Wild Talk: How to Winter

Jay Erickson, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer

Jay Erickson

Partner | Chief Innovation Officer

Wild talk: How to Winter

In this podcast episode, we consider the opportunities that “winter” provides to plan, repair, and learn.

“There's wisdom in winter, which is fundamentally about slow rejuvenation so that you can be there for the long haul.” — Josh Viertel

For many of us, this winter, in the middle of the cultural winter we have been plunged into by the pandemic, feels especially slow, quiet, and filled with solace. What lessons can we learn from embracing the process of “wintering” that we can apply to product development, organizational planning, business strategy, team leadership , and personal growth? Corporate culture in America has striven to be in a perpetual state of summer and production but cycles occur regardless. How might we embrace them and make the best of them for our teams and our projects?

In this episode of Wild Talk, “How to Winter Well,” I meet with three guests to explore how winters can show up for us as individuals, organizations, and social movements. As a reminder, every episode of Wild Talk takes place outdoors, and so this time I had conversations in the wild with Josh Viertel, co-founder of Harlem Valley Homestead; Chloe Cockburn, lead for social justice at Open Philanthropy; and Zainab Salbi, renowned humanitarian and founder of Women for Women International.

In her 2020 New York Times bestseller, “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat In Difficult Times,” author Katherine May points out: “It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. Doing those deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it is essential. This is a crossroads we all know, a moment when you need to shed a skin. If you do, you’ll expose all those painful nerve endings and feel so raw that you’ll need to take care of yourself for a while. If you don’t, then that skin will harden around you.”

How might we — as teams, organizations, and leaders — learn to slow down and cultivate the repair, contemplation, and space for planning that winter can offer? How can we use this time to plan and see our lives and endeavors more clearly? What can be cleared to make space for the growth in the springtime?

So grab a cup of your favorite warm drink and join us for a little meander into what it means to winter well.

(Fair warning: this episode begins with me jumping into an icy pond at my home on New Year’s Eve — thankfully it’s just the audio.)

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