Wisdom//

The Final Quarter: Finish Strong With Strategies From Nature

Just as the Earth renews itself during the winter for growth in the spring, we should take time to rest and recover before taking action.

By Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock
By Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

We’ve reached the final quarter of the year. It’s a time when we almost reflexively look back to what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year. Many of us have moved some New Year’s resolutions and goals into our win column. But disappointment about what we did not achieve is also quite common at this time of year.

We ruminate about the wrong turns or actions that we didn’t take to realize our dreams. We worry that we didn’t achieve our financial goals. These thoughts and feelings can send us on a downward spiral toward regret, self-doubt, and even dread. We end up drained and anxious rather than energized and productive.

Truth is, these months make for sufficient time to make progress on something meaningful. This is about how much time nature takes to complete one season. Surely it’s enough time to take actions that will have a positive impact in our personal and professional development.

Revamping a self-care plan, writing a book chapter or two, taking a new approach to marketing an existing product or service, changing productivity strategies to get out of overwhelm and over-exertion, hiring an assistant, or plotting a new career or business direction are among the endless possibilities.

Nature just staged a worldwide equinox, which coincided with the final 100 days of the year. The change of seasons and the cyclical patterns are full of effective growth and change strategies.

1) Alignment.

At the equinox, the sun and the equator come into perfect alignment with each other. For much of the year, night and day are doing a dance where one grows longer as the other grows shorter. At the equinox, they share a 24-hour period evenly.

Each of us has our own inner sun, our purpose, the internal guidance that brings value and meaning to all that we do. Connect what you want to accomplish in the upcoming months to your purpose and core values. Connect your desires to the positive impact that you want to have in your personal life and career. Root yourself in a deep sense of meaning.

It will be a powerful source of motivational fuel as you navigate the ups and downs along the way to what you want.

2) Complementary forces.

When we experience dark and light in equal amounts, it’s easy to see how one complements the other. Darkness helps us understand light, and vice versa.

In the final quarter of the year, when you find yourself focusing on what’s missing, use this as a reminder to get clear on what’s possible. Make a list of what you’d like to accomplish. Review your list, then narrow it down to one action, one goal that you can complete within a three-month period.

Choose an “impact goal.” This is a goal that, once completed, will leave you feeling accomplished and have an impact on other important career and/or personal development goals.

3) Let go.

The equinox ushered in fall in the northern hemisphere. The leaves will become brilliant with color and then the trees will release them. But once the leaves are on the ground, they partner with the earth and become fertilizer.

Consider what you need to release in order to achieve your goal. You may have a habit or behavior pattern that’s kept you from moving forward. Be aware that bad habits, like good ones, provide some kind of gain for us or we wouldn’t continue them.

Get clear about how your old habit has served you. As you release the old habit, decide how you will take care of that need. Then, define the new practices you will put into place to support your forward movement.

You’ve probably never seen a tree struggle to keep a leaf from falling. Releasing is part of the growth cycle. New leaves can only come when the old ones fall away. What will you let go?

4) Rest and recover.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, spring has arrived. With it come winds that spread seeds. After a period of rest and behind-the-scenes work during winter, the earth is softening, ready to nurture seeds and sprout flowers.

Bringing forth a project requires balancing work with recovery and downtime. Make energy management a part of your daily plan. Build the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy that you need to stay focused, centered, and thriving as you take action on your goal. The give-and-take cycle sustains your flow of energy. Nothing happens without it.

5) Harvest.

There are some plants that only flourish at certain times of year. The energy has to build in order for them to blossom.

The last nine months have prepared you for a harvest. Count your wins. Look at the actions you’ve already taken this year. Write them down. Celebrate. Pay close attention to the accomplishments that will help you achieve your impact goal. This is the time to reap the benefits of your work.

Take action on your strong finish in 2019. Stay aligned with your purpose and values. Let your setbacks lead you to clearly define how to move forward. Balance your energy expenditures with recovery and renewal. Gather the fruits of your labor and flow into a fresh start in 2020.

Originally published on Ellevate.

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