The first tree – a changing of season
While driving home from work one day, I came across a beautiful sight: As I came over a familiar hill that let me know I was almost home, my eyes were drawn to a single tree that was in full autumn colors of bold yellows and oranges. It was fantastic! I passed it in seconds; however that image stuck with me. As I continued on my trek home, I was keenly aware that no other trees were in full season such as the one I just saw. Seeing that one tree already displaying its fall colors got me to think about the upcoming seasonal change. So, I began to make a mental list of all the things that would need to be done to prepare for the coming cold weather. This type of trigger happens in your personal life and also in your small business.
Leadership training can build the skill of predicting seasonal changes
I find it interesting that the human mind has ‘triggers.’ When these triggers are set off, it causes the brain to think about certain things in certain ways. For me, seeing a single tree displaying its fall colours resulted in a series of thoughts that caused me to think about all the things I needed to do to prepare for the upcoming winter ahead. Just as the leaves change, small businesses go through seasonal changes as well. Each new season can be different in its characteristics and purpose. Sometimes we want to stay in a season and not transition into the next one, other times we can’t wait for the old season to end.
So how do you know when a seasonal change is coming in your small business?
What are the clues?
Just like my drive home, you too may come over a hill and be suddenly shocked by the signs of change. Certainly life would be easier to adjust to if we only knew what changes were coming. Being aware that there is an upcoming change in seasons will give you time to prepare. So here are some clues to help you detect that a time of change is coming in your life.
5 “E’s” of changing seasons
When a season of change is upon you, you will notice one of two things: You will either have a breakthrough in a task or skill that you had been struggling with, or you may find that the things you did in the past with ease and efficiency are now a struggle and require more effort, energy and time. As you become more effective in your job, things will tend to flow easier as you get into a groove or rhythm. Conversely, if you are struggling with a familiar routine, task, or job, it may be time for you to re-evaluate how you have been doing things. Be aware of your business and personal effectiveness as these changes will indicate that you are getting closer to a shift in your small business. Most business coaches will look at this change from a performance perspective: Does it make the small business more effective or not? This preliminary assessment can create a different coaching plan than one that takes into consideration a business that is simply shifting to a new level.
During an upcoming season of change you may notice that your passions are also changing. You may have been very passionate about one aspect of your business (for examples: helping people). But now find that your desire to help is not what it was like before. The key to preparing for this change is to note how you are emotionally responding to change. Some of our clients have also experienced these changes and wondered why they were acting the way they were. Sometimes it may look like you’re procrastinating or avoiding something you once liked.
I remember talking with one of our local small business clients in Calgary about this indicator. They were finding it very difficult and even thought about getting out of business and doing something less stressful. When we began to look at their waning enjoyment as a catalyst for changes in their business it gave them a clear focus to push through to a new level of enjoyment and success.
You may attribute certain events to either drawing you closer to your future ambitions and goals, or alternatively moving you farther away. Even though some of these events cannot be directly related to a change in season, most should be considered in the larger picture. A great question to ask yourself is, “What has happened recently to change my direction?” Learning to embrace events that drive you a direction that you didn’t plan on is tough. The hard part is letting go of what you planned on or what you thought was the direction you needed to take. Even though some of the greatest business successes have come from an event, you will need to develop the skills to refocus and embrace the changes.
Another indicator to an approaching season of change is a change in your inner energy level. You might find that your mind is racing at night with thoughts and ideas and you have to get up in the middle of the night to write down an important thought. Or, you may notice that you are feeling emotional and physically drained at the end of a normal work day and need extra sleep. One thing is for sure, you will certainly feel the stress of having poor energy.
Several of our clients have struggled with this intense energy just before a shift. It’s like their creative ability is on hyper drive, waking them up at 4 a.m. every morning with new ideas and puzzles that need to be solved before their day starts. When we get them to embrace this creative time – and even allow for it, they move quickly into the next level of their business growth.
If (for no apparent reason) you are feeling a nervous energy, or have a feeling of expectancy, you may be entering a season of change. The reason for this could the result of your unconscious mind picking up clues that you have overlooked and is emotionally responding to that information. This is one of the most difficult changes to discern, and takes some time to develop as a skill. Once developed, it represents a reliable and exciting knowing inside that usually is only seen in young children. This form of business intuition is more common than people think.
At Stoke Growth, this inner knowing is one of the clues that we get first, even before we become consciously aware of what is happening. We now have learned to anticipate this upcoming change with some level of excitement that allows the change to happen faster than if we were resisting it.
Knowing when you are going through an upcoming change in your small business will reduce your stress and help you pay attention to the things that are important, so you can grow through the process. Remember to journal and review your notes to see what the future has to offer you