Summer Permission Slip

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Schools out. We’re on the brink of summer.

It’s a season of change.

Seasons are an important part of life’s rhythm. They change our pace. They disrupt us.

I used to think I didn’t like seasons. Spending most of my life in Wisconsin and Tennessee I found the extremes of the seasons tiring. Whether it was the long subzero winters of the Northwoods or the triple-digit humid temperatures of Music City, the seasons were extreme and often exhausting. When I moved to Silicon Valley in Northern California two years ago I expected it to be heavenly. Mild, Mediterranean-like temperatures year round… what could be better?

Actually, seasons are better.

The transition from one season to another stimulates change. It awakens our senses. Consider the fragrance of new growth in spring, the sun and humidity of summer, the crisp air and vibrant colors of fall, the stark and barren emptiness of winter. Each season in it’s own way is beautiful and startling.

Summer is the season most of us eagerly welcome. It often involves a more relaxed pace, vacation, lots of sun and time with friends. Summer is a season of rejuvenation. The new life of spring has given way to the flourishing growth of summer. Long days, relaxed nights and if you’re lucky a beautiful coastline – if even for a week – to enjoy the grandness of God’s creation.

In summer I feel invincible. I feel appropriately large and small at the same time. I breathe deeper and exhale more fully. The world that I’m carrying on my shoulders doesn’t feel so unbearable.

So as school gets out and summer breaks way, step into it. Enjoy it. Don’t resist it.

For too many years I saw summer as an opportunity to “try to catch up”. As a leader, always trying to stay on the cutting edge and keep leading my teams forward, I saw summer as an opportunity for me to gain some ground and prepare for the fall. I drove myself and I drove others more aggressively than the season called for. And as a result we were tired and frazzled when we should have been rested and rejuvenated.

Leaders, there are seasons to your work. There are seasons of hustle and drive and there are seasons of rest and replenishment. You need both. Your team needs both.

What season are you in? What do you need? What does your team need? What do you need to be doing in this season to prepare for the next?

Remember, leaders set the pace. You must be aware of current reality while anticipating future need.

And let me encourage you that summer is an essential season. You need to rest and play. For too many years I felt like it was a luxury I couldn’t afford. My resistance to embracing summer left me frazzled and ineffective as a leader.

So I hereby give you permission to rest, to play, to laugh, to dream, to skip through sand, to soak in the sun and to cherish memories with family and friends this season of summer.

 

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2 comments

  • Kenny June 4, 2016   Reply →

    Jenni, Thanks for the permission slip. But sort of feeling out of sorts reading this.

    For me, summer is a season where we lose our routines and established patterns of daily life. Especially with school aged kids still in the house. Daily, weekly, monthly routines disappear. Camps, keeping them occupied, scheduling things for every day…. It becomes ad-hoc short blitzes one after another for 3 months. Certainly not like when there is school for the kids, etc. Life becomes more hectic actually for me during summer — trying to juggle everything appropriately.

    The challenge I hear is to try and reduce the need to feel like I am making my mark during this season. Be ok with letting it go as a wash per se. Perhaps amidst that hectic summer life, i need to cherish the good times. As a poet once said, happiness makes up in height wheat it lacks in length. Let summer soar for now.

    • Jenni Catron June 18, 2016   Reply →

      Good points and additional perspective, Kenny. Thanks for sharing.

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