Outside the walls of our offices, it is clear, the season is changing, the leaves are turning, the sky is darkening, and the air is biting with the familiar breath of early autumn. When the seasons shift physically in our world we are called to notice that this function of nature is universally true across species and circumstances. Seasons change. Feelings change. Circumstances change. And pain, though terrible in the moment, does ease, even if by the smallest increment. In life and in business, difficult and stressful situations will come and go, and sometimes that knowledge is our only source of relief.
Without a doubt, owning and running a business in a fluctuating market is nail-biting stress. The stock market is ambiguous at best and the success of our businesses hinge on its ups and downs. According to Investopedia, “The stock market is a complex, interrelated system of large and small investors making uncoordinated decisions about a huge variety of investments. The market, so to speak, could be construed as sort of an ecosystem, one organized by the ‘invisible hand’.” Remember, the market will always have mood swings. It is the nature of the beast. Do what you can to secure your business for the down-swing and know that one day the sun will rise along with the market, just as the seasons change.
Organizational changes can also feel overwhelming to business owners. You’re forced to let employees go or watch employees walk away sometimes at the cost of interpersonal relationships. This can bring about a kind of cold and isolating weariness only reserved for upper leadership. Remember, the discomfort will not last forever. Whoever replaces the person you lost has their own smooth-running qualities. One grounding option for you in all the chaos is to stay curious about their unique qualities. Something beautiful could be just around the corner…
Workload is another frequent source of stress for business owners. Leadership can quickly turn into perfectionism if not balanced with a big-picture perspective. Business owners often expect themselves to work 24/7 and avoid failure at all costs. If the costs involve your personal health or the health of your personal relationships, the success, no matter how spectacular, will not be worth it. Don’t check your work emails or voicemails when you’re not working. Create a realistic schedule that includes time for fun, relaxation, sleep, exercise, and family. A workload that is too heavy for too long will eventually impact your overall productivity and performance at work and may cost something precious at home. Set boundaries and know that the majority of your workload is your choice. You have options. Drowning doesn’t have to be one of them. When the pressure is mounting, do everything you can to step back and set boundaries knowing that, like everything else, the pressure will ease eventually. It is just for a season.
To wrap it up, seasons remind us that there is always new life waiting to be birthed through us if we are willing to cultivate what is hard and toilsome. Seasons are the best teachers. They reveal what is steady and true about life. They also call us to keep hope alive and remind us that no matter how brutal the present, a change is coming. The leaves are turning. The sky is darkening. The air is beginning to bite a little in the morning and all will be well. As theologian Kate Bowler says, “Have a beautiful, terrible day.”