…. a direct translation of what the Swiss say to explain the April weather phenomenon that those of us in this area of Europe know so well; Snow on Monday, gales on Tuesday, sunshine on Wednesday, hail on Thursday, rainbows on Friday and no idea how to plan for the weekend. “April, April, macht was er will.”
As we come to the end of April and I wonder (again) whether to go and get my car’s winter wheels changed over to summer ones, I am reminded of the English saying, “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out” or, in other words, don’t be in too much of a hurry to leave your coat off before the end of May.
I love these old sayings and weather metaphors, firstly because they remind me just how common it is for things to be all over the place in April and May, but also that there are periods in all our lives where we feel as if our weathervane is spinning out of control. We put all our energy into pulling up our collar and pushing ourselves head-long into hail and gales as our umbrellas whip inside out. If you are a dog owner like me, you will know these equally exhilarating and exhausting walks well!
The band, ‘Crowded House’ sang that we should always take the weather with us, but I’m not so sure that has been my go-to message this April. I have indeed attempted to bring my ‘sunny’ weather into other people’s hemispheres but, ‘sunny and warm’ for me doesn’t necessarily translate to ‘sunny and warm’ for others – especially now. Unfortunately, after a little more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, bringing a little sunshine to the people we meet is a wonderful thing, however, in a professional coaching or supervision capacity, that ‘sunshine’ needs to be more relevant, attainable, sustainable and supported than ever before.
I have instead taken my motto from our Post Lady who, like every postman or postwoman in Switzerland it seems, loves to say that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I take this personally to mean that pushing through tough-weather times with a smile and sunglasses is not a long-term solution. Keeping an eye on the weathervane direction and updating ourselves regularly with the weather forecast gives us the opportunity to choose our clothing and activities appropriately and in advance.
April and May weather systems come into all our lives in cycles. It can seem as if whatever clothes you choose are wrong and every walk is a chore but, if we consider the basic message of these two sayings; ‘April will just do whatever it likes so be prepared for anything and don’t be fooled by warmer days in May’ we remind ourselves that there are times when we cannot control the weather, but we can take the time to watch our own weathervane and the changing winds around us and prepare ourselves to the best of our ability.
Now think about your tools and techniques for ‘bad weather’ and imagine them as clothes in your wardrobe. Do you have an umbrella to protect you from rain or even glaring sun? That’s great! But it isn’t going to help you in gales or hail…
Do you have a warm winter coat that protects you from gales and snow? Great! But it isn’t going to protect you from sun or high temperatures…
Coaching is about designing a full wardrobe of made-to-measure clothing for all weathers. Working with a coach teaches you how to keep an eye on your own weathervane and those in your wider environment. More importantly, coaching helps you to move from a ‘head-down-grit-teeth-push-through-victim-to-the-storm’ kind of resilience to a place of calm weathervane and weather forecast check-in followed by consciously choosing the best clothes for you from the wide selection you have easily accessible in your wardrobe.
Working on resistance to your personal April or May storm is a great starting place, but then there are ten other months to the year.
When I visited a friend in San Francisco, I was curious about the sight of almost everyone carrying a small rucksack on their back. Apparently, the weather in San Francisco is so changeable daily, that the residents there always go out prepared for everything.
Working with a coach will certainly help you through the current storm, but it doesn’t stop there! Coaching helps you to take all the great learning from that storm experience and pack your daily-life resilience-rucksack in order to not only be prepared for all future eventualities, but to add to the resilience-rucksack from any new weather system that comes along.
Get in touch for a free, hour-long weathervane check today and invest in building your resilience-rucksack for year-round weather-proofing!