So real talk moment here: I know how lucky I am to be able to do what I am doing right now.
In fact, a good amount of my daily motivations comes from the fact that I need to make sure that the privilege that I have right now does not go to waste… whether it is in my actions to help the community, drive my family forward into a bigger and brighter future or simply seeing my passions take shape (hopefully) into something I can do as a job.
A woman I had the pleasure of working with recently said to me after her retirement: “Carrie, I plan to put as much energy into things I love, as I did with work” and that right there folks is where I am now.
Everyone daydreams of things they want to do with their life. And they certainly evolve over time. Priorities change, like, ALL THE TIME.
But the fire in your belly… the things that really hit your heart, mind and soul never really go away or change… they just get deeper as time goes on.
When our family grew and we made the decision that it was time for me to really take the leap by stepping back from my career in a time-consuming, hyper stressful, public facing, strategically minded position in retail, I knew it would be tough. And it was/is…. even with all the incredible support I have from my amazing hubby… it is TOUGH.
It is tough, because it means actually DOING what you envisioned in your head for all those years…. romanticizing about ‘what ifs’ no longer is an option… but it requires you to aggressively dissect those dreams, parsing and creating goals needed to achieve that end vision, listing all the actions needed to accomplish those goals, setting milestones to achieve goals within smart and reasonable timeframes, and on and on.
See, when you work in an industry that is built on static daily goals and new rollouts that come in 25 page powepoints… and your job is to execute said plans day in and day out, with measurable results that you see sometimes instantaneously based on your actions…
…well, starting from scratch on something that is not clearly defined in your head is a challenge.
You meander around, making lists…. shooting for the moon and sometimes achieving things, but often times, there is no immediate reward… no measurable result… no feedback on how to do it better next time… or if you need to re-evaluate your approach.
It’s all YOU. You need to do this. There are no outside minds reviewing your progress, checking in, coaching you on how to become stronger, more strategic… more resilient or creative…
It is YOU.
I think I need to seriously THANK the “Greenhouse Event” because that might have been the thing I actually needed to really see that the plan I had, or the milestones and success markers I had created, might not have been what was going to get me to where I wanted.
It was my reality check.
Bloggers don’t just become popular overnight. Most do it for YEARS (like 10+ years) before being able to cultivate a following… same with musicians, artists, chefs…
Thinking of what I am doing now in terms of the career I just left… it took me close to 28 years in the industry to end up where I was when I stepped back. It took a long time for me to build those skills, those habits and those connections. I think of all the greats and it took TIME to get to the level they hoped to achieve (all the while pushing themselves to keep improving.)
I was putting my new dream up against the same success markers (unconsciously) and holding myself accountable to the same level of execution as before… which is kind of unreasonable considering I have never started my own company, let alone try to get 10 channels of media and content going at the same time, prep product to sell on the market as well as document it all myself as photographer, editor, writer and site designer.
Yeah, I needed to take a bit of the pressure off myself and understand that going fast was not going to necessarily be the thing that made me successful in this next endeavor. What I needed was a strategic and comprehensive plan (with LOTS of wiggle room and contingencies due to weather and property challenges) as well as the understanding that ticking off those small wins DOES get us closer to the end goal.
This week? It has been GORGEOUS outside.
The inside greenhouse needs to get cleared out and shut down and these garden beds need to get ready to take these transplants! My dahlias are starting to sprout gangbusters but cannot sit in these prop pots much longer… they need DIRT and to get settled into their home for the growing season! We have 16 chicks arriving next week… I need to get their spaces prepped, make sure our supplies are ready and we are ready to tuck them into their inside space right away… which means, the new miter saw needed to be set up, tested and mounted THIS week as the baby chicks grow out in the workshop basically right where the bench is for about 6-7 weeks. Nothing will be cut or mounted while those lil babies are getting their feathers and learning how to chicken!
So… my dreams of a test batch of caramels for the Etsy shop and two new macaron recipes was scrapped. I traded tasty treats for manual labor.
*sigh* Oh well, it will be worth it in the end, I know.
Chasing dreams ALWAYS means getting dirty. Doing it yourself. Trading priorities on the fly. Seeing the value in the short term gains (regardless of what pillar they fall into) and realizing that they DO take you closer to the end goal.
I have 3 pillars for the brand:
- Food and Drink
Collectively that is Dragon Brook. Yeah, it’s actually kind of BIG.
Each one is filled with SO many actions my head spins. Considering that comprehensively I should have success markers within each pillar, I actually DO have ways to feel accomplished every singe day, even if my ultimate goal of the site, the store, the blog, etc.. etc… is not achieving follower milestones (which it is… I’ve grown viewership over 100% since setting some markers in Feb.) or my podcasts aren’t being listened to by hundreds of people because I don’t have the time to dedicate a day to marketing it on all social platforms and podcast hubs…
There are basics that I should be doing that will help me prepare for the chaos of bigger success…. getting the LLC set up, making sure the website has monetization capabilities… making sure I’ve secured the podcast avenues and handles I want to pull automatically when content is published are set in place….
It is A LOT, folks.
The Greenhouse Event helped me to work through the fact that I was not going to be the best or #1 right away. I was going to have failures and challenges and I needed to embrace them as part of the journey. Maybe having that sort of a greenhouse for our land and climate isn’t right anyway? We might have thought it was initially, but who knows… maybe I need to build a hoop house instead… or a slanted greenhouse… a stand alone structure without protection might have been a horrible idea (although it was an incredibly thoughtful and supportive gift.)
Working hard needs to feel good and self reflection needs to be self-supportive. We are often SO hard on ourselves because we are chasing dreams that we know will make us better… and those stumbles hurt. They hurt our heart, our confidence and our resolve… but what IF we used them to bolster our resolve, to challenge our strategies and ultimately to adapt our roadmap to the end goal?
This week I accomplished so much. Like WAYYYYYY more than I thought I could get accomplished. (I even did a mock up garden plan for a friend who reached out, hoping to help her have a successful growing season for her family!)
- Closed up the inside greenhouse
- Finished setting up / adjusting the miter box for the new compound miter saw
- Weeded and prepped all 16 raised beds for soil amendments and new compost
- Enclosed 6 of 10 garden beds (build 12 end walls from wire and post)
- Planted some late bulbs and root stock
- Finalized the chicken garden and documented plantings
- Set up the design for the terraced cut flower garden
- Set pins and scouted/dropped logs for first bed (4′ x 30′ dahlia bed)
- Broke up soil, excavated (by hand) and prepped bed for backfilling garden soil and planting next week
- Patched the driveway (the plow was brutal this year… LOL.. lots of ‘potholes’ needing backfilling)
- Scouted property for more fell trees for the remaining beds. Marked trees for chainsawing next week (small work that I can handle myself.)
- Wrote 2 posts, recorded a podcast and published all
- Jumped into IGTV and going ‘Live’ more often in the moment to keep content creation moving
- Had a date lunch with hubs mid week!
- Helped get the pop-up camper into the dealership for some minor work (warranty work) so she’s ready for camping season.
- Dug out the power washer and moved to where I have easy access when I’m ready to redo the deck in a few weeks….
- Cleaned up the deck containers to prep for plants… re-evaluated what will be up here since it will be our daughter’s domain (as well as the dog’s) more than last year and she gets into EVERY-THING. LOL. As she should at 17 months.
- Finished LLC research and started process.
That needs to be enough for me. Did any of them get me any closer to the end goal? ALL of them did, although they might not have gotten me any more listens, or follows, or reposts…
I think this new approach will help me get a lot more done, as well as be much more realistic in my expectations.
Reassessing plans is not fun…nor is feeling like you are failing.
But sometimes, it’s because you’re are measuring your success all wrong. Sometimes, you’re not being realistic. Or you’re holding yourself to an expectation of the same level of success IMMEDIATELY within a new endeavor as you’ve had previously.
Sometimes we need to be a bit more gentle with ourselves.
MINDFUL in how we approach our observations of our work. And that requires us to take some time to really reflect on what it is we want.
What it is that will get us there.
What it will take to do it.
And then take those answers and get to work…