Too much Spring and Summer can be exhausting… I love Spring, it’s my favourite season, but it’s telling that it can only be sustained for a quarter of the year in the natural world.
Inspired by some lovely autumnal days in North Yorkshire, late orange flowers, and the fruiting of red berries and haws in the hedgerows, I have been reflecting on how the seasons could inspire us in the way we utilise our energy.
How much attention do we pay to the ways we’re using our energy in a day, week, month, as introverted, sensitive, empathic leaders? Or even on a project?
And what kind of energy?
I love the seasonal metaphor for how we could approach this, and I believe energetic balance and paying attention to it is so much more important for us more introverted, sensitive, reflective types. We need the mix, we cannot function at our best without time to reflect and consolidate.
Here’s my thinking on how the seasons might look for leaders:
Spring – ideas, brainstorming, starting, planning, mind maps, changing approaches
Summer – being visible, promoting, presenting, collaborating, connecting with others, efficiency, streamlining
Autumn – completion, reflecting on success, reflecting on key learnings, quality assurance
Winter – rest, reflect, evaluate, connecting patterns and ideas.
Yet we tend to spend most of our working, leadership lives in spring or summer – maybe, with a sigh of relief, dipping into Autumn sporadically. But the ‘go, go, go’ of the extrovert working world tends to keep us in the first two seasons. And for us introvert, sensitive and empathic leaders that takes a toll – at best we are not recognising nor utilising our strengths – at worst we’re exhausted and overwhelmed.
But as a leader we cannot spend all our time in winter either or we won’t get much done – it’s the right mix that is critical.
Pieces of work also have their seasons; you might have the best idea for a project, development, improvement, but it’s just not its time. It’s brilliant, but it needs to rest in winter for now. There’s no organisational energy for it, no impetus, no urgency, other things will take priority. But you know what, we introverts and sensitives don’t put the idea in a sealed box – it mellows and develops as it rests. Our brilliant brains process unnoticed – it wasn’t quite ready, those final connections weren’t made. Whilst ‘in winter’ you listen to someone else’s challenges and reflect on how they could be helped by your idea, think of that collaborator whilst you’re having a bath… And the day comes that the environment changes, something happens the project will solve, or you have the energy and space. It’s Spring!
So whatever season the natural world is in where you are, here are some reflection or journal prompts for your personal seasonal energy…
Where do you currently spend most of your energy, seasonally?
Which season do you long to be in more, but just can’t find the time?
What is stopping you?