Lately, I find myself looking forward to the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. Manhattan is an odd culture - the place pretty much shuts down over the summer. Or at least it slows way down. Lots of people leave for months at a time to escape the crowded city craziness that you learn to both love and hate.
So summer is not what you would call a “productive” season business-wise. People aren’t setting aggressive goals, they are harder to reach due to travel, and they don’t make many spending decisions.
When I was in IT sales, Summer was always the lowest revenue quarter. We would often get frustrated because the leaders setting revenue projections didn’t take into account seasonal variations, so it looked like we underperformed during the summer. Every. Single. Year.
Thankfully, over time the CEO finally saw the pattern and learned to adjust expectations accordingly. And that right there illustrates an important key to satisfaction - know what season you’re in, and make realistic goals that consider the unique variations.
Notice I didn’t say LOWER you expectations. Instead, I suggest a SHIFT. If you know that your business cycle slows down in summer, then take advantage of that time to shore up critical systems, marketing materials, and customer service processes. If you go to a lot of industry conferences in the Spring, then combine your travel with visits to key customers.
Things get a lot easier when you learn to work with the rhythms and season of life. Those variations are a gift. But if you fight against them expecting consistent performance all the time, you’ll be constantly frustrated. And I don’t want you to be frustrated.
So what about you? Is there a certain period each year that you’ve come to dread? Write it down. What’s unique about that season? What is it trying to tell you? Now ask yourself - how have your expectations been fighting against the natural rhythm? And finally, how can you adjust your expectations and activities to leverage that season to your advantage?
Bonus tip: this works in all areas of life - not just business.
I wish you well.