By Karin Leonard
Apples trees bending
full with fruit, and tomatoes ripening on the vine remind me of the
importance of autumn, in nature as well as in our professional lives.
With a busy schedule and never-ending projects, do you give yourself
a chance to harvest your success?
Cultures living close
to nature have their rhythm attuned to the earth, and to the natural
rise and fall of activity. Spring and summer bring a bustle of action,
and with it the creation of new life. Seeds burst forth, and the farmer
gets busy. Fall is the reward of the year’s work, the grateful harvest
of labor’s fruits. Winter then, is the time of rest and reflection,
the turning in before venturing forth again. In our professional lives
there are also cycles starting with the birth of a new idea, leading
to the work of carrying it out, then to the harvest and completion of
the project, and hopefully, a brief time for introspection before going
on to the next. However, with the pace of business life, the harvest
and rest periods may get skipped too often, which can put us into overdrive.
Honoring your harvest means
valuing the results you have created, and celebrating your accomplishments.
Giving yourself credit for your successes (and genuinely praising others
for theirs) inspires more of the same. Autumn, when harvest is already
naturally occurring all around you, is a great time to take stock of
the crops you have brought in. Thinking about this year so far, what
have you reaped? What results have you created, big and small? To make
your harvest more tangible, list your successes and accomplishments.
Acknowledge yourself, and those around you, for having followed through
on goals and intentions, and doing the work to make things happen. If
your harvest doesn’t live up to your expectations, analyze what may
have led to these results. What could have been done differently and
how? What is the learning? And – are your expectations realistic? Just
as a farmer has no control over the weather, there are circumstances
outside of your circle of influence that may have interfered with producing
a good yield. However, the work done may still have been of great quality
and deserves recognition.
Along the Way
The goals we set for
ourselves can at times seem overwhelming and far away, while we are
engaged in daily activity. You can only do so much in one day, a week
or a month, yet compared to the entire project, a day’s work might seem
miniscule. To stay engaged in long-range objectives, it becomes especially
important to acknowledge and own milestones, and even small successes,
along the way. Develop a habit of recognizing daily, weekly and monthly
accomplishments. Make a list of them, and let it inspire you during
The autumn phase is also a great time to do some organizing, sorting
and cleaning, which may have been neglected during the busy production
cycle. A clearing of the decks, along with some “winter time” for reflection,
provides completion -- before you jump into the next project.