This special holiday message from ASEA CEO Chuck Funke is featured in the December edition of ASEA Global News. You can view the full newsletter in your ASEA Virtual Office > Resources > ASEA News.

I have lived my entire life in the northern hemisphere. Most of that has been in parts of the world with four distinct seasons. Spring begins in March, summer in June, autumn in September, and winter in December. Each season brings unique characteristics that help mark time and provide the setting for life’s experiences.

Often when people describe winter, it is as their least favorite season—foreboding, cold, and dark. For some, it can even embody characteristics of loneliness, starkness, and isolation. Someone recently shared with me the words of writer Brigit Anna McNeill who held a different perspective on winter—a gentle reminder that winter is a necessary time of preparation:

Lessons from nature

“Like nature and the animal kingdom around us, this time of hibernation is so necessary for our tired limbs, our burdened minds. . . . Whereas in actual fact winter is kind; she points us in her quiet, soft way towards our inner self, towards this annual time of peace and reflection, embracing the darkness and forgiving, accepting and loving, embracing goodbye the past year.”

As we review this last year, for many, it has again presented us with unique challenges—globally, corporately, and for some of us personally. But, just as surely as spring will invariably follow winter, we can find hope. Like planet earth, after a time of renewal and reflection, we too can look forward with optimism and confidence to a brighter future.

Reflection and progress

We often define progress as the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state. In its simplest form, progress defines the entire human condition. Philosophers of all ages have tried to articulate the idea that direction is more important than speed. We may do well in our lives to gratefully slow down and ensure we are headed to the place where we ultimately want to be.

As 2022 slips into the twilight of yesterday, perhaps the most important question we can ask ourselves is this: Did we make progress in meaningful ways in the things that mattered most? My wish for all is that after a time of reflection, we can be prepared to once again go forward. In this new year, let us be ready to share all that is good within us with a world that is ready and needful of that goodness.