flowers + reading
Welcome back, flower friends. As I start my day, I’m struggling with this: How does the floral profession affect our health?
Over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of visiting one-on-one with many florals designers, flower farmers, and farmer florists. I love that time spent hearing the excitement and passion surrounding all the ways flowers feed the soul, inspire creativity, and connect people. But, there’s another message I hear over and over. And it seems to be getting more and more prevalent (or maybe we’re just getting more honest with one another).
Behind the beauty seems to be an undercurrent of pain – both mental and physical pain – that weighs us down and keeps us stuck.
Do you feel it? Here’s how it seems to go based on personal experience and recent conversations with many friends in the Botanical Brouhaha + Bloom Trust Co. community.
In the beginning it’s all about the flowers. You love flowers. You’re moved by their beauty and just want to get your hands on them. Time seems to disappear when you’re at the work bench or in the garden. Suddenly, you look at the clock and realize 3 hours have slipped by – it’s euphoric.
Next, you decide that you can’t imagine a better career than being among the flowers on the daily. Your love of people plays into the daydreams you have of opening a flower business. Imagine how many people you can serve through flowers!
You dig in hard. You begin reading every flower book and magazine you can get your hands on. You spend hours at the local book store, latte in hand, thumbing through books and magazines dreaming of what you will create in your new venture.
You join forums and buy courses. Scrolling on Instagram, you not only find visual inspiration, but you also look hard at the captions to find clues to resources others are using to run their “successful” flower businesses. You feel like you have a good idea of what it will take to become a successful flower business owner.
So, you dive in.
The first months, possibly even years, are filled with excitement and hurdles, but you feel strong. You’re up for the challenge. Since you’re not making enough profit to hire help yet, your days grow longer as you gain more customers. Sometimes, your day off needs to be spent working on the business. But, you’re not bothered by working on your day off because this is a dream come true – to work for yourself on your own terms with no one telling you when and how you must show up.
You’re not sure why, but you seem to be feeling tired more often. On the way to the studio, you grab a Venti latte and a scone. No time for breakfast today, it’s a busy day and you’re feeling the pressure to get a head start. Now, client meetings, proposal writing, flower ordering, and deliveries fill your days. It’s exciting to be busy. That means you must be doing something right. Which means you’re headed for success.
Oops, now your inbox is full! The only time you seem to be able to carve out for those “sorry for the delayed response” emails is after your family is in bed. Grabbing a cup of coffee to stay awake – and a handful of cookies because it’s technically time for another meal – you settle in at the computer to work on responding to emails. As you begin dozing off around 2am, you decide to call it a day.
As your business grows, so do some other mysterious ailments. Your skin is having break outs, your favorite pants are getting a little snug, you’re having headaches when you skip the daily caffeine + sugar energy boost you get in the Starbucks drive thru.
When your friends invite you to dinner, you have to politely decline because you’re busy building your business. They, of course, know not invite you to do anything on the weekend. That would be absurd. Everyone knows weddings and events happen on the weekend. So, eventually you stop hearing from many of your friends and family on a regular basis.
Now you’re deep into growing your business. Everyday is busy. You know you need help, but have no idea how to go about finding it. You don’t have time to stop and find someone to help. And even if you did make the time, who would you ask? You need answers on all the things you didn’t really realize you’d need back when you started – which website platform is best for your business, what needs to be included in your contracts, what tool will allow you to automate your emails, how to market your business, how to use the latest social media features that you see everyone else already mastering, and on… and on… and on.
Now you’re wondering if you made the right decision to open a flower business. Maybe you’re just not cut out for it. You’re not as talented as the people you see “making it”. Why can’t you gain traction like they do? First, you think rationally about what’s holding you back and try to think of ways to educate yourself further to make up for your weaknesses.
But, at some point you feel too tired, discouraged, and beat down to continue pretending to the world that you’re the same person you were back at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Now you’re certain there must be something seriously wrong with you.
You scroll social media looking at the designers you once aspired to emulate and try to pinpoint what they have that you don’t have. You start realizing it must be your age, your appearance, your beliefs, your talent…..
This story. I’ve heard a hundred versions of it. And sometimes, it’s even ended in a health crisis. I’ve heard stories of adrenal fatigue, debilitating anxiety and depression, and catastrophic on-job injuries caused by fatigue.
I’m not a doctor, but the message seems clear to me that we have some work to do in supporting one another and making sure we figure out how to take care of our bodies and spirits while serving others. Working with a beautiful medium doesn’t prevent the ugliness that can slide in the back door without us even realizing it — until we’re sinking.
By talking openly about the not-so-pretty parts of our careers in the floral profession, I’m hoping you can find the confidence and support you need to regain the magic you experienced at the beginning of this journey. Honest conversations always have been and always will be at the center of my work at BB & BTCO.
Until next time…xo
Feeling like you need a break, but not sure you have time? Read this.
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