I had a lovely couple of weeks with Harper on her Easter Holidays and a few little family breaks, giving a chance to get away from work, and from home and slow the pace down. Harper is obsessed with being in the water - she had her first swimming lesson at 8 weeks old and so during one week of the holidays, we found ourselves in swimming pools on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Needless to say, I was more prune than man by the end of all that!
The timing of Easter means that for someone who is self-employed and who was used to the structure of a corporate year, it falls nicely where a Q1 review would take place and while I do not miss those at all, it creates a useful opportunity to reflect on the direction that business is going in and whether that's aligned with my plans and, ultimately, my expectations.
I set out 18 months ago with a plan for the type of work I wanted to do, the types of people I wanted to do it with and what I wanted my days to look like. The three pillars were coaching (both individuals and teams), consultancy (helping businesses and teams and designing and delivering training solutions for them) and speaking (MCing events, keynote speaking and other things like appearing on podcasts). My expectation was right, that the first two would pick up before the third and reflecting upon things so far, while coaching and delivering are going great guns, speaking is definitely an area I'm a bit behind the curve on. So for the remaining quarters of this year, I'm now focussed on looking for more opportunities to get out and speak at events and share ideas. I've got a few irons in the fire already but if you know anyone who you think would have use of my services and who could benefit from my approach, be sure to send them my way!
As well as thinking about work, this time of the year offers a great opportunity to get things in shape domestically. Clearing out old, unused items from the wardrobe, tidying out the shed, digging out the garden furniture, mowing the lawn for the first time in the year, cleaning and painting the decking so it looks a bit less crap for the summer. I always find that these sorts of things make me feel a little more organised and at ease. Same with cleaning my office out and getting things in order, or going through my financial paperwork and making sure everything is up to date or even getting my expenses done. Small, menial tasks but with an outsized benefit in terms of wellbeing.
All the things that sort of hibernate over the winter, come back to life when the sun comes out in the Spring. It's a nice feeling. It's bright when you get up and the evenings are getting longer, giving time to get things done outside once the work day is done. The Davies family bbq count for the year is up to 3 already and there are many more ahead. If there's a better mood improver than a corn on the cob from the bbq or some pak choi with a honey, soy sauce and lemon juice coating and a light char from the grill, I've yet to experience it!
A bit more sun on the face is good for the soul (bear in mind I'm in Scotland, so I'll not get carried away with that one!) as well as Vitamin D it gives the body. I don't suffer from SAD but I can absolutely understand why people would find things tougher through the winter months. I definitely feel like I've got more energy and am less lethargic when the weather is brighter and I can harness that to drive productivity in new or under invested areas.
I remember reading that a big difference between good and great cross country runners at the amateur level was not what they did coming uphills, but what they did going down. The good ones used the downward slope to regroup and get their breath back and the great ones took full advantage of the gradient to build up speed and cover as much ground as possible. For me, this time of year feels like that down slope and so the opportunity to get stuck in and be proactive and productive is never better.
Do you feel the same increase in energy when the Spring arrives? How will you use this to propel you into the next quarter of the year and make it your best yet?