Every year it begins the same way. I have a grove of tall trees in the backyard and usually in mid-August, sometimes later, I see it. There it is. There is an unmistakable yellow gold leaf amongst the bright and dark green hues of the trees. It’s my first golden tree leaf; the first sign of the beginning of autumn and the end of summer.
The promise of leisurely days and vacations has come to an end as the new season begins and we look to a more structured schedule.
At this time of the year, students return to school to begin the new year. The school experience always allowed you to forget the past and focus on the promise of a new year ahead. How do you extend this to starting a new season of your life?
Every September, as the new school year would begin for me, I always thought of it as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start anew. There is a transformative power in the beginning of something, and each new grade, or year at college/grad school, was no exception for me. The structure of the school is an interesting one. You really do “start over again” each year.
What rituals would you use to mark the new school year in the fall, as you were growing up? For me, it meant new pens and (pin-point sharpened) pencils, and a curious item called the Pee-Chee folder. In Southern California, a fresh, peach-yellow Pee-Chee to carry your homework was an essential way to start the new school year.
All of these preparations marked the beginning of a new season…a year of learning, a year of challenges and experiences, a year of setting and achieving goals, toward the ultimate milestone of graduating to the new grade/year in the spring. And it all started with a sharpened pencil in the fall!
A season change can be a focus change, just as most of us experienced through the structure of the school. What are some things you can do to embrace the new season ahead?
1. Take an assessment of where your career and life is at, especially against your goals for the year. Are you where you truly want to be? You have 4 more months in this year. What can you do to finish the year strong?
2. Set new goals. Consider the slate wiped clean. What new goals would you like to pursue starting now?
3. What is possible in your role at work? What new rituals would work for you? Do you need to come in an hour earlier to focus on time alone? Do you need an effective time management system? Think of adding a few new rituals this season to your work routine. A new season can also trigger a new focus on what you’re doing and where you’re going. Rituals are important. They help us to symbolize the milestones of our transitions.
4. Be kind to yourself. Always practice self-forgiveness. That was me then, but this is me now. Sometimes we refuse to forgive others or the past. This time, be kind to yourself and understand that you really are always trying to do the best thing and you can start over.
5. Adopt the school ritual of “wiping that slate clean” and starting over again. How do you “wipe the slate clean” if that would help? What are some things you need to let go of and plan to move forward on? In junior high school, I actually struggled with my Spanish Language grade (believe it or not!). Every year, I was determined to do better and the start of the new school year was a huge motivator for me.
6. Now is the time to plan for the holidays ahead. Rather than let the holidays come upon you, put together a plan for where you will go (or host), any gifts you may want to think about buying (great sales in the fall), and generally how you want to handle these sometimes stress filled but wonderful times.
7. What’s on your bucket list? Don’t have one? Whatever age you are, this is a good time to put one together. A bucket list has all of those experiences and activities you want to have during your lifetime. Always great as a focus area.
The lesson of the fall season can be a sense of renewal. What does renewal mean for you at this time?
With this change of season, from summer into fall, what change or renewal do you want to pursue?
What are the “sharpened pencils” and “new Pee Chee’s” in your quest to pursue your work and life goals? Take some time during this transition time to find a new focus and wipe slates clean.
Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.
For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com