I have had the privilege of hearing Seth Mattison speak at various industry conferences and have always come away from his presentations feeling inspired, energized, and motivated. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity of hearing him speak once again, in a more intimate setting over breakfast, and what I came away with was inspiration, energy, motivation – and calm and faith (in the process).
Having grown up in a farming family, Mattison spoke of the seasons of the land and drew parallels between the rhythm of farming and that of business. “When you are close to the land,” he reminded us, “you are close to the seasons of the world.” And “seasons,” he continued, “are relevant not only to farming, but also to business and to life.” As I remember working at my great-uncle’s farm harvesting corn when I was a young teenager, the connection between the cycles of the land and the cycles of business resonated particularly strongly with me.
“Winter is a season to rest, reflect, look back, and recharge.” Indeed, this is very much the symbolic of the months of December and January – months governed by analysis and planning.
“Spring is a season to plant and put seeds in the ground. Diligently, faithfully, every year.”
Summer is a season for monitoring growth and making adjustments to changing (weather or industry) conditions.
Fall is a season for harvesting, the season during which the year’s planning, planting, and labor yields fruit.
I have a love-hate relationship with January. I love the “newness” of it – a blank slate, the ability to start fresh. And I hate the “virgin-ness” of it – all (or most) of the business metrics I measure start back at 0. I don’t like 0s.
Mattison helped me understand that January can never be September, as that would just not be natural.
He helped me understand that I should love January (and winter) for what it offers, and work with the rhythm of nature, not against it.
He helped me understand that in business as in farming, there are many things we cannot control (the weather and the markets for example).
And finally, he helped me understand that while we must “surrender the outcome, we simultaneously must diligently work on the controllable.”