Solstice.

Solstice.

Growing up in Southern California I never thought much about winter. It seemed to get dark a little earlier and it rained more often. But there really wasn’t much more to it than that. Winter was something we’d hear about on the news… something other people lived through.

Now that I’ve lived over half my life in the northeast – a third of it in Vermont – I’ve gotten to know winter pretty well. Or so I thought. I’m writing this post at the Solstice, literally winter’s first day and the shortest, darkest 24 hours of the year. In this darkest of years, the onset of winter means something very different to me.

Light.

Each day there will be just a little more of it. Like every year, of course, but it’s going to feel different. A little more light, more vaccine being delivered, people sharing news of their vaccinations on social media. And even as the amount of light and hope spirals upward, we will simultaneously suffer through cold and storms and sadness. These things live together in winter, but in spring the light wins out. And spring will come. Just stay focused on the light.

While this is my final post of the calendar year – a year in which I’ve tried to offer useful perspective and prescriptive advice in this space – it’s just the first of many I’ll send over the winter. For what it’s worth, I’m here and I’m thinking about and rooting for all of you in this community of readers. As I said in a recent post, you are the Group in Upstream Group. To each of you, and to the dozens of companies and hundreds of managers and sellers who invited me – virtually but still actually – into their lives to offer training and motivation this year, there is one more word that defines the winter that starts today:

Gratitude.

I carry gratitude into each day of the work I get to continue doing with and for all of you. Thank you for your trust, your collaboration, your openness and sense of invention. They have inspired me this year.

I’ll close with words that I posted at the beginning of the pandemic, lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem that seem even more appropriate now.

Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

More of it every day. Watch for it.