Well September has arrived. For good or bad that is true.
As sure as the leaves will soon change colours, and then fall from the trees, two things are also happening inside most of us. First a change of our own inner ‘colour’ or spirit, and second, possibly a falling of that same spirit. That spirit we call Motivation – and motivation is very challenging in September.
For some, September arrives and at first it rockets to the sky. We are excited for the resumption of routine, new projects, regular schedules, maybe even fuller co working spaces; we even get excited about waiting a little longer for the morning latte. The vibrancy energizes us. But for some soon that colour changes, and we begin to recall quiet, serene, more solo, less stressful days of fewer meetings, softer demands and even a relaxed pace.
For others, September comes like an anvil. Heavy, thunderous and bland. We accept ‘summer is over’ and maybe even recall the “Summer Bucket List” that did not get finished. Tasks at work become robotic, demands seem onerous and we find ourselves unmotivated or maybe even worse over whelmed, and what we saw value in before (e.g. going to the gym, talking to a mentor or advisor, or even quiet reading or journaling) quickly are dismissed as ‘yet another thing’.
Am I preaching to the choir here? Anybody saying “Amen”? Is this anyone out there with the same thoughts?
So what is one to do?
Well anyone who knows me knows I am big on habits and consistency, so you know I will recommend those, but I want to go a step further because habits and consistency without purpose are destined in time to become “just another thing.”
If you want to push past “The Autumn Yawn” as I like to call it, then it’s time to connect your habits and consistency with a personal philosophy that will push you in every season.
Developing your personal philosophy, is to look for those things that make the most difference in your life, and to spend most of your time doing those things. It isn’t a mystical process but a principle that can make a difference.
So here are few things to help discern that personal philosophy in a life giving manner.
Learn from Set Back
The best way to establish a personal philosophy is to objectively review the conclusions you’ve drawn about life. Any conclusion you’ve drawn that isn’t working for you, could be working against you.
This is done in three steps:
First, write down your personal experience. If you’re doing something wrong, evaluate what you did wrong and change things. If you are doing something right (and yes everyone does something right), then make those solid foundational pillars to build from. I encourage you strongly - keep a journal, it is your own handwritten transcript of experiences, ideas, desires and conclusions, and is one of the best guides for making good decisions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives us time to analyze and ponder the experience. Jot down what you learn. It’s the small disciplines that lead to great accomplishments. Check out this Journal as an option to get you started.
Second, use a format I call “Wins, Woes and Wants”. In the time it takes you to order (or make) a coffee and drink it, (about 10-15 minutes), you simply scribe what went right (win), what you would have done differently (woe) and what you desired or still do (want) for either the day that passed or the previous day. Writing down your “Wins, Woes and Wants” daily is one of the best investments in your self you can make. Check out this Podcast episode to help you see why.
Third, seek an objective, outside voice about how you are and what you’re doing. An objective opinion from someone you respect can lead you to early and accurate information. Listen to the freshness of an outside voice—someone who can see the forest and isn’t lost in the trees. If I can help with that reach out to me
Since the inception of my podcast “You Can Make It So”, I have made it a goal to have guests to help me and listeners learn from their journey. So far 15 in total have come on. I even dedicate an entire season to it called “The Summer of Success”. Why do I do this? Well because it is crucial to your own personal philosophy (not to mention growth) to study and learn from other people.
Study from people who do well. Each of us should be in a constant search for people we admire and respect and whose behavior we can model. It’s far better to deliberately choose the people we will permit to influence us than to allow bad influences to affect us without our own awareness.
Learn from those who have failed. We do this not to gloat, but to observe the error prompt in their life to ensure they are not current conduct in ours waiting to be replicated.
Set your Sail
One major unfulfilled “Summer Bucket List” item for me was to get back to sailing. It is a hobby in the past I have enjoyed and found ever so relaxing.
We all have experienced the winds of disappointment, despair and discouragement, but why do people arrive at such different places at the end of the journey? Have we not all sailed upon the same sea?
The major difference isn’t circumstance; it’s the set of the sail, or the way we think—it’s what we do after we’ve set our sails and the wind decides to change direction. We have to struggle to our feet and reset the sail in a manner that will steer us in the direction of our own deliberate choice. The set of the sail, or how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to determine outcome than any challenges we face.
So tackle the “The Autumn Yawn” - yes with habits and consistency, but even more so with a personal philosophy that will push you in every season.