The mind is everything. What you think you become. – Buddha
I was having breakfast with a client on the Friday morning of Super Bowl weekend. It was a bright sunny day in Chicago but characteristically very cold. My client was whining a little bit about being in the throes of winter and I declared that on this bright, sunny day all we needed to think about was that spring was just six weeks away. Two days later Mother Nature dumped over 20 inches of snow on us and partially crippled the city. So much for me trying to accentuate the positive.
Who knew that that grim weekend was a precursor to a February that tied a record going back to the 1800s for the coldest on record. We had a great deal more snow as well and it did absolutely nothing to lessen the burden of the frigid month.
But this weekend, we saw sunny skies and temperatures in the high 40s and it seemed that everyone’s spirit was getting a well-deserved lift. During this last week I saw three things that just reinforced the wonder of nature and how it can embolden us to be more enthusiastic about the coming spring:
- I live close to Lake Michigan and on a walk by the edge of the lake last weekend, looking out at ice as far as I could see, I heard a loud, natural grinding sound. I couldn’t fathom what it was until I could see that the southeast breeze was pushing the lake underneath the ice and fracturing it close to shore. Although the ice was about a half-inch thick, this inexorable pressure had the ice break off into a series of “windowpanes” that vertically stacked themselves against the shore. It was a fascinating sight to behold.
- With a brief temperature bump, a predicted snow turned into a sleety mess. What it did was put a thin glaze of ice on the 2 foot high snow-pack that’s everywhere… but it made the snow look like the frosting on a cake in the illumination at night was almost dazzling.
- Last nights full moon over Lake Michigan was a stunningly beautiful natural phenomena. The reflection of the moon on the lake can be very beautiful and the color can only be described as “buttery”.
Now, I imagine you’re wondering where I’m going with this leadership post. The three natural delights that I just spoke about were something that I felt compelled to share. Then it dawned on me this morning why it’s relevant to all of us in dealing with the leadership challenges we must confront on a daily basis.
I will admit to be a whiner about the weather myself, but when I was able to step back and see these three natural demonstrations of nature’s beauty, it energized me. It made me appreciate even more the critical need for us to reflect on our work and life and to reinforce how good we all really have it.
As we roar into the third month of 2015, your goals for the year, both personal and professional, are probably well developed and you’re on your way to fulfilling them with great vigor.
Most of us are under constant pressure to perform and do so under an avalanche of communications and demands that seem to fill our attention span to capacity. Like a long, cold winter, it just grinds at you and wears you down. So I am challenging you today to throw off the yoke of oppression that a long winter represents and rekindle your positive energy and to find the joy of Spring in your work life today!
- What do I still really enjoy about my work? Name 3 things.
- Who do I really enjoy working with and what makes it so enjoyable to work with them? Name 3 people.
- What am I working on now or will be soon that really excites me? Why? Name 3 projects or tasks.
Take 5 minutes from your busy day to dwell on this. And be sure and write it down – it makes it more memorable and real. It won’t make Spring arrive any earlier, but it should brighten your day and refresh your perspective.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.