Before we jump in: This article was originally shared with my email community in May 2019. I'm sharing it with you on the blog today in the hope that it may be of some encouragement and insight to you in your creative journey right now, and also give you a little sneak peak of what you can expect from Weekly Letters too. If you'd like to receive letters like this one straight to your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up below. You'll also have access to all of my Mini Books too!
I've talked a lot over the years about living and working in seasons.
About how some seasons are for rest, some are for experimenting, some are for staying the course, and others are for intentional hustle too. I'm a big believer in navigating the seasons of our lives with as much intention as we can, in leaning into our natural ebbs and flows and working with ourselves instead of against ourselves in this journey.
And after five years now of running my business and supporting hundreds of clients in theirs too I've seen over and and over again that there are specific types of seasons of business that we all can experience along the way.
Because business isn't linear.
It's messy and complicated and pretty wonderful at times too, but the more intentional we can be with the season that we're in the better we can support ourselves to thrive along the way too.
So let's dive into the eight season of business...
1. A flicker of a flame season
This is the season when you have a tiny idea within you that's starting to come to life, when you might have the pieces of a business idea that you're ready to explore and dive deeper into. This might also be the season where you're itching to start a new business or creative project, but you're still exploring and uncovering what that may be. The trick in this season is to be okay with the fact that we don't have all of the answers yet, that we need space and time to figure out what it is we truly want to do next, because if we rush ahead without the clarity, focus, and direction we need we will soon get a little lost and overwhelmed along the way.
2. A mountain climbing season
This is when you have your idea and a plan of action and you're oh so ready to make it happen. If you're starting a brand new business this might be when you start to build your website and brand, develop your products and services, and start to build community around the work you want to do. If you're working on a new creative project, maybe a book for example, this might be when you'll be diving deep into your book proposal or manuscript and trying to connect with publishers or embarking on the self publishing process. Or if you're already in business but aching to make a big change, you might circle back to a mountain climbing season if you have a new mountain in front of you that you want to climb. The biggest challenge in this season is finding the patience to stay the course, to be okay with the fact that climbing that mountain in front of us usually takes a whole lot longer than we first hoped it would. We have to pace ourselves if we want to have any shot of making it to the other side, to take damn good care of ourselves along the way, and dig deep and find the courage to do the work that's ahead of us too.
3. A settling in season
This is the season you usually reach after climbing the mountain, it's when you've made it to the other side and you're finding your feet in a new pace and with new responsibilities and opportunities too. Maybe you've started to attract consistent clients and customers and you're now settling into a new routine and you're figuring out what it looks like to show up for your business in this season. The challenge of a settling in season is shifting gears a little from trying to make your business happen to now actually managing the day-to-day, and also being patient with the fact that this season can feel a little messy at times too as you continue to experiment, evolve, and tweak your business along the way. Things might not be feeling super consistent yet, or where you really want things to be, but they're moving forward and you have solid foundations to be building on too - your biggest job in this season is showing up for the here and now while keeping your eye on the bigger picture of where you want your business to be in the long run.
4. A thriving season
This is when your business really starts to soar, when you're settled into the work you're doing and opportunities are flowing your way with ease. Maybe you're booked up for months in advance and reaching all of your sales goals, or perhaps you're starting to get the creative work you want coming to you instead of having to pitch for it yourself. This is a wonderful season, a season where everything feels in flow and the seeds you have sown over the years are growing into more than you even knew was possible. The real challenge of this season is to enjoy it, to allow yourself to be fully present and to recognise this new level that you're reaching in your work. You might even feel like you're coasting a little in this season, that you're just riding the wave of what you've built instead of feeling any pressure to push for more, but when we give ourselves permission to not just strive and but also thrive in our creative work and life that's when we can truly start to find fulfilment and joy along the way.
5. An expanding season
This is when you might start to itch for something new or something more than you already have built. Perhaps you want to increase your income, or shift your business model, or grow your team. Maybe you want to develop a new facet to your work, or take up more space in a bigger way. This is a season of stretching yourself, of taking the strong foundation you've built and finding the courage to expand it into where you truly want it to be going next. Seasons of expanding may bring with them their own teething issues, so being prepared for this with savings or previous income streams can be really helpful. The challenges of this season are usually similar the those of the mountain climbing season: patience, faith that you can do this, the courage to keep going even when it gets scary and hard, and to be okay with the fact that big changes usually take time.
6. A burnout season
This is the season we all dread but oh so many of us experience at times along the way. Maybe we burn out during the mountain climbing season after pushing too hard to get up that mountain as fast as we can, or we burn out while we're settling in because we're still recovering from all the work it took to get us there, or we're exhausted during a season of thriving because even though our business is soaring maybe we're personally struggling behind the scenes. Whenever and however it happens, a season of burnout is a reminder that our business can only thrive if we're thriving too. And for many of us, a season of burnout can be the catalyst for a more joyful, fulfilling, and intentional business moving forward as we can see what isn't serving us anymore and take steps to build something that will. The challenge in this season is finding a way to recover from burnout while also staying on top of our business, as we usually still have clients to work with and customers to serve and money we still need to earn along the way. My biggest encouragement? Protect whatever space you can for rest so that you can get back to baseline, be kinder to yourself than you think you deserve, and remember that it won't be like this forever, that you have all of the tools you need to pivot this business to make it work better for you.
7. A recalibration season
We usually enter a season of recalibration after a season of burnout, or when we're ready for a big change, or when we realise that what we've been trying to build isn't actually what we want anymore. This is the season where we go back to the drawing board, when we dive deep and ask ourselves what it is we truly want moving forward, and sometimes we have to give ourselves a little space to actually figure this out too. This season can often feel like a pause, like taking a step back so we can figure out how we actually want to move forward. Sometimes part of this season is stepping away and clearing our head so we can come back with a fresh perspective, and sometimes part of this season is just getting really honest with ourselves about what we want and need from our creative life moving forward. What may follow is another mountain climbing season or a season of expanding, but with the clarity, focus, and direction to know that we truly want what we're working towards next.
8. A rebirth season
This is the season where we come back to life again after feeling burned out, or lost, or disconnected in our work. Maybe you're pivoting to an entirely new business model (or maybe even a brand new business!), or you've recovered from an intense burnout and are ready to run your business in a wildly different way, or you're rising up after a disappointing setback and ready to march towards your hopes, goals, and dreams with a whole lot of courage and focus again. This is a season full of hope, full of focus, and full of clarity too. You're ready to get back into the arena again, but this time you feel even more connected to what it is you want and how it is you want to show up along the way too.
So here are my questions for you today:
1. What season are you in right now?
Are you still exploring your idea? Are you making your way up the mountain? Are you settling into your business? Are you reaping the seeds you have sown? Are you expanding into something new? Are you recovering from burnout? Are you refocusing what it is you want moving forward? Get really honest with yourself about where you are right now, even if it's not exactly where you want to be.
2. What do you and your business need in this season to thrive?
Do you need to take better care of yourself as you push towards your goals? Do you need to cultivate more patience and trust in your journey? Do you need to give yourself permission to enjoy everything you've built so far? Do you need to give yourself space to take a step a back and rest? Do you need to refocus on what it is you truly want moving forward? How can you best support yourself to thrive in this season of your business?
3. What would it look like for you to be fully present in this season that you're in?
Do you need to let go of expectations and give yourself permission to experiment and grow along the way? Do you need to dig deep and find the courage to keep going even though there are no guarantees of success? Do you need space to recharge and refocus? How can you show up for your business right now in the way that will best serve you and your work?
Like I said, business is messy. It's exciting and unnerving at exactly the same time, there are no guarantees but the possibilities are also endless, and it's forever changing and evolving alongside us as we do too.
But when we're present in the season that we're in? That's when we can truly make something wonderful happen along the way.
And I'm right here with you and rooting for you always!
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