Homestead | Reflecting on 2018

Homestead Wisconsin - Southern Wisconsin

what a challenging and beautiful year

I always wrap up my business years with a little reflection. A little Profit and Loss analyzing is usually were I start, then it’s onto what can I do to market my business better, what worked this year and what was a complete fail. This year I sat down to do the same reflecting but came up with something much different than typical. The truth is 2018 will go down in my journal as the most exhausting year of my life. I made this year exhausting, in fact I pretty much designed it that way. I took on a lot of new and really exciting things, but in the end it was too much for me and too much for the relationships I cherish the most.

So this year I’m being honest and sharing what my third year in business really looked like.

I’m exhausted.

This past year I’ve felt like I’m in a constant state of complete exhaustion and complete ambition depending on the hour of the day, sometimes literally. It’s been an exhausting roller-coaster that I’m thankful for, but one I’m ready to be done riding. I knew that taking on our homestead fixer-upper, growing a farm, growing a floral business and maintaining my existing design business would challenge me. It certainly has.

I’m an ambitious planner

I’m an ambitious planner. Meaning I make decisions months or years in advance. I plan out all the details, run all the budgets, and set out to make it happen whatever the cost to my personal well-being. It’s not something I’m always proud of but it is definitely part of my personal signature.

So, in classic fashion since we bought this homestead I’ve found myself making huge plans and have been running in a constant state of mind of ‘being behind schedule’. A schedule that I’ve decided is do-able, but one that hasn’t gone as I’d planned.

I self-impose deadlines in everything I do. I have deadlines for business projects and personal projects. If ‘project’ defines the activity it has a deadline. Deadlines usually keep me ambitious but this year they also made me very anxious.

The first deadline this year was that the cattle had to get out on pasture. I decided they HAD to get out by early May so we could save some money on hay and take advantage of a full growing season. But before that could happen we had to clear land, build a fence and over-seed a pasture. I had a deadline of 2 months, it took us 5 and for a planner like myself it was completely defeating.

This year we received a grant, which was a HUGE blessing, but came with another deadline. This time it was an end-of-the-year deadline which had to be met to receive the funding. I had it perfectly mapped out to take two months. Again, it took three instead and our weekends just kept clicking away slowly and painfully for me.

Last December I brought home a brand new set of livestock, sheep, which required adjustments to our cattle facilities to accommodate them. There are a whole set of deadlines I imposed because I decided to make this addition.

I had thought we’d for sure be completing my floral studio because it would ‘only’ take a month of weekends to get that project done. BUT instead we’ve not started it because my other deadlines have left us without spare weekends.

And like I said before every project has a deadline, so you can sprinkle in handfuls of other deadlines that have surely been missed this year.

For a person who stays ambitious by making and completing projects by the deadline this became an overwhelming and emotionally exhausting part of my year.

Even in the exhaustion I still see that this year was beautiful

Though I’ve been running on empty for what seems like most of this season there are definitely some beautiful things that have come out of this year.

One beautiful thing is I’ve learned is my limits. I’ve always been one to have a lot of kettles in the fire, a constant planner and mover. I often thrive in this environment. I’m ambitious and it’s never come back to hurt me, until this year. So I’m thankful for a year that has pushed me to the limits so I know when too much is actually too much.

I’ve figured out what truly fills me up and what exhausts me. Finally figuring this out has allowed me to refine the direction of my business so I can better balance my ‘cup’ in the future.

It’s also been a beautiful year because people have chosen to love me through my ambitious deadlines and exhausted state of mind which isn’t a pretty one I can assure you.

I owe the success of this year to three beautiful people

Another beautiful part of this year was that my business doubled in sales, even in the midst of the chaos I felt. And I can honestly say it wasn’t me that made that happen. Sure, I’ve made some significant efforts towards growing this tiny business - but I’ve never had to work an entire season from with complete mental and physical exhaustion. If it wasn’t for three incredible worker bees I wouldn’t have been able to move the needle so significantly in my business. It’s because of these three people’s support that I was able to keep my enthusiasm for growing through the exhaustion.

Matt and my parents really deserve some recognition

While I stole every weekend possible to work on projects, stole Matt’s vacation time, aged my dad a few years (or he’d probably argue more like decades), and made unrealistic deadlines that left me frustrated and often unpleasant - these three people were there for me every. single. day.

Mom cleaned the house, took care of the dog, hopped in to do hay, cared for lambs, put her own renovation project on the back burner and loved me through it all.

Dad scheduled equipment rentals, gave away his working weekends for mine, baled hay, fixed equipment, and was there every weekend to help however he was needed.

Matt pounded posts, stretched wire, baled hay, dug holes, handled livestock and was understanding that his house was a mess, that there wasn’t food on the table and supported me when he too was exhausted.

As I reflect back I have complete gratitude and incredible amounts of shame for how hard they worked for ME and MY business. They made HUGE sacrifices for me this year, too many to note, all to see my business succeed. So I want to publicly say I’m grateful for their understanding, their ‘were in this together’ attitude, their continuous support, their self-sacrifice and their unfailing love for me..

Thank You

I also want to thank YOU. If you booked me for your wedding this year, if you bought beef or lamb from me this year, if you showed up to build fence this year, if you kept in touch with me this year, if you encouraged me this year THANK YOU. Thank you for supporting this dream and I look forward to serving you from a fuller cup next year.

Also, thank you to all the friends and family of mine for understanding that I’ve been in a season of not having much left in me to give. I look forward to spending 2019 catching up, staying present and investing in our relationship.

Thanks for being here!