Fall is here… The days are getting shorter and shorter, nature is slowing down, preparing to protect itself from winter and to be reborn in spring. We, on the other hand, are moving faster and faster, faced with pressing issues of transformation, management, and objectives. But rather than speeding up, we should follow the movement of nature: take the time to prune, to protect, to plant…
For many, even after a welcome and restful summer, mental and physical fatigue, constraints and tensions, are already here. The present keeps on racing and, preoccupied as we are by all our deadlines, we no longer look out the window, we take, without thinking, a warmer jacket and an umbrella. And yet, we should…
Because freeing ourselves from the seasons does not work, they always catch up with us. Probably because they have things to tell us, to teach us, to help us better manage our energy level and our obligations. They show us what to do…
Pruning: making choices to preserve yourself
When autumn comes, the leaves wither little by little, then they fall. Trees separate themselves from what they no longer need to preserve their juice, their vital force and one day be reborn. In the same way, we regularly cut branches for their survival, their beauty, our safety.
Not long ago, I was coaching a general manager who had an employee resisting the necessary changes to complete the reorganization of his entity. He was rejecting the directives. Favoring a collaborative and participative mode, she spent months trying to understand what he wanted, how to best accompany him, how to convince him to adhere, spending a considerable amount of time. One day, to help her unblock the situation, I used the metaphor of nature by asking her what she could prune to install this new organization, just as she does in her garden. After a short time of reflection, almost thinking out loud, she replies, “I have to decide. Because the time and energy I spend trying to get him on board, I don’t spend on others, on those who want to move forward…”
Pruning, making choices, making decisions in order to best implement the transformations, develop its teams and preserve itself… Finally, it means asking ourselves the questions: what can I accept and what must I give up? We can also reflect on our own image. And say to ourselves: “I accept that I am not perfect, my work may not be perfect, I also recognize sometimes that I will not be able to do everything because I am exhausted. I make conscious choices, I “botch things up intelligently”, I manage my files as efficiently as possible, I calibrate my level of requirements to be able to absorb the load and reach my objectives in time.
Protecting: sit back, reflect, prepare for the future
Even if you could ask your rosebush to bloom in winter, it would tell you that it can’t! It is storing up the reserves it vitally needs to bloom in the spring. So do as your rosebush does: say no. Accept that you can’t be there on all fronts, and ensure that you are able to act.
To do this, you can set limits in your agenda, clearly define the times you are available, and make this known. If you are asked to take part in a project for which you certainly have all the required expertise, but which is neither strategic nor important for your development, take a step back before taking or refusing, and check that it respects your schedule. Solicitations are just as pleasant and rewarding. Because when you say no on the one hand, you say yes on the other.
Yes to your own moments dedicated to your personal and professional evolution, to nourish yourself with moments of reflection, analysis, meditation…
Yes to moments intended to protect your team’s strengths so that it remains effective, to define its medium-term needs, despite excessive pressure on performance objectives.
Because if everyone is on fire, what will happen two months later? There will be no one left. You have to be able to give a push and, at the same time, guarantee your strengths in the long term, starting by analyzing the conditions of this “vegetative rest”.
Seeding: acting while letting time work
When we dream of a garden or a balcony covered with daffodils, tulips and narcissus, we have to imagine it, create it and plant the bulbs months earlier. With the obvious assumption that we will not have an immediate result despite the few hours that we will have devoted to it.
So why don’t we allow ourselves this time in our daily lives? Projecting ourselves into the future is however necessary, as our beautiful daffodils will prove to us in spring.
Allowing yourself this time would be, for example, sharing moments with people in your network, meeting others, giving them time… Or maybe train, enrich your skills, perhaps take a position with less responsibility to change your expertise, broaden your abilities and your potential in the long run.
Planting seeds can also mean helping people in your team to develop, giving them time through feedback, training them. And thus tomorrow, delegate more tasks, thus lightening your schedule. This is all the more essential in the context of transformation and reorganization projects.
The benefits will never be certain, never immediate. Just like a bulb that has been planted, the uncertainty remains… Will it emerge from the ground? What will be its size, its color, its fragrance? Whatever the case, we will always have the happiness of having given life and energy to those around us and put in place certain actions that will blossom little by little, in one way or another, and that will be useful to us in the spring when we will be able to be more energetic.
What to prepare for in the fall in 3 key questions:
- What do I have to give up to (re)create a healthy foundation?
In my management style, my organization and that of my team, my relationships, my professional image…
- What do I need to protect to get through the winter smoothly?
My energy, my agenda with time for reflection and personal activities, time for my team, my priorities and those of my colleagues…
- What can I plant, put in gestation?
Projects for myself and my team, an evolution in the organization, a desired transformation, a career transition…
Nature’s Way, Karyn Prentice