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Wintering means different things to different folks. For some, it’s a relocation to warmer climates during the winter months in their hometown. For others, it can refer to a period of grief in their life, during which they recluse from everything but the necessary and take time to reflect, rest, and heal. For me, and the business in this particular instance, it’s something a bit different.

Wintering is our time of the year to work on our processes, our products, and our plans for the new year. While it’s not a very busy time for the shop itself, it’s quite the opposite for us behind the scenes. Why not use the latter part of the previous year to make plans for the next, and put them in play when the new year kicks off? Well, the answer to that question is twofold. 

First, the last quarter of the year is a hectic and busy time of year. With all the shop events and holiday sales to plan, inventory to bolster for those things, and add to that our personal schedules with family, friends, travel…well, it all adds up and we just buckle up and hold on tight till the end of the year.

Second, every business has its cycles. The ebbs and flows of the industry and the local market. It just so happens that the first part of every year, January through late February to mid March, is the slowest time of year for us. Sales during these months are at an extreme low, so we typically don’t spend a lot on inventory, events, shop or lounge upgrades, etc. We have to coast by on those for a bit because while revenue slows temporarily, our expenses do not. Sometimes they even increase at the beginning of the year. 

So, back to the term “wintering”. This is our period of time to plan for the rest of the year. We’ve ordered a new cabinet humidor. We’re looking at what new products we want to bring into the shop over the next 11 months, including new cigar brands, even some that we haven’t had on the shelf in a while. We’re also looking at the events we want to put on the calendar, what types of content we want to provide, and the list goes on. 

“But Mike, what the heck does this have to do with me,” you might ask. Good question. 

While I’ve explained what wintering means for the business, I’ve also started looking at what wintering means for me and my personal life. How could a more intentional implementation of wintering affect and even improve my year, or even my next 5 years and beyond? I’d venture to say that we all need a period of time each year to reflect on the previous, remind ourselves of our goals, evaluate what has helped us get closer to them, and what has gotten in the way, and make plans to adjust our course in order to gain ground more effectively this new year. I tend to need time, space, silence, and solitude to think through all these things, rejuvenate and revitalize, and be better prepared to grow in the near future. If I don’t do this, I end up burnt out, feeling like Indiana Jones being chased by the giant boulder with no option to jump out of the way.

Find a way to build in a season of rest and reset. If we’re constantly on the go, pushing forward to what we’ve deemed success, we may miss important signs on the trail telling us the road has changed, or become overgrown and that we’re going to need to pull over, re-tool for unexpected terrain, and replenish supplies.

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