Despite the hype and pressure around New Years resolutions, when it comes to making real change happen in the life of a person or a business, summer vacations are much more potent and enabling. While the phenomenon may be more confined to businesses in the parts of the world with short summers, the culture and mood created by the need to capitalize on the warmth and comfort of the season has to have an effect on any business that has any connection to these areas.
New Year Lacks The Energy and Spirit of Change
The significance of a new number on the calendar aside, The dead of winter and post-spending spree is a lousy time to expect great change from ourselves and others. The time to learn something new and make fundamental change is not when the pressure of survival is upon our culture and when short days and cold climates sap the energy from our people and have many of us longing for a vacation or for spring to arrive.
New Years is a time of reflection, for sure. It may even be a good time to let go of things that aren't working. For many businesses, it's a time to let go of relationships that aren't working also, which doesn't always help the mood of the business community either.
We shut down in the winter. We hibernate. We get cozy and focus on family and others who are closest to us. We sit by roaring fires, read books, and eat "comfort" food.
Summer Is When We Open Up
Summer is when a good part of our northern societies take vacation, replenish our vitamin D, our recreational pursuits, and our social relationships, and generally open ourselves up to possibilities, new beginnings, and new energy.
Even if we're not among the lucky ones to have vacation time in the summer, those of us who are left to work, generally do so with less chaos, less demanded of us, and there is more support for a social tone to our workday. Business golf days, working remotely on patios, backyards, and even from the cottage are more often tolerated or even encouraged during this season.
The foods we eat tend to be more local, fresh, and nourishing. The air we breathe is more often straight from the outdoor source and the sunlight is warm and comforting.
This is the perfect time of the year to learn something new and take on a new change. This is the time of year to breathe deep and welcome something we have put off for a long time. We all want to return to September energized and ready for growth and summertime is the season to do the prep work for growth and change.
What Change Are You Using Your Summer For?
Summer may not be the time to make change but it can certainly be the time to open ourselves to it. The books we read on vacation, the student interns with their youthful perspectives, or the new/renewed friendships and conversations we enjoy can feed us with new ideas and directions.
This summer I am finishing two books I started a while ago: Trust Agents, and The Identity Society (please read along and discuss with me if you like). I like books that make me think in a new way and often avoid the how-to type. I have been exercising more and have returned to cycling after a 25 year break (slowly, of course). I also intend to introduce a regular daily strength training routine - which I desperately need. The most important thing I plan to do this summer is slow down and spend less time working on non-essential things. Especially with a new baby on the way, I don't want to live a busy life anymore, I want to be productive and energized. I will need to shift from multi-tasking to focused work.
While you are open and rested, what do you intend to do to set yourself and your business on a course for success in the coming year? How are you feeding yourself this summer?