An interesting thing has happened to me since I have left the corporate world. Things always got quiet or shut down altogether around the year-end holidays, and then there was a specific “going back to work day”, which was typically the first Monday in January. It was a day of getting back into the swing of things, reconnecting and starting to once again make things happen!
Since leaving the corporate world, I have felt very conflicted on this “going back to work day” in January, as my experience has been the opposite of what I have always known to be what was “supposed to be happening”, and yet my expectation for myself had remained the same as if I were still in that environment. As you might imagine this has created conflict. Last year it manifested itself in my getting sick and staying that way (with three different rounds of illnesses) for almost two months. This year, it led to frustration and a little bit of disappointment….at first.
Then I had conversations with three different people in different areas of my life, which caused a positive shift in my beginning-of-year experience this year. All of these individuals gave me the same feedback: Everything is unfolding as it should, and winter is a time of incubation, growing seeds, and percolating and not a time energetically to “make things happen”.
I was advised to “trust the process” and if my to do list was making me feel like I wasn’t doing enough or accomplishing enough then I should change the items on my list to things that I could accomplish (even if seemingly nonproductive things like “taking a nap” made the list), and to honor myself and my needs in the process. This is a 180 from the world I grew up in and worked in for 18 years. It makes perfect sense, is so incredibly intuitive, and yet also felt so “wrong” to me…until I was “given permission” from others that this reframing was not only ok but is in alignment what is supposed to be happening during this time of the year.
What I have come to learn is that as I have become more in tune with my natural rhythms and energies over the past couple of years, how I am feeling at the start of the year now is actually “normal” and the “way things should be”, and my disconnect has been coming from an idea in my head that “things should feel differently” or that “I should be doing things differently.” Isn’t it funny the way we do this to ourselves?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned through both my own experiences and through all of the clients I have worked with is that there is no “right” or “wrong” when you are running your own business. That we can listen to ourselves and our own rhythms and make decisions that are in alignment with what feels true to us during this period of time, and trust that we and our business will be better off for it. That the only person who can make us wrong is ourselves. That it is often more productive to go with the flow of what is happening naturally than to fight it, and when we stop fighting it and accept that everything is unfolding as it should, we move through it quicker. Have you ever heard the saying: “What you resist, persists”?
When you feel like you are pushing a boulder up a hill (or trying to make things happen when energetically it just isn’t the right timing and it just isn’t working), it is important to pause and ask a series of questions.
1. Are you working on the right things?
Is what you are trying to “make happen” in alignment with who you are and what you most want in your life (and business)? Maybe you are focused on networking when in reality you would be better served taking advantage of the downtime to create a new product or service offering. Maybe you are trying to engage others when you need to instead be focused on taking better care of yourself. Maybe you are trying to find new clients when you could be using this time to streamline your business processes so when the new clients do come, you are ready to provide seamless service.
2. Is there another path that you can take to where you are trying to go?
If Path A isn’t working as you had hoped, can you hop over to Path B and see how it moves along? If not Path B, how about Path C? Which path puts you into a creative flow and feels the most nurturing, and thus life giving and productive? Trust that that is the right path for you to be on right now, even if it seems counter-intuitive.
3. Are you hearing very similar feedback from different people in different conversations?
Talk to people you trust and be open about what you are experiencing. Are you hearing feedback you may not be expecting to hear from multiple people? Are you hearing the same messages in different contexts and conversations? What do you do when you notice these things?
What is your winter-time experience? Do you feel drawn to hibernate and go within and get quiet? If so, do you honor those feelings? Do you practice self-care? Do you go with the flow? Or do you ignore those feelings and push ahead anyway? If so, how does that feel and what results do you get?
Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great week!