Between the shoulders of summer and fall lies my favorite ‘tween’ season. The bugs are less common in the cooler evening air while the biological clocks of the furry animals signal a coat change in preparation for the winter to come. The days, in the Great South anyway, continue to impart their only slightly diminished chaleur upon those who brave the full midday sun while the gentle evening breeze begs longer sleeves and if you’re lucky, a light sweater.
Transitions are an important part of the days of our lives, and a well-handled transition – be it for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health – plants the seeds for a successful future harvest.
I would venture to say that the majority of new beginnings are spoiled before most people even recognize that change is in the air. Human beings have, broadly speaking, insulted themselves from the seasonal shifts that condition to varying degrees virtually every other process in the natural kingdom. Call it progress, human ingenuity or whatever you’d like, we are slowly isolating ourselves from the world we inhabit in ways that are ofttimes useful, but occasionally dangerous.
One of the unintended side-effects of the technological advances of our recent era is the loss of sensitivity to cycles and seasons that govern every creative process. If you think about your own life, there was first conception, followed by birth, childhood, adolescence and your adult years (if you’ve made it that far yet). Every new business follows a similar pattern, as does the creation of a family, the execution of a project or the provision of a meal.
Participation in creative cycles is often subconscious and rare is the individual who has a conscious awareness of the phase in the process he or she is in at any given point in time. Some cycles are short, lasting only seconds, such as the reaction taken in response to a flat tire in your car while speeding down the highway, while others might have longer periods, such as the earth’s orbit around the sun. All cycles have a beginning, a middle and an end.
There is the old question: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” From the standpoint of the creative cycles, they work out whether or not there is human perception of the process. Perhaps this is why the purpose of life has been so mysterious to people through the ages?
The first step in learning to work more effectively with the forces that govern the various phases of these cycles is awareness. What are the phases? I outlined the basics above: conception, birth, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Where are you in your life? What about your career? And relative to the actualization of your biggest dreams?
As with human growth and development, a different approach is required in each phase of development. You don’t deal with a start-up business the same way you would a well-established business for the same reason that you don’t treat a three year old boy like a forty year old man. Once you recognize where you are in the process, you can begin to ask yourself “am I handling this phase wisely?” You may be smarter than a fifth grader, but are you applying that knowledge correctly?
Think about your world in this light and you will begin to identify the areas in which you’ve been operating inefficiently. We’ll cover this topic in greater detail in the days to come…