"Life happens in ups & downs. Success is embracing the changing seasons to reap the most rewards … just like the plants do."
I woke up this morning, like many, feeling thankful and blessed. As I went downstairs to turn on the coffee machine, I was once again drawn by the pull of the plants I grow in my kitchen. I went over to admire the flowering leaves and rich beautiful colors … greens, whites, yellows and even the browns (which I made a mental note to prune off later on in the day).
Only a few months ago during winter, these plants had not 'seemed' so alive, but they had held on. And now that the sun was out, here they were thriving again – blossoming and bringing forth their best and richest. What can we take from this cycle?
1. That life itself happens in seasons. We ALL experience periods of abundance and periods of dryness. And so, we should not be surprised when momentum drops, when business slows down, or when our hardwork doesn't seem to be paying off.
Faith and confidence help us not beat ourselves up during low moments (even if the rest of the world does), granting us the assurance of better seasons ahead and the recognition that this is just another phase. In fact, winners become rich mentally and spiritually because of wisdom earned and priceless lessons learned while in the pit.
2. Each season prepares us for the next season. When you're doing well and on top of the world, remember that seasons WILL change. Be sure to store up and save up resources for slow days. Planning ahead and being prepared for future 'valleys' is a mark of an experienced leader. During slow seasons, remind yourself to hold on, to plod through to brighter days ahead … just like the plants in the above photo.
3. Mental fortitude is needed to think through and handle the adversity of low moments. The ability to maintain calmness and operate in absolute faith that brighter days are ahead is a skill successful people master along the way. This is what primarily separates winners from those who quit when obstacles are met. Champions maintain an even keel even when things seem to be falling apart around them. And when the days are bright, experience instills in them the discipline to save up and be prepared for the dry season.
Sports fans would agree with me that even the best players have lost and will lose many times. However, what makes them great champions is that they are able to register more wins than loses. How? Through hardwork, confidence and a superior mental fortitude, with the understanding that mountains and valleys are all part of the journey.
A couple of days ago as I watched the ongoing tennis championships in Rome, I tweeted the following:
"Great players are not afraid of challenges…they're not afraid of hardwork. They're always finding solutions." Tennis channel commentaries
— Lema Abeng-Nsah (@LemaNsah) May 16, 2014
— Lema Abeng-Nsah (@LemaNsah) May 16, 2014
I hence encourage readers to embrace the changing seasons, learning and growing with them. Be happy regardless of the season you find yourself in.
The Bible talks about this in Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (which happens to be my late dad's favorite bible passage)
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.