Turn a readiness for change into positive actions for you and your clients.
Despite the traditional name-calling, backbiting, mudslinging and criticism that seem to characterize U.S. presidential races in modern times, during this past campaign season one word was emblazoned on the minds of all Americans: Change. People want change. Change the economic situation, change healthcare, change the banking system, change energy reliance, change, change, change! It is part of the human psyche to want to change something when things are not working quite the way we want. Often we are not even certain of what we want changed; we just know that things have to be different to move forward.
Change is inevitable in life. As I watched the trees on our street shed their beautiful crimson and gold leaves during the autumn and winter months, I was reminded just how much we can learn from seasonal changes. As the earth changes its position relative to the sun throughout the year, animals and nature take their cue as to how to fit in with the climate changes. Doing so helps them grow, feed or reproduce when conditions are best. It is a beautiful and magical cycle of life that we would do well to emulate.
As we will learn from nature, lasting change requires right intention, good timing and proper preparation. How do we choose change that is applicable and beneficial for us? In this first in a series of five articles, we will reflect on the seasonal changes of spring and explore how you can best make changes that will meet your needs.
Spring is always an exciting season of the year, often characterized by “spring fever.” It is a season of growth and development in which plants are pollinated, animals emerge from hibernation and flowers burst into bloom. A feeling of hope and excitement returns, and people are ripe for change. I have noticed that my clients—and I—become restless and ready to act. What changes does spring represent for you, your clients and your business model?
The spring fever that many people experience is the desire to grow and develop as individuals and to plan new adventures. Spring is a wonderful time to jot down exciting plans for the year and begin mapping out a strategy to make them happen. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What life experiences do you want to have this year?
- What areas of your life would you like to keep the same because they are already working well?
- What changes do you need to make personally to energize you for the months ahead?
- Do you need to clean out your office and home to make room to think and grow?
- Is some “redecorating” of your life in order?
Use the newfound energy of this 3-month period (starting in March or April) to begin making the changes that will require the most effort. I enjoy this season as a time to plan a spring vacation, record new goals and overhaul areas of my personal life that have become neglected.
In my experience clients are more motivated to change during the spring months than during the rest of the year, because the dreary winter season is over. People seem to emerge from their winter “hibernation” with a fresh attitude. Match their excitement with something novel. Spring is a wonderful time to motivate clients to lose weight and plan new exercise goals for the next 3 months. Introduce them to new programming and different modes of exercise that they might be willing to try during this time of spring promise.
Try these ideas:
- Incorporate more medicine ball exercises, balance, tubing or cardio intervals.
- Add new group programming classes and get people excited about exercise and health improvement.
- Sow seeds of wellness by providing clients with articles on nutrition, exercise and lifestyle change.
For many people, spring is a good time to start a new business or change the model of their business. Is it time to grow and develop a new service that will energize both you and your clients? Perhaps you might add coaching, mind-body exercise or public speaking to your business services. When I first added wellness and business coaching to my services in 2003, I made significant changes. I changed my company name, logo and marketing focus to highlight the new areas of my business that I wanted to grow.
What aspects of your business or training services would you like to bloom? What needs to be fertilized, watered and renewed: your services, schedule, pricing, location, networking or marketing? Match the changes in your business model to the current economic climate and the needs of both you and your clients.
Spring also represents birth and youth, and the experience of new love regardless of age. Our young clients are usually the most eager to try new things. They are not afraid of change and not as stuck in old habits as more mature clients might be. Avoid pigeonholing your young or new clients into traditional strength training and cardio equipment workouts. Expose them to lots of different exercise experiences and modalities so that they grow into well-rounded mature exercisers in the years to come. Quiz them on the changes they need or wish to make in the next 90 days, and help them bring those changes about in this growing phase of their lives.
What does it mean to change? It means “to make different in some particular; to give a different position, course or direction to; to make radically different.” Spring alters the course of life and nature by renewing life, energy and hope. Use this time to plan necessary and energizing changes. Yet, even in your desire to change, be a bit cautious. Even though “change” can sound invigorating, you must always evaluate whether or not the changes you choose are what you really want and need. With each change up for consideration, ask yourself:
- What is my intention in making this change?
- Is the timing right?
- Have I done the necessary preparation?
As destructive as a surprise freeze can be in spring, impulsive and self-serving changes in your life and surroundings can prove disastrous. Always consider the harmonious working of nature during this time of year and incorporate changes into the world around you lovingly and thoughtfully. Remember that the only person you can change is you. Instead of attempting to force change on those around you, let them bloom as they will, learning from your example, springing forward as they grow. n