PreS: Yay…the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVIII!

Groundhog Day was a few weeks ago and, according to Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck, we are in for an early spring. Because neither animal saw their shadow. 

I find it hilarious that we, especially on the northeast coast of the U.S., put so much trust in a non-scientific way to predict how long winter will last. And, that this is something we’ve been doing since the 1880s (!) with much anticipation. 🙂  

(Side note: It was an overcast day here in NYC on February 2, so I am a bit confused…can a shadow appear on a cloudy day?)

Anyway, this annual tradition reminds me of how even lighthearted cultural events, like Groundhog Day, can hold just as much sway in our minds as nature when it comes to marking upcoming shifts in seasons. 

From Nature, Take a Cue

Groundhog Day is a visual and experiential way to get us ready for what comes next. Like a calendar, but in a much smaller way. 

After all, both provide a marker for the end of one season and the start of the next. Though, I should probably qualify the “end” and “start,” because the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit around the Sun, as well as meteorological factors such as temperature and weather patterns, may sometimes cause the Groundhog and the calendar to be out of sync with Mother Nature! 🙂 

Nonetheless, seasons change. As do the factors that influence the timing and extent of those changes. 

But, you and I know a little something about experiencing different seasons (or transitions), beyond what happens in nature – amirite? 

And, it makes me wonder: 

How well do you and I navigate the seasons of change in life, with money, and in business?

The seasons of waiting, of growth and opportunity, of pruning, of grief, of creativity, of stagnation, and of rest.

  • What patterns do you pay attention to that represent signals for you?
  • At what point do you notice them – sometime before, in the midst of, or after the fact?
  • How do you evaluate when it is time to adapt and change your behavior, attitude, or expectations? Or, perhaps if you ought to use your resources differently?

An Unlikely “Teacher”

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, famously said, “The only constant in life is change.” 

Yet, you and I can sometimes have a complicated relationship with change – for any number of reasons. 

We might struggle with the concept and experience of change due to our innate desire for stability and certainty, fear of the unknown, or our attachment to familiar patterns and experiences.

Interestingly, the tradition of Groundhog Day can help you and me better navigate change. 

Here are a few symbolic parallels and lessons we can glean from this most unlikely of sources – whether it’s the case that you are responding to a change that was thrust upon you, or you are managing through a change you initiated: 

Groundhogs are hibernators, spending October through early spring underground. When it emerges from its burrow, does it see its shadow and retreat back, or does it remain outside because it didn’t see its shadow? 

While retreating back or remaining outside aren’t scientific predictors of seasonal changes, either behavior does perfectly demonstrate, in a non-scientific way, the importance of adaptability in navigating change. 

For you and me, this is a lesson about flexibility and resilience amidst shifting circumstances and new challenges as they arise. 


  • What do you actively do to cultivate an attitude of adaptability?
  • Do you retreat, hoping you won’t have to deal with the change with which you are contending, or will you face it head-on? 
  • What are you doing to ensure you have the financial resilience to weather unexpected changes and challenges? 
  • In your business, what are you doing to foster a culture of innovation and creativity so that you can more easily adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Hope & renewal

The anticipation of spring is about more than the excitement of the season changing and the weather getting warmer. It’s a symbol of hope and renewal. It’s a reminder that new beginnings and opportunities are possible. It’s the perfect breeding ground for optimism. 

Particularly when you are facing adversity, the spirit of hope and renewal helps you to remember that:

  • You’ve bounced back from setbacks before.
  • You’ve reached (and perhaps exceeded) goals (financial and otherwise) in the past.
  • You’ve previously weathered and creatively responded to industry/market fluctuations.

Pay attention 

Groundhogs retreat or remain outside based on the weather they encounter when they emerge from their burrow. So, the weather is a sign for them. 

For you and me, this is a lesson about the importance of paying attention to signs and the signals that herald change. 

  • How do you stay attuned to subtle and not so subtle cues and patterns in your various environments (emotional, financial, physical, professional)?
  • What practices help you anticipate and prepare for impending changes, making it easier to adapt and adjust either before, during, or after they occur? 

Honor rituals

Rituals are important. They tend to commemorate significant moments and events. They can help us find comfort and shared meaning. They can help us navigate seasons of change.

For Everything, There’s a Season

I must admit, initially, I thought it was a stretch to attempt to draw lessons from a groundhog and the cultural tradition that is Groundhog Day. 

However, they actually remind us of the inevitable rhythms of nature. They remind us that there is an interconnectedness within the natural world. 

So, the conclusion I reached is that a groundhog and the symbolism of Groundhog Day can actually deepen our understanding of change, transitions, and preparedness. 

Fundamentally, what we are reminded of is that everything evolves and everything is part of a larger ecosystem. Including the seasons of change and transitions you and I experience. 

Throughout the rest of this year and beyond, you are bound to encounter expected and unexpected changes. And my hope is that you’ll take away from today’s piece whatever will help you navigate your seasons of waiting, of growth and opportunity, of pruning, of grief, of creativity, of stagnation, and of rest with grace, humility, resilience, and wisdom.

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