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August 3rd 2015

This Week On The Farm

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IMG_7554The past few weeks have been a full tilt marathon and I only now feel like I’m catching my breath again after the race. While I generally like a lot of fast paced hustle (maybe a little too much for my own good) when my plate stays too full for too long it starts to take its toll. The past week I spent a good deal of time feeling overwhelmed and defeated and pretty dang low. It was really tough to see the positive side of things.

Poor Chris, I just followed him around complaining about all of the things that weren’t working and what I wanted to change, while at the same time refusing to take action to changing any of it.

IMG_7560But after wallowing in self pity and then spending a few days writing and doing some serious soul searching, I finally had a huge wave of clarity move in. I went to bed on the eve of the full moon with a heavy heart and woke up feeling recentered and refocused.

IMG_7529This year things have been changing a lot behind the scenes here at Floret. I imagined that I’d embrace these changes with open arms since I have wanted them for so long. They are all such good things that are happening, but to my surprise I’ve been really struggling with the newness and the big transitions have felt awkward and choppy. I keep having to remind myself that it’s the medicine I need to heal. But boy oh boy, it sure is bitter.

IMG_7453 I have a tendency to over do and over commit. This year with the help of the team, I’m finally trying to break that habit and come at things in a new way. It feels like I’m learning a new language or even how to walk again.

Every week when we have our team planning meetings and I have to make a mountain of tough decisions and pass on dozens of opportunities, in order to keep things at a more balanced level, I feel a little like I’m dying. My old motto was “more is more” and it has been really tricky to try and learn the “less is more” approach.

IMG_7516My Mom (and my coach) calls this part of the personal growth process, going through the eye of the needle. It’s the final part of the hero’s journey, and there’s really no way around it. The only way to get to the other side is by facing all of your fears and resistance head on. And I know from past experience that this is the part where I always want to turn back. I lose faith and forget why on earth I set off on this quest to begin with.

But I’m not giving up. I can’t. Things need to change and I know if I can keep my head in the game, that all of this pain will be worth it when I’m on the other side.

IMG_7496There are a few great books that I’ve been flipping back through to help with the process, Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions and Going Pro By Steven Pressfield. I’ve added them to my Amazon Bookstore along with a few others in case you too are looking for some inspiration on your own journey.

I’d love to know what you do to keep your eye on the prize when you’re working on making big changes in your life. Do you have a favorite book, quote, spiritual teacher, TED talk, etc. that helps recenter you when your faith waivers?


  1. Heather on

    I’m drawn to your site at odd moments and I happened to pick this older post to read tonight. It addresses the exact state of mind I’m currently in while I ponder the changes occurring in my own life. I know they are good for me; they are changes I wanted, but I’m scared. Your words help me push forward with my own farm business choices. They have since I discovered you in Martha Stewart while I was at the doctor’s office last fall. I don’t even think the issue was current, but I jumped out of my chair I was so inspired. Being brave has worked out for you and I will continue to follow you. Fearless leader! PS: My outdoor (!) planted Ranunculus are starting to bloom! First time I’ve grown them and I followed your directions to a tee. I’m in Granite Falls for heaven’s sake! Who knew? It worked. THANK YOU!

  2. Amy on

    What do you do with yourself when everything seems to be going great, but you feel down and low anyway? I’ve been faced with the same problem this summer, also with the notion that I’ll never catch up anyway, so why try? I think it’s symptomatic of rarely taking a day off. If I take the time to take a catnap in the afternoon, to take a day off every week to just do whatever I want to do, and to exercise every day—away from all the work!–I stay much more even-keeled. Hang in there, but also do allow yourself some time off!

  3. Luc on

    great article, I always promote less is more. Do less but better and it brings more.

  4. Mira on

    Seeing all your beautiful images, it’s hard to believe you are ‘just like everybody else,’ with so many difficulties and pressures. The following ideas are what I am working with these days:

    Saying “Yes” to the present moment, instead of meeting it with resistance, can help you stay in the flow of life and allow you to meet challenges with an open mind and an open heart.

    Saying “Thank You” to the present moment and feeling gratitude will fill your life with grace and magic.

    Doesn’t it always seem like every creative endeavor has a crisis moment? A moment where you might have to make a change and then, all of a sudden, something amazing emerges that you hadn’t even expected (something better?)

    P.S. I can’t wait for your book!

  5. Jenny Rae on

    I got a little teary reading this. I’m about to take a giant leap of faith and hard work to follow my dream. The other day I found myself tearing up the flower field because I was happy to be doing what I love but also because felt a bit defeated. But that’s ok, because we are only human.

  6. Fiona on

    You know when you tell someone you are a flower farmer and their eyes light up and they say ‘lucky you, what a wonderful job’, they are right, it is wonderful. But all jobs have their down sides and flower farming is no exception. Running your own business is crazy hard work. Farming is mad. In our family we are all self motivated creative types and our moto is “up your failure rate”. Learn from your mistakes and make new ones. Just keep on going…..
    Personally I’ve been having to take myself off for a nap every day the last couple of weeks I’m so worried. I just have half an hour tucked up like a mouse and then I can keep going…..
    Counting your blessings helps but the best is sharing with your friends. Make sure you can share your hilarious failures with people who get you. Realise like this blog and it’s fabulous feed that we are all in the same boat and keep on going…..

    P.s thanks so much for sharing and giving us all the platform to add our own voices.

  7. Katie on

    I relate to being an over doer. I just find life so enthusiastically fun that it’s so hard to say no to anything.
    We have been developing forty acres for nine years. Clearing land, building sand into soil, and fencing. Building all our buildings and infrastructure. We have now moved into the second house we’ve built on the property the last couple of days. It’s not really done And we have no water heater or septic yet. Outdoor shower and outhouse. We left our beautiful cabin all mostly finished to bring in this extra income and also to sleep close to the garden. Keeping away animals and deer. Most people would wait, yet we’d rather forge ahead and get totally exhausted . Although we make things happen and the flowering shrubs we’ve planted everywhere ( started mostly from cuttings) are growing in for our cut flower business. We’d like to find a better way to create balance .
    I think what you are doing saying no might be the best answer. Can you hire more floral designers ? Seems like with all you have to offer as far as teaching goes, many people might be interested in helping you ?
    Do we woman have a hard time making a business bigger ? Or is it more just finding that sweet spot and limiting what we can reasonably do.

  8. lylah ledner on

    You’re honesty and vulnerability resonates to my own feminine soul.

    The past 4 weeks – my own mantra is “Yes to little and No to much.” Blessings on you and all you do.

  9. Naly Jasengnou on

    Today I was feeling the same thing! I felt like all the struggles and sacrifices I’m making isn’t worth it. Until I read your post, thank you for sharing your thoughts because you inspire me so much. When times get tough and I lose my vision I turn to you and I get fired up again. Thanks again for uplifting me again!!

  10. Beth Weaver on


    You are such an inspiration to all of us flower farmers. Suffering from my own mid-season melt-down, your blog made me realize I am not alone. We struggle with the “full plate” syndrome because we are so passionate about the business of flowers that we don’t say no very often. My flower farm is my second career. After almost 25 years of working in the corporate world, I followed my heart and turned my “gardening” hobby into a business. After five years of extreme highs and some disturbing lows, I must make some big changes for the business. I’ve lost sight of the balance between business and family life. Do I have the stamina to grow the business? Realizing I can’t do it all alone, what do I release to employees? How do you find good employees when your business budget does not allow for better than average wages? I’m sure these kind of questions keep many of us awake at night. Reading your blogs, and the comments from your many friends and fans helps put things in perspective and reminds me of the reasons I do what I do.

  11. Windy Rosenstiel on


    First and formost you are an AMAZING inspiration! I am a recently single mom of three teenage girls. My husband walked out of our lives two days before Christmas 2012. My father passed away at age 36 from a cocaine addiction. I say this to let you know if God brings you to it he will bring you through it. Years after my father’s death I became a volunteer adolescent drug prevention/education teacher. When my husband left us it not only left me heart broken but it also left me with the inability to continue volunteer teaching. I needed to be able to provide for my girls and at the same time I felt called to continue teaching. I stumbled upon your website, your blog, your pearls of wisdom…. picked myself up put my big girl panties on (that’s what we say here in the south) and moved forward. I also PRAYED really hard that the decisions I make would be God’s will and not my own. I have found when I choose my own will.. generally… I end up taking the long way around that mountain in my way;) I have always told my students that “They do not have to let their circumstances define them”, “They can be pitifull or powerful….but they cannot be both” and if they fall down and they will “Get up and try again”. Well it was now my turn to practice what I preach. This year because of your inspiration my girls and I have started a small flower farm/floral design business. The flower farm business will allow me to continue to teach my students and we will also be able to use a percentage of the funds to help out with expenses for the drug prevention/edu program I teach (abovetheinfluence.com). I know that the flower farm business will not save the world…but if it saves just one teen..that teen is somebodies…someone. We also have a flower farm mentor program in the works for at risk kids. While I am not where I need to be just yet….I am also not where I was either. This my dear all stemed from a vision that God gave to you:) That vision has trickled all the way down to Alabama and will save a life. I hope to someday soon attend one of your workshops and personally meet you. Sleep well and know God is doing a work through you and has been all along.

    You are blessed and in my prayers!

  12. Ronda Anderson on

    Thank you! Thank you!
    I spent the first 2 weeks of May dismantling 3 high tunnels I won at auction and though I am still super excited to quadruple my production space I really knocked myself out and have spent the entire season struggling with heat exhaustion! Blah!! I am repeatedly going over my limit, but the down time it has created/forced me to except and be at peace with where I am and more importantly let me learn to slow down and show my appreciation to those golden souls in my life. I can not do everything by myself, DOH!

    Thank you for sharing your life.

  13. Katie on

    I love the visual of going through the eye of the needle. I’m in a similar spot, but I’m at the very beginning of my flower journey. All summer I’ve allowed my fears and resistance to hold me back and I haven’t gone through that eye yet. The few things I have found that have helped me in the past couple weeks have been to make sure I’m talking about these fears with my trusted loved ones and journaling every morning. I use that as a space to just let all the negative thoughts OUT and vent and hopefully they don’t stick around with me for the rest of the day. Thank you for your honesty, Erin! It is reassuring to hear everyone in all stages of their career experience these same feelings!

  14. Audra on

    Neil Gaiman’s “Fantastic Mistakes” book (based off his “Make Good Art” speech) is something that I find myself going back to over and over again. It’s a quick read. It’s what pushed us to buy our farm and do this crazy flower farming thing. I can’t recommend it enough. It can be found on Amazon. My favorite passage:

    “Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.”

    Seth Godin’s blog also makes me feel like I’m not a complete failure on the reg and he’s a total badass. As always, thank you for your honesty and openness. I hope you understand how much influence you have and the doors and eyes that you have opened for everyone following you on this crazy adventure.

  15. Stephanie on

    Night walks. With only the light of the moon. The solitary darkness, the subtle sounds of nature make me so aware of everything around that I am oftentimes brought my knees with gratitude and peace and momentum to move forward.

  16. Donna Lee on

    Bless your heart. You’re a farmer. There’s nothing easy about farming. Weather, economy, plant health, all affect your business. Perseverance isn’t easy, but you have to have faith, along with the knowledge that you’re going to have to plan and focus on the aspects you want to see flourish. Darn those business plans; you have to single out areas you want to grow, and select those where you need to pull back, temporarily or permanently. I’m a list maker. You know, pros and cons. Not just pros and cons of decisions that affect the business, but you have to compare them with how they will affect your family and yourself. Maybe you need to talk to yourself. I talk to God. And to myself. It helps to verbalize things. You hear them in all their ridiculousness or logic. Know your limits. And remember your team. Where you might not be strong, someone else might be just the person to take up that slack. I love what you do! But then, I don’t have to do all the work. I can fantasize, and I can enjoy your flowers via photos. I have a friend who had a bed and breakfast in NY, along with organic products. One line of products grew unexpectedly, and she found she had to close the B&B part of her business so that she and her husband can focus on their thriving free range egg business. I hope you’re able to see the light soon. That is a huge burden to carry around all the time.

  17. Sherry Donnelly on

    Erin your honesty and vulnerability is refreshing! Thank you!! I try to look at where I have come to and through, more than where I am going. You have accomplished so much in a short period of time. Your drive and tenacity is beyond words!! Let your grip become a little looser and watch as the plan unfolds around you. I am the WORST at delegating and letting go. I also want it all to happen yesterday :) As I embark on my dreams which were fueled by your encouragement, I will try to stay in the moment (very hard for me) and remember that it’s the journey that is most important and not the destination. Love to you and all who make Floret successful! XO

  18. Jackson/Villa Fiore Botanicals on

    This is only our second year farming flowers (our field peonies just became harvestable last year…) and at each market we get at least one inquiry about either providing flowers for a wedding or creating floral designs for an event. We don’t have a team – it’s just my husband and me. Thus, I’ve quickly learned to say (very gently and with great optimism) “No.” When we venture into wedding and events, I want to be sure of our flowers, sure of what will be available and in what quantities based on the season and planting times, and sure that we have the time to create the best designs and flowers possible. We’re still experimenting, still planting new varieties, and still gently growing. So even though we endure a few crest-fallen faces, overall, we provide hundreds of smiles with our market flowers, and down the road will provide some ridiculously happy brides with some amazing flowers and memories. That’s the promise that allows us, for now, the freedom to say “no.”

  19. Helen on

    I’d love to see your Amazon bookstore but the link doesn’t seem to work? Is there another way to find your list?

    • Helen on

      Oh, found it in your sidebar links. Sorry.

  20. Pam on

    I can tell you to count your amazing blessings, but I think you already do this. Just realize that there are readers out here with serious health conditions that make your type of life impossible. But we read your blogs, posts & view your photos with the wish that we could have a tiny piece of the beauty that you have. Namaste!

    • Margie Cole on

      Pam, your advice to Erin put a smile on my face. It reminded me of my childhood when anytime I felt sorry for myself my mother would say “Think about someone less fortunate than yourself and SNAP OUT OF IT!”

  21. Margie Cole on

    Know thyself (what is too much for YOU) and just say no to the rest.

  22. Sarah on

    Boy does this seem to match up with what I am going through right now. I can’t say I have found the perfect way to calm myself, but one of the ones in need of it for sure. It definitely helps to see others that I can relate to. We are just starting and have been overwhelmed by the support so far but there are insecurities about pricing and quality that seems to weigh heavy. And at the same time we are dealing with pests and disease that we almost can’t keep up with the demand. I just try to keep looking to next year, knowing it will be better does pick me up a bit.
    Thank you for being open and sharing with us so often. It makes reaching the next step a little easier.

  23. Mary Ann on

    I feel like anytime I come to a challenging, overly-noisy chaotic moment when it seems I am losing my direction (or my mind) – it’s the perfect opportunity to slow down and ask questions rather than trying to answer them. I stop overly reacting to everything that’s going on around me – and filter out the noise to figure what’s really important and what’s not. How do I want this next chapter in my life to read? Mediation helps me to calm down the noise and stress to get centered again. The hero always stops, thinks and breathes before she goes into battle. You’ve created something truly truly beautiful. You are already successful. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  24. kay on

    Dear Erin…I just love your honesty…I’ve hit the wall big time here too with so many other things going on the ‘garden’ seems a huge pain in the arse at times and so many days I have been overwhelmed at the challenges and I’ve said no more
    lets give up….but I just remember last year and my few days with you, your generosity of information and your can do, will do attitude and it makes me buckle down and plod on…..against all the horrid things that have been throw at us this year, I have put it aside..written it off and am looking to next year with hope. Sending love across the ocean to you and all you hold dear..xx

  25. Liz Krieg on

    CHANGE IS GOOD. Even if it hurts. It always ends up being the best thing, or way. Let’s face it, farming has never been easy…and now with your new found notoriety, you will be tugged at in unimaginable ways. But just remember that lovely you, and the great teacher that you are, brought you to right to where you ARE NOW! It’s ALL good. Heartfelt CONGRATS!

  26. Caitlin | Our Natural Heritage on

    Thank you for this, for your honesty. I am struggling to get started and have been struggling for awhile, but it’s helpful to know I’m not alone :) I love Marie Forleo’s web series, I swear the perfect topics enter my inbox at the perfect time!

  27. Kathy on

    This summer we are remodeling our 1930s farmhouse and it’s a mess. However, each day I try to see what it WILL look like and try to be positive. We take time at the end of the day to thank the construction crew and provide a beverage and snack before they leave. Doing something for others helps me. I also check out beautiful books and magazines and was thrilled to fine your article in Country Living. Thank you for inspiring ME. next year I WILL plant those sweet peas I love so much–and have already ordered a few planning guides!
    Remember how much you do for others. Change IS good (although I have a hard time with it at first). Take a few minutes each day to do something JUST for YOU. I know it’s hard, but even 10 minutes really makes me feel refreshed.
    I live in Rainier, Washington and you are on my bucket list for this year–I want to learn more about flower gardening and arranging and think it will make me happier. Thanks for giving ME something to be positive about.

  28. Mary on

    Lovely article in Country Living! Daily meditation (15 mins. should do it) will go along way in smoothing out, clearing out, and focusing your mind where you prefer it to be. And napping to let the universe sort out your challenges for you! Less stress, more fun should be a mantra for most of us anyway. Good luck.

  29. Jessica on

    So should I just call you to collaborate on blog posts before posting them? We wrote the same theme pretty much! I think that means we are all battling the same struggles and it’s so nice to feel like I have a flower sister in the trenches! You my friend, regardless of how you see it, are a leader and pioneer on this voyage…problem is that’s not an easy role. Just know your creating A model and legacy that will far outlast you…I aspire to do the same. From the east coast sending lots of positive inspirational vibes! Finish your season by kicking floral ass!


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