I love watching nature come to life again, the days growing longer, the daffodils and tulips in colorful bloom.

Here in the Northwest, our winters are long, dark, cold and dismal. I used to dread this gloomy season, always anxious for spring to arrive. But this year I noticed something odd. I wasn’t trying to hurry winter.

I have actually come to appreciate these dark times—be it winter, or my own unproductive periods. We all have them—those times when nothing seems to be happening. I believe, in our society, fallow times are seriously under-rated.

Indeed, winter is really when all the work is being done—we just can’t see it. There’s a lot of activity brewing beneath the surface.

The same holds true with our own seemingly fruitless periods. We want to rush through them. We feel stuck. We get discouraged, frustrated and impatient. We can’t wait until they pass, until we see action again, until something crops up.

We fail to appreciate that winters are gestation periods, absolutely critical in the cycle of life. Nothing—be it a baby, a flower, or an idea—springs to life fully formed without a period of incubation.

Survival depends on allowing, respecting, and nurturing this natural cycle of development.

The darkness has a purpose. It encourages us to hunker down, snuggle up, go within, reflect, re-evaluate, take it easy, in preparation for the coming growth spurt, which is right around the corner…guaranteed!

Our challenge is to trust our own cycles, to remember that even when it looks like nothing is happening, or when we’re feeling stuck and life looks dismal, there’s more going on than meets the eye.

If we appreciate the seasonal cycles, we can enjoy each season more fully. @BarbaraStanny (Click to Tweet!)

So I challenge you to love and appreciate wherever you find yourself today– whether it be a bountiful spring or a barren winter – for all that it is contributing to your personal growth and future success.

Barbara Stanny, the leading authority on women and money – is a bestselling author, popular wealth coach and sought after speaker. Barbara has devoted herself to inspiring women to earn the money they deserve, build the wealth they desire, and step fully into their power! Her books include: Prince Charming Isn’t Coming; Secrets of Six-Figure Women; Overcoming Underearning; & Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles (to be published in October 2014.) Barbara has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, Extra, The O’Reilly Report, and many times on CNN,MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, PBS, and NPR, as well as the New York Times, and USA Today. You can find more info on her website and follow her on Twitter

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Image courtesy of Jose M. Vazquez.