going to use the profound lessons of Winter to be happier and more successful in your life and business.
With love to you and wishes for a profound and sacred Winter season,