Reap a harvest: making ‘fallow seasons’ work for you

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Photo by Isak Engström on Unsplash.

On a recent podcast, the guest talked about working through a “fallow” writing season. Fallow—meaning idle, unproductive or uncreative—describes the past five months of my life. In the article Why We Need to Be ‘OK’ in the Fallow Season, Ryan Fahey asks the question, “Are you in a season that doesn’t seem to be producing any results?” followed by, “Are you spinning your wheels…frustrated at not seeing the results you want?” Yet, the fallow season is actually the most important season of growth. In fact, it’s essential for producing something wonderful. Unfortunately, some of these seasons take longer than others to deliver the outcome we desire; i.e., not all fallow seasons are the same. But the good news: fallow does not equal failure. And if we focus on the process, rather than the outcome, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Are you in a fallow season? Let me know at chrismadayschmidt.com, and remember to sign up for my free monthly emails.

Forgiveness is a funny thing

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Forgiveness

In my post, “Forgiveness leads to freedom,” I talk about different types of forgiveness—toward others, as well as ourselves—and how it frees us. The act of forgiveness, itself, is intentional, voluntary. It isn’t something that happens when we’re not looking, nor does it require an apology to initiate. Over a decade ago, a tragedy struck my family and it took me nearly a year to forgive the person responsible. Fast-forward to a few years ago. More misfortune, this time caused by someone close to me. This particular situation shook me to my core and rendered me a blubbering mess. Unforgiveness took root. But a week or so ago, an event occurred that was a catalyst for me to accept what had happened and admit my unforgiveness would not change the outcome. Again, I chose to forgive. And now my heart is free to fully love again. That’s the funny thing about forgiveness: when we give it, we receive so much more.

Can you forgive someone today?

Eye of the storm

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[Image credit: Photokanok]

It’s difficult when you find yourself in a situation where nothing you do or say can change the outcome.  Perhaps the only thing to do is accept it’s for the best.  Second-guessing or talking until you’re blue in the face might prove to be counterproductive.  Besides, your energy may be better spent on dusting off your tattered pride and doing something good for someone else.  Karma, the Golden Rule, loving your neighbor as yourself — whatever it means to you.   And once you get past the disappointment, betrayal or hurt, it’s also easier to remember that when one door hits you in the rear end, another one is waiting for you to walk through and claim the better prize.  I’m not saying that’s an easy feat, especially when you’re right in the middle of the storm.  But when you’re focusing on how to save yourself from drowning, you just may discover an inner resolve you never knew you possessed.

What do you do when there’s nothing left to do?

Proactive, passive and popping pimples

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[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

“We accomplish things by directing our desires, not by ignoring them.”
~ Malcolm Forbes

If you ignore it, it’ll go away.  That was my mom’s solution for dealing with pimples.  In response to my recent blog, What we focus on expands, one reader suggested he could stop thinking about his belly and maybe that would work.  I don’t believe that ignoring or taking attention from something will change an outcome; however, it may lessen the consequences.  For instance, when I didn’t heed my mom’s advice and still picked my face, it inevitably took longer to heal.  But if we ignore a bad habit, the barking dog, a pain in our side — whatever it is — it typically gets worse before it gets better (and matters of health should not be brushed under the carpet).  Being proactive rather than passive should garner results, especially when it comes to pursuing our desires.  But not necessarily as it relates to pimples.

Do you ignore things, hoping whatever it is will go away?

A timid sign of courage

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[Image credit: digitalart]

Resignation is the timid sign of courage. ~ James Joyce

Sometimes, no matter what I do, it doesn’t seem to matter.  The starting and middle points may look differently each time, but the ending place — or outcome — is relatively the same.  I might change my attitude or choose to travel an alternate route to get where I’m going, believing these little differences may modify the near or distant future for me and/or others.  But instead, I’m confronted with a familiar terrain.  It’s called resignation.  Eventually I learn that resistance is futile and, even with the best of intentions, I find it’s better to courageously accept that which I cannot change.  I have yet to perfect it, but I am learning that some things simply defy explanation and it’s easier to acquiesce than to put up a fight.  Throw in a little patience, too, and hopefully I possess a recipe for a successful outcome.

Do you resign yourself to the inevitable or work hard to change an end result?

Disappointment: opportunity or drawback

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Setbacks are badges of honor for those who try
to achieve something worthwhile. ~ SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

At one time in our lives, we may find ourselves in a position when we’re 100%-without-a-doubt certain of a particular outcome, only to have our hopes dashed when we discover we’re wrong.  Once we finally wade through the disillusionment, it’s possible we will question the error of our ways.  Going forward, we might second-guess every decision while looking for loopholes.  Some say it helps us, however, when we’re faced with similar situations in the future because we’ve been down that road before.  But in a way, I think we could feel a bit jaded or untrusting (see Regaining your balance).  Although I believe it’s possible to pick up the pieces and look at the world with fresh eyes, again, it may take more than an honest assessment of what makes us tick.  Perhaps it will require a change of scenery to start over.

Do you consider disappointments opportunities or drawbacks?

Looks can be deceiving

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

We simply assume that the way we see things
is the way they really are or the way they should be.
And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.
~ Steven R. Covey

According to Urban Dictionary, when you assume, you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”  Unfortunately, I’m typically the single most “ass” involved in many equations.  For example, about a month ago, one of my friends mentioned something during our conversation and, instead of asking for clarification or paraphrasing for comprehension (which is something I always recommend), I went off “half-cocked” and assumed I already knew what they were talking about.  I believe it’s human nature to sometimes hear what we want to hear, our minds made up in advance as to the outcome.  But perhaps a majority of misunderstandings could be prevented if we all took the time to set aside our own agendas, biases and self-centered attitudes to really listen.  Before we regret our behavior.

Have you been presumptuous lately?

Life: one big trial and error

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

As a rule of thumb, a good portion of my life follows the precept of trial and error.  Whether it concerns my new diet, parenting, relationships or even my job, if my attempts at a particular outcome fail, then I try to readjust my thinking or approach for the next time I may be confronted with a similar situation.  Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of trial and error, however.  We must make the right decision the first time without the benefit of a “do over.”  Although I ramble a lot in my posts about fear holding us back, perhaps it also keeps us from making a wrong decision.  Or maybe it’s the right one, just the wrong timing.  Either way, if we don’t take a chance one way or another, we might never know if that one choice could have shaped — or altered — our own personal Someday.  The trick is figuring it out before it’s too late.

Are you the trial-by-error type, or is a sure thing required?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

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[Image credit: mrpuen]

Last night I was reflecting on my life and how in one area, everything seems to be lining up.  Each piece of the puzzle is falling into place — except for the few stray ones that can’t be positioned until the timing is right.  But then I started to feel conflicted.  Just because something looks and feels right, doesn’t automatically mean it is right.  So I took a mental step back and asked myself if what I’m waiting for and working toward is worth the risk.  And before I even formulated my answer, I realized that in this particular situation, it’s not solely up to me to decide the outcome.  However, nothing can or will be gained if I keep my feet firmly planted, mentally or otherwise.  Consequently, at the end of the evening, I returned to my place in line … unless I hear differently.

Are you a risk taker, or do you like to play it safe?

Laying a solid foundation

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[Image credit: Worakit Sirijinda]

I’m pretty excited about how things are going on-the-job.  Last week my boss took me out to lunch to celebrate my six-month anniversary and discuss my position, as well as his ideas for expanding it.  We talked about the potential for me to write for one of our construction publications, something that both thrills me and causes a bundle of nerves to snake up my spine.  After all, I write pieces for a beauty and lifestyle magazine relating to body image, spider veins and migraine relief.  What do I know about the construction industry beyond the copy I read during the editing process?  I was discussing this very thing with a spin-class buddy who didn’t skip a beat when he pointed out that construction and beauty have a lot in common — starting with a solid foundation.  And I realized that’s the way it is with most things in order to succeed; i.e., relationships, fitness regimens, education, careers, etc.  Whatever your desired outcome, it’s definitely worth the effort to lay the groundwork first.  I can hardly wait to get started.

What would you say is your most solid foundation in life?

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