The Business That Regenerates | A Lesson from The Stag

As autumn arrives, stags prepare to shed their antlers. The growth, death and regeneration of a stag’s antlers are governed by the cycle of the seasons, which has a direct relationship to the amount of sunlight that reaches our planet. Much like many plants, antlers grow during the spring and summer months. In late summer or early autumn, they harden in response to increasing testosterone levels.

Testosterone has a major influence on the male reproductive cycle. Since males engage in energetically demanding activities such as fighting and mating, this results in losses to their physical well-being. The mating season is energetically costly for males, since they move large distances in search of females, have to defend both their harems and their territories, engage in fights with other males; and simultaneously find the time to mate–all the while having low feeding rates. Therefore, any potential trade-offs are likely to arise during the mating season.

When our businesses go into a season of temporary decline, we often feel at a loss–wondering why things are not as they have been and when the glory days will return. Sometimes even the business owner’s energy levels are down. They are physically, emotionally and even mentally unable to sustain those rates of growth that they have been accustomed to.

As children of nature, all our biological mechanisms have a purpose. So what if the clock is ticking? That’s exactly what the clock is meant to do. Like the stag, we grow, shed and regenerate according to our environment at the time. But what, exactly, is regeneration? It is an attribute of all living organisms. In biology, it refers to the process of renewal, restoration and growth that makes cells, organisms and ecosystems resilient to disruption and damage. Every species is capable of regeneration, from the stag to you and me.

As a business model, regeneration is based on patterns and beliefs about how the world actually works. Not how it should work, or how we want to it work, but how it actually does. It differs from the hegemonic worldview that growth can and should continue endlessly and needlessly. A few months of ‘downtime’ is sometimes what every business needs so that it can regenerate for the more productive months of the year.

The stag is here to teach us that even if you are the alpha and even if it is your job to fight, procreate and provide–you, too, deserve a period of rest.

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