Monthly Archives: April 2014

Respect your Fallow Periods; they are an opportunity in disguise.

I recently came across a great saying, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest without planting seeds.”

Planting seeds 2

I like to think of my fallow periods as a time to plant powerful seeds. Like gardening, you reap what you sow.

As many of you know, I love to garden. In the winter I rest up and with the first hint of spring I am off to the nursery to start my masterpiece. Different than other facets of my life, while gardening I plant without discipline, rhyme or reason. I plant from the heart. I grab from the many rows of beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes and I place them haphazardly into the first pot I see. I then pray for the best.

Sappling

That is where my uncharacteristic behavior starts and ends, and then discipline comes in.

This winter was one for the books in regards to the weather. As my mother always reminds me in challenging times, “This might be a good time to take stock in your life”. Well I am sure like me you have had your fair share of reflection time during Mother Nature’s imposed fallow period.

Now spring is finally here, the fallow period has lifted, what’s next?

planting-seeds

First, like in gardening you must clear the field. We have all had plenty of time to do our spring cleaning this winter. When I talk about cleaning our closets, I refer to this both physically and spiritually. When removing the cobwebs from our closets, it is also good to remove the dust-bunnies from our heads. What have you been putting off? Who or what have you been avoiding? What important action have you not taken?

Next you must decide what seeds to plant and how many. I embrace my fallow periods as times to learn. I am an avid reader, life learner, and a self-proclaimed audio book junkie. Spring is a great time to enroll in a course or even go back to school. This winter I enrolled in a certificate program to become a life coach, and I am loving it! The more seeds of knowledge you plant the more successful you will be!

Planting seeds of knowledge

Surround yourself with Sunshine! I use sunshine as an analogy for happy positive people and situations. You are the company you keep.

People like plants need oxygen to grow, so take a deep breath. Meditate if you can, or just breathe in deeply in times of stress.

Lastly, plants need plenty of water and nutrients. Eating healthy gives us the energy we need to think and be productive. I go to work every week with tons of raw vegetables, hummus and other healthy snacks. Pre-planning always helps us avoid unhealthy eating pitfalls.

Watering plants 2

Happy Spring! I hope your fallow period reaps a beautiful harvest, and that you continue to plant new seeds for future success.

Fields of flowers- 2

Your presence is a present

In today’s crazy 24/7, cell phone, social media, multi-tasking, and over scheduled worlds, are we truly listening to our spouse, children, co-workers and friends when they are talking to us?

 I profess to be guilty as charged.   Recently I made a vow to be “Present when I am Present”.  This sounds easy in theory but not as easy in practice.

 Interestingly, this request came for my husband.  My husband makes no other demands on me whatsoever; no cooking, no cleaning, no scheduling activities.  I mean nothing!   One would think that fully listening was an easy request.  Well, let me tell you, it took work!

 The bottom line is we are programmed to multi-task and many of us have made listening to one another just another item on our to do lists.  What I have learned through this experience is that even if you are listening while doing the laundry, paying the bills and unloading the dishwasher; you may be taking in the information, but does the person you are listening to feel like they are being heard?

 I have started to examine this behavior to see where else in life I am making the same mistake. 

 At work, how many of you have said to a co-worker, while typing and e-mail, “Go on, I am listening”?  Meanwhile, you never look up from your computer screens. How many of you are on conference calls with people in the same office on separate phones, while continuing to do your e-mails?  Not to mention the remote attendants who are doing g-d knows what?! Come on raise your hands, we are all guilty.  Are we really taking in all the information being said?  Are we making our co-workers feel heard?

0511-0703-0118-4212_Businesswoman_Multitasking_clipart_image

 Now that my children are grown, out of the house (well kind of) and have their own lives, what I would not do to have the time back that I wasted doing my chores instead of sitting down on the couch and really listening to what they had to say!

This behavior also affects our friendships.  Texts and e-mails are just no substitute for a good old fashion girls’ nights out, walk on the trail, movie date, glass of wine or cup of coffee!

 I now take my vow to be present when I am present very seriously.  I come home from work, throw down my briefcase and enjoy a nice glass of wine and great conversation with my husband.  I schedule one on one time with my son when he is in from college and continue to have Saturday nail dates with my daughter.  Weekly, I schedule phone calls with my remote team.  I do this when I am not in the office, so I can give them my 100% undivided attention.  I now never miss a weekend without at least one opportunity to spend time with a girlfriend.

Wine Drinking

 I must admit that my life is a lot fuller and the world has not come to an end having not sent out one e-mail or failed to fold my laundry before going to bed. 

 I hope you have learned something from my experience.  Thank you for listening!