Knowing The Seasons In Leadership

Knowing The Seasons In Leadership

It’s important to know what season you are in as a leader. Life has different rhythms: times of activity; times of rest; times to learn, experience, develop; and times to put to use all that has been invested in you. A time for family, a time for yourself, a time for work and a time for others.

One of the biggest challenges in life is to know the season you’re in and where to spend your time and energies. Much of societies emphasis on time is about career advancement, financial goals or financial goals; but what about your relationships or your family?

One of the most precious gifts we have in our lives is time, and what we do with that time determines the actions that shape our lives. You may lack discipline to develop at work, and find yourself stuck in a rut. Or you may spend all your hours being busy, and subsequently find that you’ve lost those important years of your children growing up. Our time is priceless.

So with those around you, give space to clarify what season you’re in. Is it a season for work, for family, for development or for growth? And I’m sure it’s going to be a bit of them all! Holding them in tension is the challenge. However, it’s all too easy to hide behind statements like ‘life/work balance’ that- I do feel that often one or two priorities come to the forefront at any one time. I prefer ‘life/life’ balance- engaging in what your passionate about, and what is crucial for that time.

And once you’ve found your rhythm, your priority and your focus in the season- there’s a simple obvious question to ask- do you want to excel in it?

And what happens if that season is not all about work, but something else? How would you feel then? It’s likely you want to be a good friend, loving partner/parent; but to what extent do you show your commitment to excel in those areas? Where as a result, you’d be willing to put in the same energy in developing these areas of your life, as you would flexing your working muscles?

Books on marriage? Podcasts on being a parent? Conversations on what it means to be a good member of the community? Training on how to love people? What should the emphasis be for you?

A lot of people feel put off by all of this. They feel it’s not necessary- time outside of work is when you get to relax. But why do we elevate work to a position above everything else? Am I absolutely justified to be tired when I come back from a busy day at work- not to have to muster up the energy to fully engage with my baby Iona? I could easily say I need to relax and re-charge. Is it relaxing- or is it coasting from one day to the next, because I’m exhausted by work that demands my prime energies? If you want to excel in all of lifes areas, through all the seasons of our lives, surely it does requires prioritisation and focused energy?

For me I find myself in a new season, where I’ve been so busy with work for a few too many years and have come out of it drained, exhausted, emotional and wrecked. Everything was stripped away- my business, my reputation, my resources, my house and money. I’d given my all, thrown everything into it, dreamt of something amazing and after a long hard slog, the company went bust and I was bankrupt. And I look back on so it all, wondering how much energy I wasted on the wrong things.

So I could try to go again, to focus again, to roar and muster up the energy to start again. But truth is, that type of starting again would be too much of my default, may lack depth and substance and it’s not my season for that. One day I’m sure, and I’ll be ready to jump. Now is the season for me to reflect, to think, to write, to communicate- and if there are any morsels of wisdom from the journey I’ve been on, to help others. However long this season lasts I’m not quite sure, but it’s one that brings life and I am privileged and honoured to be in it.

Instead of running around being busy, building something that wont last, I want to go mining for truth and find the gems that will bring life.

But also, now is the time for me to understand what it means to be a good dad and a good husband. To be a good friend and a good son. Because there’s something about building on those good foundations in life, that gives you something to build from.

I think I’ve found my rhythm, my season for now. It will shift. It will change. And as one who would have stupidly worked all hours and in the process put on lots of weight, I know that this shift is one that’s necessary. One that feels alien, but a rhythm that will bring forth life.

What season are you in?

Come talk to me- Find me on Twitter? Leave me a comment. Send me an email. I’d love to hear where you’re up to? What are your thoughts?

  • Nicki Pozos

    I love this post. It is true, that the seasons of our lives do wax and wane, especially with parenthood. I’ve found one challenge as a mother is to maintain my sense of self (and perhaps my actions related to self) while dedicating so much energy to work and motherhood. Now that I have just had my second child, I have felt a huge energy surge to recapture that part of my life. I agree that taking action in supporting those other areas of our lives can be very fruitful, that we need not save our engagement for the business side of life!

    • Caleb Storkey

      Hi Nicki! Thanks for your lovely words and your thoughts.

      I think this can be exceptionally hard for mothers or fathers who take time off work to be with their children. What does recapturing that part of life look like practically? I’d love to know. Any steps/plans you’ve been able to take which others can reflect on?

      • Nicki Pozos

        My first child was colicky and I think when i emerged from my 3 months of maternity leave there was nothing left of me. I was just happy that I finally got to leave the house!

        I am now just a couple months back from maternity leave on my second and things are definitely different this time around. For one, I had my nanny while I was on leave (she is just too great to have given her up), which made my leave more like a sabbatical. I actually dedicated my leave to learning social media, because I felt so out of touch, and am grateful I actually had the luxury of working on a “project” during that time.

        Now that I am back at work I don’t quite have that same space. But what is making the difference is making space for creativity in my life, I think as parents it is just too easy to live most of live out of a survival mode. Barely being able to come up for air, and taking any space as an opportunity to collapse. I have just recently read to one percent solution and one of the author’s points is that action leads to motivation. I guess my one piece of advice for parents would be to take the action towards yourself – towards something that is creative and open and an exploration – without waiting until you have the motivation or energy.

        And may I say that I love how you interact with social media – it is such a great combination of being both effective and genuine. I feel like I’m learning a lot just interacting with you!

        • Caleb Storkey

          Nicki- thanks for sharing. That sounded tough.

          My wife and I recently gave birth to our first Iona Ella Storkey. Well she gave birth and I shouted push! It completely threw our lives into a multi coloured glorious mess. I can get a feel for how stressful it would have been to have had a colicky baby and how exhausted you must have been. It must take everything out of you.

          Well done in finding your feet and I’m so glad you’ve found a way that is now working for you and your family. It is so easy and understandable to go into survival mode, and your nanny sounds amazing. So where circumstances allow, and people have the headspace your advice is brilliant. ‘Take action towards yourself- towards something that is creative and open and an exploration.’ I agree totally- I’m currently writing this with Iona asleep on my chest! So precious!

          For my wife, she is wonderfully absorbed in understanding a babies development stages, the psychology of interaction…. and this without a doubt is her ‘moving towards something creative.’ What that creativity looks like will vary from person to person.

          I’d love to connect you with a friend of ours, Becca Gibbions who is also chewing over similar issues. You may enjoy bouncing experiences off each other. I’ve mentioned it to her, so if you friend her on facebook, she’ll be looking out for you.

          You may find these earlier blogs I’ve written helpful on this subject:

          Focusing on the most important things in life/
          The Fragility Of An Idea/
          Love & riches- The power of community-belonging to others/

          As always spread the love if you think they’d be helpful to others in your network. If you get blogging, please send a link- be great to read your thoughts.

          And thanks for your kind words- I’m loving exploring thoughts, learning lots from others, and am so pleased that it’s an encouragement to you.

          Take care and please keep in touch, Caleb

  • Rebecca Gibbions

    I love this post Caleb! I definitely feel like I’m on a journey discovering the different seasons in life. Four years ago I gave up a successful career as a TV producer to become a full-time mum. I absolutely immersed myself in looking after my little boy in the first year of his life. I felt like I was doing something profoundly special in raising this little person and inputting into his life. It was when he turned one that I started to struggle as all around me friends returned to work and I suddenly lost all confidence in myself. I relate to what Nicki wrote about her desire to maintain a sense of self. Prior to becoming a mum my identity was firmly intwined with my career. I was a TV producer! In the world’s eyes that was a good thing. I was a success! But now, as a full time mummy who the hell am I and how do people perceive and receive me?!

    I am having to discover who I am without a career to hide behind. At the end of the day it isn’t the job we do that defines who we are. Stay at home mums are one of the least listened to and respected groups in society but does that mean that what I am doing is wrong? Or is it society that has it wrong and should more women make a similar sacrifice and spend a season in their life pouring love and creativity into the lives of their children? I have not got all the answers and I am still not fully at peace with my decision to be at home. I miss my old life and sometimes resent the ground hog day nature of my new existence with Reuben and Beatrice. But the season I am currently in is family and instead of battling against this (which I often find myself doing) I need to fully embrace it and pour all the creativity that I once put into my job into the little people who I love the most!

    • Caleb Storkey

      Hey Rebecca- my apologies- somehow this comment slipped through the net and I’ve only just seen it now! If I’d known it was here earlier, I would have jumped at the chance to respond. Thanks so much for raising such a crucial question that no doubt millions of people across the planet have asked!

      It’s a tough walk, and unfortunately one I can’t fully relate to, having not taken time off from work to look after Iona. But I imagine it may be something that will crop up for Kerry, though right now she’s in seventh heaven. But I can fully identify with and recognise your frustration at loving your job; (the creativity, the influence and the flair) and then balancing that with the tension of loving being a mum, with your two beautiful kids.

      Rhythms and seasons often speak out to me. I want to do things at times when the season (or in plain language, circumstances don’t allow). But I think there’s seasons are there to help me identify what my main drivers are, where my identity lies and what I should be focusing on.

      Seems from what you say, that you’re on a similar journey. Who you are without a career to hide behind…..It’s a tough dynamic with the shift in trends in society. I don’t think I ever would have said this, as having lived with a feminist as a mum, that’s always shaped my thinking. But Kerry is able to nurture and look after Iona in ways I can’t (well apparently some French blokes have managed to breast feed, but Iona didn’t take to me). She has a natural maternal instinct, that I don’t have. And as much as I recognise that not everyone is in a position to not go back to work, we’re overjoyed currently (!) that Kerry is going to be able to lavish love into our little baby these next years, during the day and I can lavish my love during the evenings and weekends. Kerry will go back to work when she likes (and she loves activity so I’m sure she will one day), and I take it as a privilege to ensure that I provide the resources to give her that decision….. but I tell you what I love that she isn’t going back to work in the imminent future.

      I appreciate that isn’t for everyone, and the dynamic is not what a lot would want/ or be able to work into their lives for very real, practical, financial reasons. I feel blessed we currently are- but that could all change.

      So in your season Rebeeca? Who are you? What are you about? What makes Mrs Rebecca Gibbions, Mrs Rebecca Gibbions? Forget the answers on the postcard – I’d love to know the answers here.

  • Pastor Aminata

    Oh how I hate to write, because as I write one sentence, 49 more are screaming to come forth at the same time.. so bare with me. Caleb, in case you haven’t been told before, (whispering .. you’re wearing your Iona on your sleeve..), I don’t know who you were before Iona, but I can see clearly who you are now, and it’s a beautiful thing. Every sentence oozes with passion and compassion about the subject matter.

    I so agree with you that time is a precious gift and as I grow older, the realization grows even sharper, and I’ve come to cherish this gift of time in a deeper more meaningful and intimate way. Last week I just celebrated my 58th birthday and wow those years go by fast. Yet, I’ve had a wonderful life so far.

    I’ve come through what many people don’t make it through, i.e., an abusive marriage where my first husband tried to kill me and almost succeeded. I survived two attempts at suicide, because of the abuse, being homeless for a while, jobless, and I was raped! Then there were seasons of recovery and discovery, in this season I found the niche of “me.” It was here that I discovered my gifts and talents, and went from being an employee to an employer with a very successful company, until 911 brought everything to a halt, in which I found myself in yet another season that demanded adaptation and reconfiguration.

    I raised two children as a single parent, (my first husband were not their father) who are now in their 30s and now have 5 grandchildren, I’ve been blessed with a new husband who loves me dearly, next week will be our 9th anniversary.

    Seasons. We all have them, but do we understand them, embrace them, and dare we learn from them to help us reach the next level of our lives in a more meaningful and purposeful way? One thing I will say is this; the single thing that helped me through each season of my life is my faith in God. There is no doubt in my mind that I could have survive otherwise.

    You speak of finding your rhythm, priority and focus in the season, and you’re right. We must understand the season we’re in and know that this too shall pass. Now that’s not a bad thing, for each season ought to bring about growth and a deeper level of understanding of what it means to live. You Caleb had to go through what you went through (that season of your life) in order to get to this point. You had to find the value of life and there was no other way to do it but navigate through that season of your life which brought you to this point, Iona.

    So now you see things differently, now.. you want to do things differently, why? Because you’ve had experiences in past seasons that helped you to understand what ought to be your priorities, and you adjusted accordingly. Everyone is not privy to this truth, and therefore miss out, but if you’re so blessed as to understand what season you’re in and embrace it… that’s a beautiful thing indeed!

    I’ve had wonderful seasons so far, and by faith expect to have many more. Right now, I’m in the season of rediscovery and reconfiguration again, but I’m not worried because of seasons past, when I look back and see how God has always been there for me. My journey continues and I know my steps are ordered by God.. and I’m just a walking.. Thank you so much for sharing your gift of thoughtful and insightful writings.