Métier coaching + culture is headquartered in beautiful Montreal, Québec where this time of year the days are always short and pretty much always extremely cold.
And because one of my big mid-career shifts has been to examine my stories around ambition, I’ve become curious about those moments when I notice my professional ambition is morphing, MIA, or spiking like crazy. A big part of this process for me has been just to accept that like everything else in the universe, my ambition is constantly in flux and that’s okay.
Like many recovering productivity-focused folks, I can slip into collapsing my capacity for production with my intrinsic value. This reflection on my winter metrics is offering me a beautiful opportunity to deepen and refine my own self-acceptance.
Here’s what I’ve begun to find curious: my expectations around personal performance are astoundingly unwavering from season to season. Even though everything in my external world is completely transformed, I believe I will stay the same.
In other words, I have been holding a belief that my capacity to get shit done (to deliver, to perform, to give it all my all, etc) should never shift, even though my little universe has just gotten 40 degrees colder, 50 % darker, and my body—this is not valid science, but indulge me—feels a gajilllion times more vitamin D deprived than it did a few short months ago. And because this belief is unaligned with basically everything, I get frustrated when I struggle to maintain a consistent productivity from season to season.
(Again I am reminded that self compassion is an ongoing learning.)
My meditation practice, clumsy as it often feels, is helping me realign my winter metrics.
One of my my favorite meditation teachers, Josh Korda (based in equally frigid NYC), takes on this wintery dilemma in his latest podcast. Weaving together insights from neurobiology and Buddhism, he explains that for millennia, up until not too long ago, our evolutionary conditioning allowed for seasonal shifts in energy expenditure. That it was normal, in the winter, it was good enough, for millions of years, to simply survive, hang out with our people, and do very little. The harvest is in, there’s nothing more we can do, so we shift our focus away from doing. Cosy! Yet, no surprise here, now that we can do pretty much anything 24/7, it’s easy to believe we should never not be doing. And so we push and push through, refusing to allow ourselves the generative rest the season is designed to allow for.
I encourage you to check out this rich talk, which concludes with a beautiful meditation to help those who struggle this time of year to simply be.
May you find you own gentle practices for deepening your acceptance of what is, and adjusting your winter metrics accordingly.
After all, the spring will be here soon enough, with longer light and its anticipatory energy, and what’s feels right, and what is actually possible, will be different once again.