As hard as it is to wrap our minds around it — life is seasonal. As humans, we often try to ensure that the vital aspects of our lives remain in fair proportion to one another. We work for 8 hours, spend 8 hours at home, and then sleep for the other third of our day. That’s the goal, right? To keep everything equal in the importance pecking order, no matter what?
It doesn’t work that way. Not even close.
Try as we may, certain elements of our lives will be dominant at different points. While we want to fully appreciate everything going on around us, we cannot. In fact, to try would only guarantee stunted progress across all domains.
Leverage Your Season
We’re supposed to place our intense focus on certain objectives, usually at the expense of others, so that we can achieve goals. For me, I’m in the season of business growth. I complete client work, improve my infrastructure, or both almost every day. I think about it constantly and will chew the ear off anyone that doesn’t run away. It’s become my obsession.
And it’s produced results. 8 months ago, I got my first paid writing gig. It was a $50 article. I’m now billing several thousand dollars per month and I’m still growing rapidly. It’s exciting!
This boom, this season, however, has taken a toll on some of the other elements of my life. I knew it would.
I started hearing “you’re constantly working.” Or, “when are you going to finish school?” It bothered me to hear these things. The messengers weren’t wrong.
Blend Your Seasons
So what was I supposed to do? The success of my new business is imperative to maintaining a good quality of life for my family and achieving longer-term goals. I couldn’t pump the breaks too hard or make too drastic of a course correction.
But I realized that even seasons have unusual, unseasonal pockets within them. When I lived in New England, we’d always hope for an Indian summer to prolong the warmth just a little bit longer.
When it happened, we had a summer’s day inside of our autumn. We were blending the seasons. But– we knew that in a few days (at the most), it would be fall again.
This metaphor was my answer. In order to get the most out of my current season without letting everything else crumble around me, I knew I had to blend my seasons. I knew I had to inject intentional pockets of other endeavors into my business-laden schedule.
To do this, I:
- booked a vacation back to see my family in MA. Though it’s more than two months away, I still feel like I took a giant step in getting my family back into the fold.
- started calling my parents once per week and my grandmothers about once per month. (I still need to be better about this!)
- scheduled at least 5 hours per week to work on my doctoral studies. I really need to finish this degree. It’s cost a lot of time and money. And, even though I’m not sure what to do with the sheepskin, I need to make good on a promise that I made to myself and others to get it done!
- take at least a full day off to hang out at home. No business stuff. No academic research. Brain. Is. Off.!
I’m still pretty early on in these endeavors, but I hope that they help me effectively tend to the other important bits of my life. I don’t pretend that I will have balance. 80% of my waking hours will still be business focused. However, it’s not the only thing in my life and I can’t treat it as such.
You Blend How You Can
When my father owned his pressure washing business in the 1990’s, I believe he grappled with blending seasons, too. I was a young kid and he wanted to spend time with me. But, the business was a main source of income for the family, and as a sole-proprietorship, Dad was in charge of its success.
So, what did he do? On the weekends, he took me to jobs. I’d get up early, round up a few small toys, and climb into the company truck. We’d stop and get fast food for either breakfast or lunch and I’d watch him wash things — mostly tractor trailers and fleets of cars.
Sometimes, he’d let me do the rinse cycle. The wand that sprayed the chemicals and water was as big as I was and the pressure would shove me back when I squeezed the trigger. It was a ton of fun.
Up until just now, I didn’t realize what Dad was doing. But now I know. Our working weekends together was him blending his seasons. I’m so glad that he did.
And even though breaking focus from my biz is hard to do (just like my father trying to teach a 7 year old how to pressure wash… missed a spot!), I know that I will be glad that I blended my seasons, too.
Years from now, I want to say that I’m successful in all areas of my life. To do that, they all need at least some attention. And, once my business hits a certain point and I’ve reached certain financial milestones, a new season will emerge. That’s just life!
Tell me: What season are you in? Do you struggle incorporating the other critical parts of your life?