As we see the seasons transition from Fall to Winter, it seems like a great time to touch on the seasons of our life.
With all the new connecting technologies, remote work agreements and craziness of our day to day, it is more challenging then ever before to maintain a sense of work life balance.
But as I’ve posed before, is there such a thing as a work life balance? Can you ever have an even split? Maybe for some, but the traditional 9-5 job culture makes that extremely difficult if you consider your sleep a non-negotiable (and you should).
Sometimes the deadlines and big projects have to get done and working those late nights and weekends are required. And then there will be times when the office is a ghost town and there is time to catch our breath. It’s almost like the changing of seasons…
The seasons do change in life just as in nature. However, we can’t be blind to them when they transition. Rather, we need to have awareness of the changing seasons to take full advantage of their benefits when they arrive.
Back when I played football in high school, I struggled with the seasons – specifically when my season ended.
Playing football and being a football player gave me an identity and sense of purpose. It filled me up physically, mentally and spiritually, so when that last game of each season came and went, I felt hollow.
Eventually the new post-football routine would set in and that hollowness would lose some of its sting, but I often still felt lost.
I know I was my best self in-season, but those few months went way too fast, and the vast majority of the year remained.
It’s hard not to look at those times now and feel that their potential was wasted. I could have invested my time in training, learning about fitness or personal development. I could have processed what I did well that season and where I needed to improve for the next.
It’s times like these though, that we can look back on and learn. Looking through the lens of what I know now, I understand the significance and importance of all the seasons of our life – not just the times when the lights are shining the brightest on us.
We can benefit from every season of life, and use those unique times to grow, learn and prosper. There will be times when it is game time and we are playing our best. Other times, when the pace of life slows down, we will have the opportunity to rest and recover.
Whatever the season is, recognize it and take advantage of the opportunities that come with it to improve and become a better version of you!
The 4 Seasons of Life
Unlike actual sports, there isn’t much of a schedule to when the following seasons come and go, and they don’t always follow the same order. For both of these reasons, it becomes more critical to be aware of what’s going on around you in order to tap into the opportunities that exist with each of them.
It will likely come as no surprise, that in my mind, the seasons of the Inner Athlete mimic those of a professional sport: Pre-Season, In-Season, Post-Season and the Off-Season.
Below I will walk through each season and give you my perspective on what that season means, what it looks like, and how you can benefit when it rolls around.
The pre-season is always an exciting time it our life. There is a sense of newness and having a fresh start.
For you, maybe that means you just found out you got a new job, or will be starting with a new company, received a promotion, are kicking off a brand new project or deciding to acquire a new talent or skill.
The pre-season is accompanied with a renewed sense of optimism and outlook for the future – anything is possible. In pro sports, I feel it is safe to say just about every team shows up to their pre-season with the confidence that THIS year they have what it takes as a team to win it all. If not, why show up at all? You should come with that same level of confidence.
- Renewed sense of energy, focus, motivation and optimism
- Fresh start and fresh perspective that help block out any negativity or doubt – you are in it to win it
- Begin baggage-free with nothing to hold you back
The in-season is the busy time, the time to grind and push your top priorities forward. Your season will be filled with your share of wins and loses, and what will determine true success or failure is how you choose to respond to them.
It’s a time to continue to refine your game, find ways to get better, and keep looking downfield towards the goal line regardless of setbacks or bad games.
No matter how beat up a football player may be throughout the season, if they aren’t on Injured Reserve you better believe they are focused on incrementally improving their game every single day.
No matter the end result of our season, it is our choice to come out of it better than when we started.
We live most of our life in-season, and there will be times when we feel like the MVP and other times where we may feel like we are riding the bench.
No matter what, use your season to get closer to becoming best in class at what you do!
- Acquire real world experiences and our battle scars – the path to becoming a reliable and seasoned veteran
- Learn how the game is played – understanding the rules, nuances, politics, etc., and adapting to be successful
- Achieve incremental improvement – opportunity to find ways to get better every day and build our character in the process
The post-season is never a guarantee, and it is during this season when we need to leverage all the preparation and skill building during our regular season and peak – to play our absolute best on the biggest stage.
These are the elevated moments that define your year or career. It could be delivering the big time presentations to the board, closing the monster deals, winning your business development proposals, creating game-changing partnerships or launching your new product or service.
This is when the lights are shining the brightest and we either step up to the plate and become the hero, or fall short on reaching our potential (this time).
- Push your limits and redefine what you thought you were capable of doing
- Create the opportunity to become your potential, not just work towards it
- Redefine your ‘next level’ and new potential when you walk away a champion
Last and certainly not least, there is our off-season. This is our down time – the holidays, vacation, personal days, or those slow times in the office when you can actually hear yourself think!
Typically these times will follow a post-season activity, busy in-season periods or happen during predictable times during the year – summer, end of November/December, etc.
The off-season is where we can focus on family, recovery and big picture thinking. We can reflect on our performance, be grateful for all we have and all we’ve accomplished, and gain clarity around the future opportunities that are waiting for us.
- Renewed energy, focus and drive for the future
- Opportunity to have fun and invest in off-field relationships
- Spend time on all the things you enjoy doing off the field – your hobbies, passions, and pet projects
Post Game Huddle
I hope this breakdown of the seasons along with their benefits can help build some excitement and sense of opportunity for you no matter what season you are in or where you are on your journey.
Our career paths may be different, and therefore these seasons may come and go at all different paces and orders, but it is my wish that we can all recognize that they do change, and therefore leverage each of their benefits to continue to propel ourselves forward.
For those reading, I hope this transition from Fall to Winter is providing you with a cycle or two of an off-season to recharge your batteries and get fired up for a brand new year that is right around the corner. I’ll be with you right through the end of 2017 with new posts and content, and am fired up to serve you in 2018!
Have a great season!
Discussion Question: What season do you feel you spend most your time in? What season do you feel you miss out on most or aren’t aware of?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."