Summer Lessons in the Fall

Tomorrow marks the first day of fall; summer is ending, the leaves are changing color, and playtime is over. Well, really hard playtime is over anyway. For me summer means traveling nearly every weekend, bratwursts, steaks, shorts, watermelon, gaining weight, buying new pants that fit, swimming, more swimming, and lots of unbearable heat.

I grew up in Star Valley, Wyoming—an area of the world where the four seasons are very distinct—and it was the fall that marked a new year: school starts, the harvests end, the holidays begin, and playtime comes screeching to a halt. For me, fall marks a new era where I rededicate myself to my work and goals. I start losing those extra pounds, I eat healthier, and I travel less frequently.

As summer draws to a close, I thought it fitting to relate a few lessons I’ve learned over the past few months.

Take time for yourself.

Life happens once and it’s short, don’t spend all of it behind your desk. Take walks, play games, chat it up, and spend some time doing what you love. Having been on the verge of major burnout a couple times this summer, I decided to lay low for a while and spend time doing me things. I rediscovered what it was that I enjoyed about my work and was able to refocus on what I love.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman

Spend time with family.

This past summer I’ve tried harder to connect with family that I’m not close with. I’ve made a greater effort to visit with long-lost cousins, chat with the in-laws, and most importantly, spend time with my wife and kids. I’ve learned more about these people over the past 4 months that I ever have in the past. Connect with family, love them, listen to them, and learn from them.

The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.
— Dodie Smith

Serve others.

Your time is never wasted when it’s spent serving others. I completely believe that you reap what you sow. Wherever you work, wherever you go, whatever you do, make life easier for others. Plan to serve so that it’s not an inconvenience, and serve unconditionally. I’ve had the opportunity to observe people like this and when the time comes, they’ve always got a friend. When we serve others, the world naturally becomes a happier, better place.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
— Winston Churchill

Be still and listen.

During one of my trips back to Star Valley, my wife and I rode with my parents on their RZR 4 high into the Grey’s River Mountains. At roads end, we turned off the motor and sat next to a small river that gently trickled across the rocks and through some fallen pine timber. The world was silent, and for the first time in a long time I realized how amazingly complicated life had gotten, and how simple it could be. It was a Walden Pond moment as I sat there letting the sun imbue my skin and the breeze brush my face. Small pieces of cotton periodically tickled my nose as they flew by. Life is only as complicated as we make it. When you sit still and listen to the silence, it’s amazing what you hear.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
— Henry David Thoreau

As this year progresses and this new season begins, I hope to be a better person, live a fuller life, and use these lessons in the business I pursue. What lessons have you learned over the summer? Share them in the comments below.

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  1. SkinnyD cleverly asserts:

    Nice post. I think I learned some of the same lessons, actually, and had some similar goals.

  2. Ramona luckily conveys:

    We also have 4 distinct seasons and it’s easy to change your “attitude” when needed. I have spent my summer in NYC, doing a lot of sightseeing and trying to squeeze in some work too. Now, that we are back in our country, it’s easier for me to get into “work mode”. Autumn and winter are my most productive seasons, since I don’t have too many distractions and we do stay at home. Now it’s important to get as many things done as possible and save up for the other months, so that we can afford another awesome summer.

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