Fall is the Perfect Time to Rise
Take it or Leaf it!
Have you ever wondered about the life purpose of a leaf? Silly, I know. But ponder it for a second. What if a leaf’s entire life cycle was created to lead them to the instant they break away from the branch they’ve been grasping to? Can you imagine how much they must enjoy the free-fall to the ground? I envision them shouting an enthusiastic ‘wheeeeee’ all the way down. It must be even more fun when they get picked up by a gust of wind along the way. What a journey … one of independence, freedom, and moving on to the great unknown.
When you think about it, we’re no different than a leaf that lets go and leaves its comfort zone. Each autumn small children take initial steps toward independence when they leave home for the first time to attend kindergarten or elementary school. Young adults gain ever-increasing levels of confidence as they leave the familiarity of middle school to enter high school. And college students leave childhood behind when they move away to enhance their learning and thrive on their own.
They let go of the branches they’ve been clutching to and leave.
Fall represents a new beginning for all of us. Summer vacation is a memory, colleagues return to work and learning begins anew – even if we’re not starting school.
How can you celebrate the arrival of fall? By rising. Rising to the task, rising to new standards and rising above daily challenges.
Rising to the task: Most of us set a multitude of goals in the fall. Among the most common are: getting back to the gym, cleaning out our closets and breaking unhealthy eating habits. Despite our best intentions, though, we often find ourselves turning those goals into resolutions again on New Year’s Eve because we get ‘goal overload’. You can guarantee success by simply choosing one very specific objective you want to meet. If it’s to break unhealthy eating habits, for example, focus on that and that alone. Remove the chips and chocolate and cookies and soda from your home and replace them with veggies, fruits, healthy snacks and water. Before you know it you will feel more energetic and may even be inspired to go for a daily walk. That will lead to looser fitting clothing, so you’ll naturally want to weed out your closet. One step literally leads to the next!
Rising to new standards: Only you can raise your standards. We have a tendency to look around and mimic what others are doing or saying. Instead, make new choices and declare your individuality. If you want to dress in a more professional manner at work, then do so. Just because everyone else has lowered their wardrobe standards doesn’t mean you need to. If you are tired of always being late and frantic, then take a good look at your calendar and reorganize the way you use your time. And if you want to start communicating in a more eloquent manner by using full sentences (what a concept!), then do it. You no longer need to paraphrase everything in indistinguishable snippets to be (mis)understood.
Rising above daily challenges: Let’s face it, we are tested every day. Whether through incessant gossip at work, being tormented by a bully or living next to a disrespectful neighbour, we have the opportunity to rise above negative behavior every single time. This is a tough one to deal with because it means determining our limits and finding our voice. Take gossip for example. The word gossip begins with the letters GO. We can STOP gossip if we get up and GO when it starts. You don’t even need to say a word! What a great place to begin. From there you will gain the confidence to resolve the conflict with your neighbor and calmly inform the bully that you will no longer tolerate their disrespectful conduct.
Like the leaf leaving the tree, it’s time for you to let go of the familiar branch you’ve been clutching to for so long. Fall really is the perfect time to rise, so close your eyes, take a deep breath and allow the refreshing autumn breeze to carry you on your way to a brand new level of learning. I guarantee you’ll rake in the changes!
Sue Jacques is The Civility CEO™, a corporate civility and executive etiquette consultant who helps individuals & businesses gain confidence, earn respect and create courteous corporate cultures.
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©Copyright 2011 Sue Jacques. All rights reserved. You are welcome to copy, quote or share as long as the content is intact and the writer is credited. Thank you.