PODCAST 19: Aligning Your Seasons with Your Work

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Hi, I'm Emily. And this is From Hustle to Hell Yes, the podcast where I share insights and interviews on entrepreneurship, for small business owners craving a GPS. Hop in, and lets joy ride to a sustainable, profitable business without burning out, getting stuck or stalling out. Destination, more revenue, less hustle

Hey, y'all, welcome to another episode of From Hustle to Hell Yes. I'm your host, Emily Carter, of Change Agent Studio. So remember how I was talking to a friend of mine about feeling stuck? Here's the thing. stuckness is real. And when you're in it, it's like getting very, very sick. All that matters is getting your health back. And when you're stuck, all that matters is getting unstuck. In the last episode, I told you that most of us are capable of unstuck in ourselves, because in most cases, we aren't actually stuck. We've just forgotten what season we're in. So much of how we experienced entrepreneurship and how we experience running a business has to do with the season of life we're in and the season of business that we're in. It also has to do with what season of creativity when. So in this episode of the podcast, I want to continue to shine a light on another seasonal cause of stuckness being at odds with our seasons. So why does this cause stuckness because one reason it shows up is that we're trying to put our attention on the wrong thing at the wrong time. So if you've ever said anything along the lines of I just can't do it right now, then this might be part of the problem for you. Knowing our seasons, and aligning with them makes it so much harder to get stuck. In the last episode of from hustle to hell yes, I talked about life seasons and business seasons. But there's another way season impact your work. If life season and business season are the 1000 foot view, then what we're going to dig into today is focused on the ground level view. Today, I want to talk about the seasonal nature of the creative cycle. I've talked about this before on a previous episode in podcast number 11, which I'll link to in the show notes. Today, we'll be building on those concepts. So it might be worth revisiting that one the activities that we do follow a kind of seasonality, which I prefer to think of as the cycle of creativity. And if you're like me, you might find that certain times of the day have that same feeling that you're just better able to do certain things at certain times of the day, give or take an hour. So let's dive right into the seasons of the creative cycle. The seasons of a project are marked by the kinds of activities we're doing. So within our business, whenever we're creating something, it could be a new website, a new product or service, a new marketing campaign. Anytime we're making something, the cycle of creativity is the process you're using. And if you've been listening to this podcast for any period of time, this will not surprise you at all, because I talked about the seasonality of our creativity all the time. But for those of you who are newer to this idea, I want to talk about the seasonality of creation within our business for a hot minute, because one of the most important things that we can do is recognize the seasonality of our own creativity. So what do I mean by seasonality? Well, in our creative process in our business, there's a feeling of spring, summer, fall and winter. And what I mean is that there are ways of respecting the amount of energy and the type of work that we need to be doing at any given time. So there's a very natural rhythm to this process that's found in nature, the changing of the seasons around us, the menstrual cycle, even the phases of the moon seem to support this cyclical nature of creation.

Just as an aside, is anyone else out there watching the Wheel of Time? It's on Amazon. It's based on a book series of the same name. It is so good and I'm enjoying it so much. And the casting for the show is just wow, it's really good. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who plans to watch it, watch it but if you haven't started watching it and you're curious about it, just take this as your sign to start ASAP. Okay, so back to the seasons of creativity. I really like to think of this through the lens of growing fruit trees and right outside my office window there. As a puppetry, and also apple and pear trees. So every time I look out my window, which is often I'm reminded of the cycle, from a seed germinating and sprouting to mature tree producing fruit to harvesting that fruit to the rest that winter brings. For any project, whether you're adding a new digital product or service or implementing a new marketing tactic, this is the germination phase. It is that springtime energy idea phase, you may recognize that your day even follows this rhythm too. But perhaps you begin with a different season. So for me, the morning time is my favorite. It's the germination season of my work day. And because I love brainstorming, and idea generation and that sense of potential energy, it's no surprise that this is how my day would begin and how I would create momentum within my day. In the germination phase, all your ideas are popping up, the seeds have been planted, and now they're sprouting. And maybe it's time to go through and call them so that the right ideas can have the right amount of space that they need to develop and grow. Well. Sometimes we don't have a ton of ideas, but we know that we need to focus on just a couple, if we're going to make them as impactful as we want them to be. We can't actually do all the things, so at least not all at once. So carefully thinning them. So it's the best of the best that we're nurturing is actually a really great way to make sure that we're focusing on the right thing at the right time. Now, the next season is summer, the season for doing the production phase, it's when you're building and launching those new ideas, I call this stage fruition. So if you're creating a new product or service requires you to create the thing or map out the process if it's a service and to market it. And basically, there's like a checklist of things that you have to do to put it out there into the world. So this is the really visible doing phase of our business, the phase where we're out there doing the thing, we're on the stage, we're actually in action, bringing those ideas to fruition. For me, in my work day, this is an afternoon time. It's the time that I execute those tasks and very task oriented during that time period and the fruition season of my day. And you know knocking out those to do list items. And the same is true of your fruition season and for anything that you create. It's no surprise that this very visible season is often really emphasized in our work. And over emphasizing the importance of the fruition season actually leads to some toxic beliefs that I've talked about before, as hustle cut culture or toxic capitalism. Things like do more and do it faster. Success is a limited resource, competition over collaboration forward movement and growth are the only options. These beliefs are really rooted in believing the summer fruition season, the season of doing is the most important season. And it is an important season. They all are. And I think the reason it gets over emphasized is because it's just the easiest one to observe. It's very public, it's very easy to tell people what to do. But all of the seasons combined actually create an effect that's greater than the sum of them taken individually. The next season is the harvest season. And in nature, I would compare this to fall. Of course, this is the harvest season and during the season of your project, it's time to reap the benefits of all that doing. People are paying you you've provided them with services or products. You're reaping what you sow, you're tying up loose ends. This is where you would do your review and analysis of how the project went. What went well, what didn't go well. What will you do next time, the harvest season is the winding down of what you've been working on.

If I'm looking at my cycle of creativity as a daily cycle, then this is the time that I'm actually spending on leaving what I've been working on in a state that's like easy to come back to. So I'm actually spending time tying up loose ends doing small tasks like replying to emails. I'm queuing up what I plan to work on the next day, and just kind of taking time to be aware of where I'm at in the projects that I've been working on. And what maybe I need to focus on next in my week. Now then there's the fourth season, which is one that most folks skip in the creative cycle, the winter season. I call this the stratification season. The stratification season is a time for integration. My husband is a plant biologist and He works with seeds. And you know, we do a lot of gardening. So he's been teaching me about gardening with varying degrees of success. We were working on planting Papaw trees from seeds a couple of years ago. And this is when I learned how important stratification is to the success of my favorite fruit trees. Existence. Stratification is a phase that seeds often have to go through before they'll be able to germinate. A lot of plants that grow in the Midwest of the United States where I'm located, have to go through cold stratification. And that's when they have to go through a period of cold weather. So winter in the Midwest is actually very key to the lifecycle of many plants that we depend on. Because the seeds have to go through that stratification phase first, before they're they'll sprout. Otherwise, they could sprout right when they fall off the tree. And that would be too soon. Because those sprouts wouldn't make it through winter, the frost would kill them if they did that. So the cold stratification has to happen first, and the seed evolved to do that. Now from the outside, the seed does not look like it's doing anything at all. It looks like it's resting. It does not even appear that that the stage is important because we don't see anything happening on the outside. But what it's really doing is integrating, right? That's what we do in our stratification phase, we're preparing for what's next. This is a kind of liminal space, where we're occupying a space between what just occurred, and what's about to occur, what's about to come into being, right. So there's stuff going on in that seat, even though we can't see it. And the same is true for our stratification seasons within the creative cycle. You know, like I said, that liminal space is a time between what just happened and what will be called forth next. And so it's important for us to be able to rest and stratify to integrate that new knowledge and those new experiences into our business fully. So if you've ever hit a wall in your business, it might be that you've been spending a lot of time in the other seasons, and skipping stratification altogether. And when I look at my day as a creative cycle, this is the time this stratification phase is the time I spend kind of unwinding and releasing the work day. It's the time I take to shift from work mode to being with my family and being present with them at the end of the day. And of course, sleeping, right. So much integration happens during sleep. And in Episode 16 of this podcast, Dr. Sarah McKay actually talks a bit about how important sleep is for the brain and for entrepreneurs to recognize their need for rest and sleep. She basically gave us one prescription for what we can do to be more agile in our businesses, and it's sleep. So sleep is key. And partly, it's because of all the really important things that happen in the brain when we're asleep. So I recommend going back and listening to that episode, and then creating a plan for upping your sleep game. If there's one thing that I'd love more business owners to get to themselves with. In the coming year, it's recognizing when your body is snipped signaling for you to slow the EFF down. Teach Yourself to recognize when rest is needed. This is a tough lesson. And frankly, it's when you'll either choose to learn or your body will absolutely force you to learn it. Okay? Trust me when I say it's better to learn this by choice, because the alternative will almost certainly be a medical emergency.

Just as your season of life and season of business will.

Just as your season of life and season of business will in evitable impact the kinds of activities you find yourself doing the creative cycle, and each of its seasons are also nested inside of your activities. So we can take the 1000 foot view and see these cycles from that perspective where we can zoom in on a single day or a single project and see them at work in finer detail. And just like the rise framework that I shared previously, understanding the seasonality of your business of your life and of your creativity is going to help you to focus on the right thing at the Write time. And when you're doing that, it's much harder to get stuck.

Before you go, thank you so much for listening today. If you liked this episode, please share it. Leave a review wherever you listen and hit that subscribe button so we can keep the conversation going. If you want to dive even deeper into today's episode, just go to www dot change agent dot studio slash podcast and look for this episode's show notes.