My Spring Manifesto 2017 :: Reflections
Last year I started a process of writing a manifesto for each season. Living with a manifesto added a layer of appreciation to the small things in my day to day and gave me the opportunity for more focus. The comfort and familiar cycles of the seasons shaped the year and I began to take more inspiration and cues from nature around me, bringing with it a more considered pace and focus into my life. I started to notice more and felt that I was living life in a more wholesome and wholehearted way. Every season sees a shift, from changes in the weather and the cycles of nature, to the way we connect to our surroundings. It feels like a new chapter begins at the start of each season and I especially love the blurry edges of the seasons as we transition to the next. This beautiful magnolia in bloom was captured one sunny weekend this year and, alongside tree blossom, is what symbolises spring to me...the chance to grow and blossom.
Creating a manifesto each season enables me to declare my intentions for the season ahead. I like to use it to think about what I plan to bring into my life, what to focus on, and how I want to connect to nature and the season I am living in. Each season I want my manifesto to be a way to help me shape my life in a positive, thoughtful and wholesome way. I use it as a guide to enable me to navigate my route forwards. As the season shifts and moves forwards I love noticing what nature is identifying to me in the moment and how I can use those noticings in my day.
This Spring has seen immense change in my life with the start of a new job in an industry that is new to me and close to my heart. It has brought together my skills, experience, my personal interests and a deep sense of purpose working for an organic, ethical and sustainable company. It is pretty much close to a dream job that has taken my 13 year career to get to and I feel that the stars aligned just at the right moment to enable this to happen. This spring I've taken time away from many digital outlets and to take a break from this space too. When big change is happening I sometimes decide to step away from sharing, to allow space to contemplate and just be.
In February and March I jotted down a few thoughts and words of what I wanted my Spring Manifesto to be about. Prompted at that time by the impending change in my day job, I've noticed that many of the elements came from deep feelings that I had been experiencing at the time that I needed to work through thoughtfully over the season ahead. As we enjoy the warm weather at the start of June and we begin to move towards summer I wanted to share with you my Spring manifesto and what it has been bringing into my life...
My Spring Manifesto 2017
Be brave and focus to thrive Cultivate belief and trust myself Enjoy the energy flow and grow Make space, plan and do the work Enjoy growing something new
Be brave and focus to thrive
My word of the year is Thrive and I take a moment when I can to check in with my word and how it is shaping my year. This element of my Spring manifesto was just that. Be brave felt like something I needed at the time of writing. After 11 years at the same company, making the choice to not accept a new job offered to me, take redundancy, and say goodbye, was a brave decision. It took great courage to not stay where I was, I knew I just could not grow myself and my ambitions due to the structure, the industry, the mindset of people around me, and a deep seated feeling that there was more to life and my career. I felt I had been held back so many times over the years and it would have continued. I needed to be brave, focus on myself, and make a change that would to allow me to be able to thrive in my own way.
Deciding to leave an industry I knew and heading into the unknown was tough, I had to be brave to make the decision but ultimately I really trusted my intuition, and myself, to make the best choice in the moment. I really wanted the opportunity everyday to thrive and knew that heading off would allow me to do that. A few days after choosing to not stay where I was, I was contacted about a new job in an industry that fits me more than I could have ever have dreamed of. With the offer of a new job and the experience of working in a new team comes with feelings of huge uncertainty but I embraced it and am really loving the change. There are moments in life when bravery, courage and stepping out of my comfort zone have paid off to enable me to experience something, and I have seen it again in myself. I really can see how making a move can be enable me to reinvigorate my skills, my passions and I can visibly see and feel how much I can achieve when placed in an environment that invests in people, their development and their wellbeing and being surrounded by a unique and inspiring vision for a company.
Cultivate belief and trust myself
Having belief in myself can really help me push forwards especially during times I am in flow and have the ultimate belief in my skills. But some days I have struggled with having belief in myself. With the good days have come the low days as I shift into a new job and new routines. In amongst all the new information and navigating the changes to my day over the past month, I've experienced huge moments of self-doubt with immeasurable moments of lack of belief in myself. Over the past few weeks and months I've felt uncertain and questioned the choice I had made for my next step. In those moments I've taken time to take a step back, to breathe, to find comfort, and to learn to trust myself to find a way through. A month in to new routines feels so different than week two or three and it is because I trust my heart and intuition that I've made the right choice. Above all I've cultivated more belief in myself and my skills, my resilience has deepened and I'm believe I can navigate through change to thrive. Belief and trust in myself has been a work in progress but whilst experiencing doubt I've learnt more about me, how I handle things, how to navigate through and to believe in my skills again.
Enjoy the energy flow and grow
At times during the past few months of change I have felt an incredible energy flow full of drive, and at other times during the past season I've experienced a lack of energy. I've felt the energy recede and the need to withdraw a little through tiredness, overwhelm and the need to navigate through change. I've learnt what my triggers are to losing energy, how I let anxiety and the pressure I put on myself take hold, and I've learnt to notice when it is happening and how to reset my mindset to regain a feeling of flow and positive energy. I've let the negative energy flow away too, taking the time I need to process and navigate a new route, leaving baggage behind.
During the final week in my old job I could feel my heart gradually open up for the first time in many years. I finished up things I was working on and I felt my positive energy begin to flow even more as I counted down the days. I knew that the decision I had bravely chosen and intuitively made, initially with no plans ahead of me, had worked out better than I could've ever have hoped for. It's an amazing feeling allowing myself to rediscover and notice what makes me really happy at work and where I wanted to be. I knew the value of my skillset and expertise and what I could bring to a company and there was no space for that in the new structure and ways of working there. I was stifled by the structures, the mindsets, the lack of deep knowledge of the industry and expertise, and I had many ideas that weren't taken onboard due to my role level and many times had my ideas passed off by others as their own. As I walked the floors of the building on my last afternoon saying goodbye to the talented people I had known and worked with for many many years, it felt like the end of an era but one I will fondly remember. I felt sad knowing that I would not see and work with them again but I felt fizzing with excitement that I was on the next phase of my journey, one that will enable me to work within a company with such a deep purpose and in an environment that would really allow me to thrive. I bounded out of the doors on my last day with no tears (quite unlike me!!), I let out a big breath out, took a deep breath in, walked out with a bounce in my step as I left. I knew that I was stepping out and I could now grow and really invest my energy into something I cared for.
Over the past month in my new job I've felt free and have had the chance to finally open up, be myself at work, flex my skill set and join an incredibly passionate team. I know that what I've stepped into will allow me to thrive, rather than hold me and my ambitions back. It's heavenly to be surrounded by people who are truely inspiring, who are working so hard with deep enthusiasm and purpose, and are making a real difference in the world. I feel inspired when I walk through the doors as something inside makes me feel like I have finally come home. The energy flow has felt different, there have been a mix of ups and downs but ultimately over the past month I've grown, I've realised what is important to me, I've had the chance to already be creative in my job, I've learnt to be kinder to myself and have adjusted my mindset. I've had the opportunity to re-engage my brain in a thoughtful way and my energy levels have gone back to positive and flowing and are what I feel ultimately comfortable with.
Make space, plan and do the work
For me I set out for this Spring to be the season to 'do the work'. I wanted to thrive in many areas of my life and had a list of personal projects that I wanted to achieve including writing a draft of my book, setting up my coaching business, and a whole set of other 'beyond the day job' passion projects that I love doing. I set out with the intention of making space to write, to use my planning skills to create structure so that I could do the work. I haven't achieved these things and I don't mind, I've let the personal deadlines I set myself go for now, as they will run into other seasons of the year. I know in my heart that perhaps I just thought I'd manage to get everything done as well as change jobs! But that hasn't been the case and I realised that I needed to rethink the time ahead and it was ok to make space from these passion projects to make other things happen.
I have given myself space from here and the digital world, I have focused on my new job, spent time at home and in our garden, and enjoyed time with our puppy Juno. As I'm making progress in my new job being 5 weeks in, I'm gradually reclaiming some mental time back and starting to make space for thinking about my personal projects again. That's why I'm back here as I have the headspace to write and connect.
Enjoy growing something new
Spring has been the season of new growth, from my personal growth in my new job and learning about a new industry, through to growing new plants in our garden. I've grown a reinvigorated passion for my career and am seeing it less as a day job as it integrates more into my interests and personal values. I've grown more love and an even closer connection to our puppy Juno as I get to know her more and more. Gardening with a puppy is a new experience and takes much longer to do, as is everything we do but I'm loving having her in our lives, slowing down and refocusing. As I write this she is snuggled up next to me in her morning sleepy mode, and from time to time looks up to see what I'm doing...
Spring has been an interesting season bringing about change and growth. I feel like I am having the chance to blossom in a new phase and season of my life, and I am ready to grow and thrive as I move into the next season. Life is feeling more established and I have a real desire to build more of what I love doing in the season ahead. I'm really ready for summer now and am looking forward to the next season of the year.