Karin’s Leadership Articles

Seasons, Messy, and Doing the Best You Can

by | Apr 10, 2013 | Authenticity & Transparency, By Karin Hurt |

“I don’t know how you do it all. How can you do this executive job, have a husband, raise good kids, and write this blog, it’s intimidating.” I heard that again today.

The truth is, it’s messy. I do it because all those things feel so important. I find it hard to choose.


Tonight I’m at the airport, waiting for my flight from Nashville to Newark. I stayed late to meet with the exec from the other company who had missed the meeting. Her flight was delayed (life’s tricky for her too). Great meeting. The problem, my suitcase moved on without me. Totally my fault, I didn’t think this through. My brain was full of strategy, issues, and people. The suitcase will stay in Nashville, and I will show up in NJ in the same suit tomorrow. I’m sure the Marriott will lend me a toothbrush.

My firefighter husband is working a 24 hour shift. My 7-year-old needs overnight care, homework, a packed lunch, and loving. Nana to the rescue (again).

Last week was vacation, now work is backed up. Everyone and everything needs attention. On the Let’s Grow Leaders front, I had written ahead, now am behind. I’m out of posts.

I know you have similar feelings. It’s easy at times like this to think it’s too much. It may be. Likely, it’s just too much today.

On Seasons

Early in our marriage my husband introduced the sweet concept of “seasons.” It was a tremendous gift. Truth is, I think it’s one of our most sustaining concepts. When we feel guilty or overwhelmed by too much to do, we step back and look at the whole scene. Is it really out of control? Or are we pursuing important values and are just in a tough season?

We both cram in a lot. So do our kids. We have a remarkable pit crew.  He has seasons. Our kids have seasons. I have mine (more than my fair share). We get frustrated at ourselves and at one another. Sometimes we miss stuff. But, the “season” will change and we will all be back at the dinner table together again. Someone will have accomplished something. The contribution will be important. That will feel right.

It’s a tricky game. No season can go on too long. Sometimes we must remind ourselves, or one another, of that too.

When you feel overwhelmed, step back and consider is it a season or a true imbalance?

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Lisa Kohn

    Karin – this rings so true. I wonder how (and sometimes why) you do it all. And I wonder the same for me (as I respond at 5am). The concept of ‘seasons’ is great because it gives me a way to be gentler with myself…and others, while still holding us to doing the best we can. Because we are all doing the best we can. And sometimes our best makes a difference. Thanks.

  2. Jon Mertz

    Karin, I like the concept of seasons. This really does hit home. Life can get messy at times, and we just need to navigate through it. We do the best we can and just realize that everything isn’t as “clean” as some try to make it. We just need to get into what comes our way, get our hands dirty, and do the best we can as often as we can. Thanks! Jon

  3. letsgrowleaders

    Lisa and Jon, thanks so much for your comments. I love the idea of “getting into what comes our way, and doing the best we can.” Off to try a little more of that now.

  4. Cindy

    As always you always seem to know what I need to hear. This is such a great perspective with using seasons to help make it through the times that seem to be the most difficult. Thanks for the great blog.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Cindy, thanks so much. I really appreciate your support.

  5. Anne Kinzel

    I also like the concept of seasons. I wish we could apply it in he broader context of just as individual/family coping mechanism. I look at the graduate students where I work. If we thought of entering and exiting the workforce as a set of seasons perhaps we could enhance families….

    • letsgrowleaders

      Anne, oh wow… I love that application. Do you think the world is ready?

  6. Dallas Tye

    I try to be aware of how I’m feeling in each moment. If I’m upset, annoyed, overwhelmed or some other negative state I’ll step back, disengage, and park the current challenge until I’m able to think more clearly about it.

    For me, this is going to be when I’m feeling a more positive emotion.

    If its a home thing, it can be hard to do this if the other party wants to discuss it right now! Hopefully, your calmer demeanour you are modelling will help calm any upset in the other’s world as well.

    Of course, if its a minor thing, I might dive right in and have some fun arguing a point. Yin and yang at work in me I suppose.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Dallas, I am familiar with the “right now” vs. “not right now” debate 😉

      • Dallas Tye

        My suggestion can initially inflame the situation. Maybe the other party thinks I don’t care enough because I’m not as upset as them.

        I find that if I stick to my plan, maybe explain why I don’t want to engage now it eventually works. For the kids I hope I’m setting an example for later in their lives,,, but right now, 8am my time, as I hear them outside my office, I sooo want to react 😉

  7. Pam McDonald

    Perfect timing for me and this post, Karin. As I have told you before, you provide calmness in the chaos of trying to manage social media for a leadership development program.

    I, too, look at the seasons concept. Things and people come and go in waves. When I get bogged down, I remember the poem “Reason Season Lifetime” (http://leadingtoexcellence.com/blog/reason-season-lifetime-people-always-come-into-your-life-for-a-reason-a-season-or-a-lifetime-poem/). It helps me to put the chaos of the moment into the bigger picture of life.

    You are not alone! Thanks for being on this journey with us by providing great words of wisdom at just the right time. Together we can make a difference!

    • letsgrowleaders

      Pam, just love that poem. thanks for sharing it with the LGL community.

  8. Carrie

    Karin, I really enjoyed this post. I’m reminded of the wisdom of King Solomon: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” – a promise that I have clung to more than a few times in my life. Often, my husband and I will look at each other and say, “This too, shall pass.” Before we know it, we’ll be 80 years old, looking back and asking, “where did the time go?” My only real desire is to make sure that what I do with my time, matters, and that I make the most of the time that I have been given. Everything else is icing on the cake.

  9. letsgrowleaders

    Carrie, thanks so much. Ahh yes, Solomon had it right.

  10. roopak desai

    It relates to all on this journey and we travellers can only understand and it does resonates with me…and I will go on as you said it feels so important to do it…with balance. Concept of seasons in nice….and it is important to have seasons in all to remind how we enjoy natures seasons…wait for winter to pass by to cherish spring!

  11. johncatkinson

    Very well said Karin!!! As an Executive Team Pastor in a very large church I don’t know how we would survive apart from understanding the Seasons you talked about! Awesome stuff!

  12. Bob

    Thanks for this Karin!

    Not sure if I’m in a season or if I have an imbalance. Only time will tell. I sure feel imbalanced, but its all important. Will it stay like this? Well it can’t, or at least I can’t.. Either way, it’s nice to know that someone I look up to has the same feelings.

    Take care!


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