Steve Van Remortel column: To optimize life, break it down into seasons

10:56 PM, Nov. 30, 2012  |  Comments
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There is an old song that goes, "To everything¸ there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven."

As we approach the New Year, I would recommend you take time to sit back and consider what season of life you are in right now. I've come to learn that life is a succession of seasons, some good and some difficult, some we planned on and others we didn't. But to live fully in each one of those seasons is to succeed in life.

I recently completed an important season in my life. After five long years of hard work, I published my first book, "Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream." Its completion made me stop and reflect and realize that whether in business or in our personal lives, life is certainly about seasons.

When I look back on the decision to write my book, I realized that I wasn't really excited about the additional workload involved in this season, but I knew it was part of a bigger plan. It was a season that needed to be completed in order to achieve my vision. I knew that I had to identify the objectives for the project and put a plan into place to accomplish my goals. I had to involve the appropriate people in the plan and dedicate the necessary resources to complete the season.

How do you optimize each season of life? First, it is important to define what season you are in, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you are in the child-rearing years, overcoming an illness, training for a marathon or taking care of aging parents. Maybe your season involves starting a new business, or reviving an ailing one affected by recent economic upheaval.

Once you have defined your current season develop your plan to get through it. What are the objectives of your current season and the action plans to achieve each objective. Who should you involve in the development and implementation of your plan? Please download the template to develop a plan for your current season at

The greatest benefit to approaching life in seasons is because it simplifies things. It allows you to get your arms, and more importantly your mind, around what you need to accomplish in the next chapter in your life. It keeps you moving forward, because you break down the mountain into manageable tasks. Being able to see the end of the season allows you to see the path to reaching it.

Oftentimes when people are stuck it is because they are overwhelmed by the enormity of what is in front of them. But when you break down your life into seasons it is easier to achieve a victory. It also gives you an opportunity to celebrate the successful ending of each season, which I think we need to do more often.

Now, with the completion of this season I am thoughtfully recognizing that I am entering into a new season of my life. Professionally, I am looking at the next season for SM Advisors, the book and my speaking career.

What season are you in? Are you in the early or late stages of your current season? What are the objectives of that season and what is the plan to accomplish them? What does a successful ending to that season look like and what is the timetable to do so? Be proactive in answering these questions to succeed in your current season.

My wish for you is that you will live fully in your current and future seasons. Remember, those who plan - profit.

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports