In case you haven’t noticed, life happens in seasons. We all go through our own winter, spring, summer and fall with the occasional and unexpected weather event. Just ask the good people of Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX about the snowstorm they experienced recently. Such is life! It’s got its peeks and valleys, traumas and triumphs, “7 years of plenty…7 years of famine.”

There are lessons to be learned and timely nuggets of wisdom that should be mined at all times and in all seasons. During times of plenty, we store up, “save for a rainy day,” and are careful how we behave and treat others during those triumphant summer seasons, because the world is round and at some point it will be a cold night in your part of the world. I’ve been reminded about some of those lessons and have discovered some timely wisdom as I wade through my own lean times.

Relationships Matter

Years ago I met this kid backstage after my show. The circus was a traditional outing for his family and they’d always get the best accommodations allowing them to visit with us backstage. I must have met hundreds of such kids smiling from ear to ear, with a thousand and one questions, requesting and autograph and photo (when all I wanted to do was get back to my dressing room to relax for the next show). However, this one encounter would prove to be far more significant than I could ever imagine. Years later, that same “kid” would be a colleague of sorts, as his company was working alongside my employers at the time. That same “kid” would reach out to me upon the closing of the circus and facilitate a couple of paid engagements for me. The world is round, indeed. I often think of how things might have turned out had I been curt or coarse with that “kid,” in my anxiousness to go relax after a long show.

Relationships are their own karma let no one tell you different. It wasn’t the biblical Joseph’s gift that lifted him out of prison, but rather the relationship he nurtured with Pharaoh’s cupbearer. The overwhelming majority of the employed are so because of someone they know, not because of someone online application they filled out. You may be the cutest thing walking, but people will always remember how you made them feel. Relationships matter!

Nurture Your Space

Barren spaces leave you susceptible to the mirage of doubt and despair. It’s not easy to look up and see nothing. The unknown can be such a weighty burden, especially when you have others who depend on you. Fear tends to blossom in dry seasons and if you are not careful fear can become all consuming, polluting your entire being with anxiety.

It is incumbent upon you to make it a habit to saturate your mind, spirit, and atmosphere with righteous information. It is your responsibility to invite illuminating and nurturing energy into your respective space, in spite of your circumstances. We should never take this powerful exercise for granted. So much of what we come to believe and think is the product of unchecked information we’ve accepted throughout our lives, be it through our families, peers, media, etc. At some point we must take the reigns and steer our consciousness aright.

Pray, for it is such a privilege to be able to go boldly before the throne of grace[1] and as often as you desire to pour out your heart to the Source of all life. In fact, pray with others – your spouse, your children, trusted friends, etc.

 “Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer…”[2]

Read and fill your mind with good information and the stories of others. Be encouraged by the fact that your circumstances are not at all unique. Be empowered by new thoughts or great thoughts remembered and reinforced. Listen to the slew of great thinkers, motivators, and teachers. YouTube is my go to for the likes of Billy Alsbrooks, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Rev. Ike, T.D. Jakes, Tony Robins, and CT Fletcher. Tune in to good music. The legendary Quincy Jones is noted for saying, there’s only two types of music – good and bad. When I was a child I recall my mother filling our home with good, life affirming music. It literally enhanced the atmosphere. I always felt light and at peace in our home. I continue this practice in my home even now. Fellowship as this goes back to nurturing relationships, but this is more focused. Fellowship affords you the opportunity to engage with likeminded individuals who are either aspiring as you are or are able to mentor you and be accountability partners. None of us can go it alone. We need the energy and support of others.

Talk To Yourself

There can be no greater fellowship than the one you have with yourself. You can’t hide from yourself, so you might as well get to know and get to like yourself. Be mindful of the energy you emit within and about yourself. Speak truthfully about yourself, forgive yourself, and affirm yourself. Positive affirmations are not merely about making yourself feel good, but programming your unconscious mind to align with your highest aspirations; you’re building the inner workings of your consciousness to facilitate a reservoir of strength and light you will certainly need to access.

Get Physical

Get up and get moving. Commit yourself to a fitness regimen. It doesn’t have to be Cross Fit or training for the next Iron Man Contest it just needs to be consistent. You’ll feel accomplished and alert. You’ll feel inspired to take on other task. It’s a means of becoming your own biochemical hype machine. That’s the gift of exercise. You don’t have to wait for inspiration you can conjure it by having a persistent routine, in addition to enjoying the benefits of physical transformation. Seeing yourself looking and feeling better, in spite of your current state has an empowering effect.

Get Your Mind Out Of Reverse

I can’t tell you how important this principle has been for me, particularly this year. Almost daily I battle the temptation to look back and reminisce. I re imagine how I would have done things differently in some respects. Suddenly, the things that were real problems seem so incidental now that I don’t have that once very special place to clock in and even call home. The truth, is that it is a lost sense of security, fear, not necessarily nostalgia that causes me to look back. There’s a huge difference between remembering and re imagining. When I find myself engaged in the latter I remind myself to let go and move on!

Forgive yourself, get your mind off of rewind, if it could’ve, should’ve, than it would’ve. Stop replaying the same incident, the same hurt, wondering about the one that got away, beating yourself up over that time you let fear get the best of you, that relationship that dissolved – MOVE ON! Believe it or not some bridges are meant to be burnt, so, stop attempting to rebuild them. It’s over, embrace now! Press forward in spite of the gravitational pull that is your past. Resist it! It has nothing for you but a false sense of security to accommodate your fear of the unknown.

Believe it or not there is opportunity in the lean times. The lean times are essentially reconfiguring you to someone greater, if you are willing. Don’t waste it being anxious, immobile, with your mind and imagination in reverse. Give yourself over to the process and that which is in your control, for there is far more than you think.

[1] Hebrews 4:16

[2] What A Friend We Have In Jesus Ÿ by Charles Cozat Converse & Joseph Scriven.