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Goal-Setting as a Business Owner with Kara from the Barn of Chapel Hill

One of our favorite things about our PowerSheets Goal Planners is how versatile they are! Whether you're a stay-at-home momma, a student, or an entrepreneur, the PowerSheets are for anyone who needs a grace-filled system that works.

That's why we're thrilled to introduce you to someone who has become a dear friend of the Cultivate team this year! Kara Brewer, Owner of the Barn at Chapel Hill, has welcomed us into her space with open arms and warm hospitality. When filling out our team's 2018 PowerSheets, we realized two of our favorite memories took place at the Barn: Lara's Cultivate Book Launch Party and the PowerSheets Photo Shoot! One of the reasons those two events shot to the top of our list was because of the beautiful and welcoming space Kara and her team have created.

I'm thrilled to have her share a bit more about how she got to where she is now, what her day-to-day looks like, and some of her goals for 2018! -Jess

Did you always want to own an event venue/farm?

Starting a small family farm has been a dream of mine for quite some time–my husband and I wanted to start a business that our kids (ages 8 and 10) could really be involved in. We wanted to get them away from computers, TVs, games, and have them spend most of their time outside, getting dirty, working hard, and learning about agriculture and basic business principals such as how to package, market and sell our products (we specialize in flowers, chestnuts, and honey). They do a little bit of everything: planting seeds and bulbs, weeding and harvesting, creating market bouquets, mowing the grass, roasting chestnuts and checking on our bees. It’s always all hands on deck, all the time!

What types of events do you host at the barn?

We host on-farm weddings, floral workshops, and children's educational programs, and I absolutely love interacting with all of our visitors. Nothing makes me happier than helping a child dig in the dirt to learn about the importance of healthy soil, or watching the joy of a bride on her wedding day, carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers that we grew specifically for her.

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Tell us about your team:

My team is incredible, and I don't know what I would do without them! Jenn is our Creative Director and Florist, and her floral designs are simply stunning. She's been a floral designer for over 10 years, and she's just so incredibly talented. Gretchen is our Director of Agritourism and Educational Activities. She's a former elementary school teacher, and she's creating outstanding farm programs for kids from preschool through fourth grade–fun, innovative farm-based activities that you won't find anywhere else. Kelli is our Director of Operations (and my sister!), and she truly does it all. From spearheading our preschool story times with Gretchen, to taking care of our pumpkin patch, to helping me package our honey with her beautiful hand-lettered labels, Kelli keeps everything running smoothly. These three women inspire me daily with their talent and creativity, and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to work with them each day.

But I honestly couldn't do any of this without my husband, Chris. He operates all the heavy machinery, digs the trenches, hammers in the T-posts, spreads the compost, builds the deer fencing (and much, much more). Without a doubt, he's the glue the holds our little farm (and family!) together!

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Photo of Jenn, Gretchen, Kelli, and Kara by Danell Beede Photography

What was the most challenging lesson you learned as you started? How do you deal with setbacks?

When I first started out, I quickly learned that everything takes time and that it's ok to start small and grow things little by little. You don't have to farm 50 acres of crops to be successful–bigger is not always better. Don't let yourself become overwhelmed. Just get out there and do your best. I started our apiary with two hives in the spring of 2016, and I planted my first few flower beds soon after. It wasn't much, but it got me started. There's always going to be setbacks, but you just have to keep moving forward. Believe in yourself!

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

My proudest moment was when I started selling that first crop of flowers in 2016. The well hadn't been drilled yet, so for months, Chris and I would fill up a water tank and bring it over to the farm on the back of his truck, and we would water everything by hand. I was determined that those flowers would thrive, and I was so proud when they actually did!

How do you start organized? 

I know this is completely old-school, but in order to stay organized, I write things down in planners and notebooks. I'm always making notes and drawing diagrams, which helps keep me focused and on-track (which is why I love PowerSheets!).

I'm a very visual person, so back in 2015, I had an artist sketch out my vision for the barn, and about a year later I had someone else do a rendering of the farm layout. The illustrations beautifully captured what I was trying to achieve, and I put them on a bulletin board in my house as a daily reminder of my dreams and goals. Fast forward to this year, 2017. As I was going through actual photos of weddings that had taken place in our barn, I realized that my visions, those sketches, had become a reality!

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Photo by Kasey Poly Photography

What are big goals you have for 2018?

This is the time of the year when I start planning what we are going to grow for next season, and we have big plans for 2018! We just planted a large field of peonies, and we're getting ready to plant our tulips, ranunculus and anemones. I would really like to expand our u-pick offerings to include a larger selection of flowers, as well as blueberries and pumpkins. I'd also like to put up a high tunnel in 2018 so we can extend our growing season. And we are planning on having monthly flower workshops starting in April of next year.

What does a typical day look like for you as a business owner?

Each of my days are completely different, which is why I love what I do! Today we're digging up our dahlia tubers and storing them in crates, and in the spring we'll divide them and replant. In a few days, we'll clean up the barn, set up tables and chairs, and create flower arrangements for a holiday event. Being able to spread joy and happiness through our flowers and our on-farm events is the best part of my day!

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If you could go back and tell yourself starting out anything, what would it be?

I didn't realize that by stepping outside the box of what is seen as traditional farming---I grow flowers instead of vegetables, my farm is small and new, I don't come from a farming background, I open the farm up to visitors and special events, and I'm a woman in what is primarily viewed as a man's profession--that I would I face a barrage of hurtful criticism and backlash. My farm has been vandalized, I've been trolled on social media, and a county official told me that as a mom, I wouldn't have time to farm because I would be too busy taking my kids to and from soccer practice.

If I could, I would go back and warn myself to be better prepared for this, and to just keep moving forward, that it will all work out in the end. And, that yes, I can successfully run a farm, and still be able to take my kids to soccer practice! :)

Are you a business owner looking to set goals for your company? Join our Business Owners Cultivating What Matters Facebook group, and download our PowerSheets Business Owners Guide to use alongside your PowerSheets Goal Planner.

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Top 10 Tips for Uncovering Your Goals

Christmas is less than two weeks away, and we know you're working hard to wrap up that Christmas shopping (or get started😉), create traditions, and spend time with those you love. For every one thing you check off your to-do list, you add two new things at the bottom. It's a good season, but boy oh boy is it a FULL season.

While this season and your to-dos are important, we also know it's important to look ahead at the new year, too. That's why we've loved PowerSheets Prep Week last week! Evaluating what has and hasn't worked over the past year and uncovering goals takes time, but it can have a ripple effect on your family. That's why we have a special treat for you! Lara will be sharing her top 10 tips for uncovering your goals. The best part? She's doing it in less than 30 minutes! In the midst of the buzz of the holiday season, we want to be intentional with YOUR time.

Join Lara Casey for a free 30-minute class on Wednesday, December 20th at 2pm ET for Lara's Top 10 Tips for Uncovering Your 2018 Goals.

To kick off her Seventh Annual Goal-Setting Series on her blog, Lara will be spending 30 minutes with you to share her top 10 tips for uncovering your goals for the new year. Get your notebooks and pens ready, because it's sure to be an afternoon packed full of nuggets of wisdom (trust me, I read through her notes, and it's GOOD).

If you want to have PowerSheets in hand before January 1st, next Wednesday, December 20th is the last day to order PowerSheets for New Year's delivery. Don't delay! Grab your intentional goal planner, and let's make 2018 the best year yet!

If you are not able to join us live at 2pm ET, there's no need to fret! A replay will be available for all those that have registered, so be sure to sign up to receive access to the broadcast afterward! Please note: Crowdcast works best on the Google Chrome browser, and we recommend downloading it ahead of the webinar. If you experience technical difficulties, please reach out directly to Crowdcast support.

Leave us a comment to let us know you're coming! We can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for our Cultivate family!

Make sure you're signed up for our newsletter list so you don't miss Lara's Annual Goal-Setting Series. We'll send you an email each day there's a new post, and we can't wait to learn from Lara!

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Three Reasons MTH Conference Changed the Course of my Life

If we haven't had the chance to get acquainted yet, I'm Catherine! I'm a grateful editor here at Cultivate What Matters, and I'm your cheerleader and guide for all things Making Things Happen!

Long before I ever dreamed I could work on this team, I took the leap and registered for Making Things Happen in 2016. I didn't know anyone else who would be there, and I didn't know what to expect, but I knew this: I wanted a more intentional, more joyful, more purposeful life. What I got was that, plus an entirely new perspective on my days, practical strategies for prioritizing, and a whole lot of peace and grace.

You've likely heard us talk about Making Things Happen, but maybe you aren't quite sure what it is or if it's for you? Well, I'm here to answer all your questions and share the three biggest reasons MTH changed the course of my life!

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See that redhead? She spent two days doing a lot of hard work that continues to have a ripple effect on my life and the lives of those whom I love.

1.  The most important investment you can make in living your best life is TIME. 

If you're wondering how you're ever going to make the life you've always imagined possible when all you can do right now is rush from one to-do to the next with your hair on fire, please, please join me at MTH. The single most powerful step I took was to block off the conference dates on my calendar and say to myself, my family, and my employer: these 2-3 days are mine. At MTH we shut out the emails, the text messages, the laundry, the messes, and all the noise (we will even take your phone from you!), and we devote two full, blissfully uninterrupted days to reflecting, dreaming, and strategizing. Sometimes the most important thing you can do when you feel like you don't have a single minute to spare is to hit pause, take a time out, and devote the time to figuring out how you're going to create real change.

2. Beautiful things grow out of getting messy and doing the hard work first.

Around here, we know that good things grow through the dirt, but how often do you really get outside of your comfort zone? We have so many wonderful resources here at Cultivate What Matters, but there is power in getting out from behind your computer and getting your hands dirty. (It is, after all, why we created the PowerSheets!) Lara is going to ask you some challenging questions at MTH. She's going to ask you to be honest with yourself and use your voice to banish your fears. It's kind of like having a personal trainer pushing you to live a more purposeful life (which makes sense, since Lara was once a personal trainer!). I want you to get in the room with us where there's nowhere to hide and believe that you can do hard things. If you're exhausted at the end of your first day at MTH, that's how you know you've put in the work to plant some good seeds.

3. Sharing stories and encouragement changes things. 

But MTH isn't all hard work. The challenging moments outside of your comfort zone are balanced with a whole lot of community. There is power when like-minded women sit in a beautiful room with a cup of coffee and share their hearts, their struggles, and their triumphs. MTH is your opportunity to connect with these women in person, let their stories inspire you, and make life-long friends to share in the journey of cultivating what matters with you. I was so amazed at how most of the women at MTH really wanted the same things as I do at the end of the day: deep relationships, a vibrant faith, a healthy lifestyle, and a rich legacy to name a few. I can't tell you how many practical and inspiring ideas I got from these women. Plus, MTH is not just about the two-day experience. We encourage you to exchange information and hold each other accountable, start PowerSheets groups in your city, and grow together long after you leave Chapel Hill!

It's time! Take the leap, and join us in Chapel Hill, NC this March! We can't wait to help you uncover your goals and start making them happen!

Our Early-Bird Rate (more than 50% off ticket price) ends on December 31st, and seats are filling up quickly! You can register here! I'm an email away and I'm ready to talk your ears off about why MTH is a good investment for you. Email me any questions you have or for more information on payment plans!

We know many of you shared your 2018 Vision Board in our Pinterest Contest and are crossing your fingers tight that you are the winner! Don't let that keep you from taking advantage of the Early-Bird Rate before it expires on December 31st. If the winner chosen is already registered, we'll make sure to issue a full refund!

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Let Your Good Goals Grow

What a week it's been kicking off our PowerSheets Prep Work alongside each of you! Together, we've started working on the first 33 pages of our PowerSheets, and we've uncovered so many good things for the year ahead. Want to peek at all we've done this week, here you go!

Still working on your Prep Work? That's great! Take the time you need to focus on these pages; you won't hear us rushing you!

There is a lot of pressure in today's world. Whether it's pressure put on us by others or pressure we put on ourselves, it can oftentimes feel overwhelming to get started on anything new. A fear of failure or underachievement oftentimes stops us dead in our tracks and paralyzes us from taking any action on the things that matter to us.

That's not what this is about. Around here, we believe in grace-filled goal-setting. We believe in community and encouragement. We believe that little by little progress pays off, and good things grow in our lives over time. While others go at their goals alone, we share our goals and progress, cheering each other on and offering a lot of high fives along the way!

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PowerSheets Prep Week is only the beginning! We are going to let our goals marinate for a few days, but we're sure to share them with you in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, our team is ready to encourage and equip you to make your unique goals happen in 2018. We're ready to help you prioritize, sift through the junk, and stop saying yes to all the things so you can say yes to the right things.

But what now? Here are a few things to keep your eyes on in the coming weeks:

Lara's Annual Goal-Setting Series kicks off on December 20th on her blog. This is one of our favorite times of the year because Lara walks you through her personal PowerSheets Prep in a six-part series and shares her 2018 goals with you!

Follow us on social media and say hi! Share what you're learning as you dig into your PowerSheets and use the #PowerSheets hashtag!

Stay tuned to the Cultivate blog! We have lots of great content lined up for the coming months, and we love the chance to chat with you here!

Make your 2018 vision board, and enter our Pinterest contest. We're giving away a seat to our 2018 MTH Conference to one lucky winner. All the details here! Deadline is December 31st, so get to pinning!


The Cultivate Team shares day five of our PowerSheets Prep Work

Your turn! Leave a comment and share your favorite ah-ha moment from your PowerSheets Prep! I'll choose one lucky commenter on Monday to win a $25 gift card to the Cultivate Shop!

Don't forget to share your PowerSheets Prep Work with our team on Instagram! Remember, you must use the #PowerSheets hashtag and your profile must be public to be entered to win. One lucky winner will win a FREE 30-minute personal coaching call with Lara. Lara doesn't offer individual coaching sessions (she hosts the MTH Conference every year instead), so this is an extra special giveaway. We'll choose one winner on Monday, December 11th. There are no limits to number of entries, so share as often as you'd like! 

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Cultivate Your Best Year Pinterest Contest

A big thank you to everyone who entered our team loved looking through your boards! Congratulations to Michelle Franzetti!

If you're anything like us, your Pinterest boards are full of some of your hopes and dreams: meals you'd like to cook, rooms you'd like to decorate, parties you're hoping to throw, and more. But what if you could create a home for all your hopes, dreams, and goals for 2018? A place where you could add inspiring photos that fire you up!

Our big picture page in our PowerSheets gives you the chance to make a vision board for your year ahead. You can cut out magazine clippings, collage, draw, paint, use stickers, or whatever you'd like to fill the page with images that most inspire you to cultivate your best year yet.

We know this is a page that's easy to skip over, so we're going to incentivize you a little bit!

The prize? A seat to our 2018 Making Things Happen Conference on March 19-20th in Chapel Hill, NC. Note: the winner is responsible for travel and accommodations.

Ready to start dreaming up your best year yet and join us at the MTH Conference? Great! Here's how to get started:

  1. Follow @LaraCasey on Pinterest for your ultimate goal-setting inspiration.
  2. Create your own Pinterest board, titled "Cultivate My Best Year"
  3. Visit the Cultivate Your Best Year board to pin at least 10 pins you would include on your inspiration board, including one of the four inspiration board examples. Please note: five of the pins must be Cultivate Shop products.
  4. Confirm your entry by leaving a comment on this blog post with a link to your Pinterest board. Note: make sure your board is public!

Click here for official rules and regulations.

Get creative! We'll announce the lucky winner on January 2nd, so get to pinning! We can't wait to see what you dream up for 2018!

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