Often comments from friends and relatives on how lovely and beautiful our lives seem, make me think of sharing more of the failures. And yes, Vermont is beautiful, and we love what we do, we love growing food, we love Acupuncture, we love homeschooling our children..(and i admit, i mostly share the lovely pictures..)
But sometimes, we have failed multiple times before we got it right, learning more from those failures than anything else.
In our business, over the last 12 years, I wouldn’t say that the business failed the way we were operating (your traditional private practice)…but i would say that it was floundering. It was a challenging place to be. …to want to be able to continue to do the thing you love, the thing you are good at, the thing that you believe helps people, and to do it in a way that both benefits your community and yourself, in a socially responsible way. And feed your four children.
Completely changing how we operated first required that we admit that the way we were doing it was wrong. After that, after we smashed the ideas of how we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to value ourselves, our time, how we are supposed to market, how we are supposed to present ourselves…after that is gone, we were free to re-invent ourselves and our business, to better reflect our values.
A month later, after we completely changed our model, we are busier than we have ever been. From 12 patients a week, to over 50 now. And what feels so great about this? That we are able to continue doing what we love, that more people have access to acupuncture, and that people don’t have to make huge financial sacrifices in order to have treatments. Win. Win. Our failure was a blessing in disguise, our failure was a huge lesson.
On our lil farm…every year is different. Lesson learned. After planting over 120 cabbages in (TWICE)..and having the groundhog eat them all (TWICE), i learned a lesson in being flexible. After my tomatoes got blight, and then practically destroyed by the tomato hornworm (how those little suckers eat that much overnight is beyond me), i learned some more about resilience.
We learned that there is a market for our local pastured chicken, and we have been planning on amping up our numbers a bit, while trying to figure out how to efficiently rotate and graze our chickens (without having so many as to kill the grass, that we rely on to both feed them…and harbor the healthy lil bugs they snack on all day.) We moved away from the organic feeds, and into a line of Non gmo feeds in order to keep our prices down….while we look into other methods of cutting costs for feed (sprouting fodder, using more efficient fermenting methods.)
Last year, one of my goals was to sell our excess vegetables…which we did a bit of. But with a new baby, homeschooling, acupuncture-ing.. I have learned that I can’t do it all.. (meaning picking the vegetables,& setting up the farmstead, just didn’t happen, another epic failure? or just another lovely lesson..)
But by focusing on our community clinic this coming year, & selling more of our chicken, Im hoping to be able to set up a pick your own community garden space, within our mini farm where we can sell our organic vegetables at prices that people can afford to pay. (and i don’t have to pick them. another win. win)
The big plans don’t always work out, but I’m willing to learn from them. And take all these experiences as a way of learning to think outside the box. And to be honest and open about our mistakes, so others might learn from them too. Some of these changes feel huge to me, some small…but all of them make me feel like at least we are on the right track.
‘In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.’ – -Saint Teresa