Journal | February 7, 2018

I along with many of you have been thinking about how hard this winter has been. It has been colder and windier than any in my recent memory. It is a battle to stay positive and to focus on the opportunity that lies in the “constraints” that winter brings. The concept of Hygge from our Scandinavian friends helps me to refocus and realize the joy of cozying up by a warm fire. I can’t imagine what it would be like to only live in a warm climate and never experience the joy of the different seasons and the experiences the seasons bring.

I grew up on a farm in southern Manitoba. It was a mixed farm where we raised chicken, beef and pork. We grew a variety of cereal crops and grains as well as having a wide variety of fruit trees and a huge garden.  I was pretty blessed. The greater blessing for me though was the lesson on the beauty of constraints. There are so many things that can go wrong when you are raising livestock and grain farming. Things break, animals get out of their fences, tractors break, crops fail…. But the attitude with my parents was first of all an acceptance that these things will happen, things will not always go as planned … and this was a quick acceptance, no time was wasted feeling sorry for themselves and no time was wasted on waiting for someone else to solve the problem. They accepted what was, and then moved ahead to solve the problem. The things my dad could fix, and the things my mom could make, were endless. They allowed the problems or constraints to teach them.

I can’t tell you how many times this life-lesson has come into play – sometimes it seems almost daily! Whether it’s restraints put on by the municipality, suppliers not coming through, staff leaving on short notice, things breaking, bad weather … I know for sure that these constraints, these things that often look like roadblocks, have created opportunities for learning, for creative solutions and most importantly for building team and creating stronger community.

The snow will be melting soon and spring will arrive. In the meantime embrace the beauty of our Manitoba winters and get curious about the constraints winter brings that could be an opportunity for innovation or creativity. Explore something new this winter, you never know what breakthrough could be around the corner.

Wishing you cozy fires and time to spend with the ones you love.

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“A constraint should be regarded as a stimulus for positive change—we can choose to use it as an impetus to explore something new and arrive at a breakthrough.”
― Adam Morgan