When I first spoke to Noam Kostucki, my coach, in November 2015, I told him about my long hours and that I didn’t have time for myself or my family. He suggested I think differently. In order to make sure I had happy customers, I had to make sure I was happy first. In fact, he said the customer was last in the equation – blasphemy! But it absolutely made sense to me. That concept has really helped me rethink my happiness rather than just the bottom line.
Noam's focus is to help us create a masterpiece. I originally felt that my masterpiece was Stone Coop Farm, but I am now thinking my masterpiece is myself. One of our goals with Abundance Cubed is to also focus on our happiness using Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project as a guide. I thought my topics to work on each month would be similar: energy, relationships, physical health, etc. But as I have been trying to define what I need to be happier, these topics don’t feel like I am addressing the major issue. The one that sits in the back of my brain all the time – the sustainability of the farm and my long term role here. I need some clarity from my business partners and a contingency plan if their involvement ends. I don’t want to continue to speculate worst case scenarios. I have placed my destiny with the farm into someone else’s hands, and I need to take it back, own it, define it and live it. I am afraid of these conversations, but I am more concerned about continuing to worry about the uncertainty I have given myself to the farm wholeheartedly with an unresolved outcome. I am tired of being afraid and worried. I need to stop being afraid of the unknown and tackle it head on. I accept the challenge of defining it – I will Rise and Shine.
Goals for Joannée’s Happiness Project
January: Create! Make something every month for the joy of it. January was a fruitful month. I refurbished several shirts and made them into undershirts. I designed and made a new sweatshirt out of two old pairs of sweat pants. I learned how to do stained glass and sculpted a sunflower out of clay.
February: Clarify what I want from the farm – through meditation, listening, journaling, and insight.
March: Clarify what my business partners want from the farm and come to an agreement on the farm’s long term future and my role in it. What is the succession plan?
April: Work on my core – start a non-exercise/exercise program. I really prefer the twofer – accomplish work or just have fun and get exercise. Examples – shovel snow, load produce into the truck, walk in the woods, be a dancing fiend, go kayaking or swimming.
May: Define a BIG adventure!! My husband and I have agreed to choose a big adventure on our anniversary this year. We are focusing on paying off all our debts before May so we can GO EXPLORE! We have some grand plans. In the meantime, we have agreed to have adventures each weekend. These are defined as the both of us leaving the farm for more than 1 hour (and grocery shopping doesn’t count!).
June: Learn how to quiet my mind. I know myself and to accomplish this quieting the mind, I need to start with baby steps. In January I committed to sitting in smiling silence every morning for at least 15 minutes. So far I have accomplished this for the last 4 weeks. It is a lovely way to start the day. In February I will add deep breathing to my smiling silence and do more research on meditation. My plan is that by the end of June, before the insane harvest season starts, I can quiet my mind and relax.
July: Delegate! Get someone else to do the things I don’t enjoy, so I can focus on the things that make me happy. Number one on the list – Hire a maid to clean my bathroom.
August through December – To be determined. My February and March goals will probably help me clarify what others things I need to increase my happiness.
Recommended Viewing: Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
It is surprising how changing your body language can impact how you feel about yourself. I will need to use my Wonder Woman pose when clarifying my role with the farm and before my conversations with my business partners.
Did You Know that in Victorian Times, the language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions? Vanessa Diffenbaugh wrote a lovely novel called The Language of Flowers and there is a dictionary about the meanings of specific flowers in the back of the book.