(#282) The Story of the Lavender Farmer

“It has been a saga, but I am determined to be successful, and continue to learn from each chapter,” she said.  “Thank heaven they come one at a time.”

In addition to my time on stage or facilitating smaller workshops, a love the opportunity to make new acquaintances while on the road.  I always take something away when these folks share the varied stories of their journeys. Recently, one of my hosts drove me to the airport following a speaking engagement at a major college in the Northwest.  Here is a piece of Robin’s story (shared with her permission) and how it connected with a point I had made earlier that day from the stage.

Robin worked in the business world for 13 years. She served as an administrative assistant; she loved her job. Then came the downsizing. Her boss offered her one day less of work for ½ the pay.  In other words, work 80% of what she used to but for 50% of the pay. She opted for a buy out and, then, she and her husband, Chris, considered their next move on their journey ahead.

As often happens, a chance encounter can present options we never knew of or considered before.  Such was the situation when Robin paid a visit to a friend’s home to help her with some farm work.   A little weeding and tending to a crop. Nothing too strenuous. Time with a friend.

lavender

That day, Robin worked some acreage devoted to a lavender crop. She liked the smell, the feel and the work itself.  As she talked with and worked beside her friend, Robin began constructing a story: What if I grew lavender? Why not me?

She had no background in this.  She had no land to plant the crop. And she and her husband did not have a great deal of money to invest. She did have her company severance but that was pretty much spoken for with bills and other commitments.

After talking and planning, she and Chris were able to sublet a small plot of her in-laws’ farm. Her lavender dream was moving closer to reality.

They bought 200 young lavender plants and began their venture. Two years and two harvests later, Robin and her husband are working on the next phase—the manufacturing of the lavender into products like sachet and soap. 

As she told me about this next step, her eyes widened and her voice brightened beyond her already pleasant demeanor.  You could tell she was clearly exited and passionate about what she and her husband had created.  Small steps leading to personal satisfaction.

They, also, have a small plot of land in Idaho she told me. So they decided to see how the Idaho land and lavender would work together.  They planted two crops of seedlings—and, unfortunately, each year the seedlings vanished!  They never knew exactly what happened though they did have their theory.  Nonetheless, a slight detour on the way to their dream.

An additional challenge came this past year when the Idaho fires torched their land.  Through it all, though, Robin and her husband have maintained a resilient attitude.

Robin and Chris's burned acreage.

Robin and Chris’s burned acreage.  (Used with permission.)

“It has been a saga, but I am determined to be successful, and continue to learn from each chapter,” she said.  “Thank heaven they come one at a time.”

Video recommendation for the week:

Earlier that day from the stage I had shared a strategy I first read about in Seth Godin’s book Leap First. In short, I challenged the audience to understand where they stand with their stories. Some of us remain timid and wait for things to be perfect before we move to the next step. Others never prepare for anything and just “wing it” on their way to God knows where. And there are those who take reckless (read: foolish and not well-thought out) risks that place them and others in precarious if not dangerous positions.

 

[The above clip comes from an earlier talk at Northern Virginia Community College.]

People like Robin and Chris remind me of the power of considered thought and action. While they were moving into new territory (metaphorically and literally), they did not let the newness (for them) of the venture dissuade them. They prepared themselves to take risks, to take action and they did not let “perfect” stand in the way of movement. Failure was an option. But so was fulfillment and excitement.  They could have stood on other side of the fence dreaming of lavender—but never doing anything out of fear of disappointment.  That would have, more than likely, lead to a lot of “what ifs” in the future.

Thanks to Robin, Chris and their lavender crop for reminding us that meaningful growth generally does not come to the timid-let’s-fly-under-the-radar person.  And it does not come in one fell swoop as mana dropping from the skies. It takes work, preparation, faith and resilience.  Yes, there more than likely will be a disappointing chapter or two along the way.

Thank heaven they come one at a time.

And each one builds your story.

What’s your story?

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 

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