Episode: 269 |
Rebecca Winn:
One Hundred Daffodils:


Rebecca Winn

One Hundred Daffodils

Show Notes

Rebecca Winn, founder of the boutique residential landscape design firm Whimsical Gardens, has won over 300 horticulture awards and five consecutive Texas Excellence in Landscaping Awards.  Her inspirational Facebook blog has over 600,000 followers.

In today’s episode, we discuss Rebecca’s recently published book One Hundred Daffodils, the story of hear search for meaning, identify, and purpose.




IG  @rebeccawinn.writer

TW @RebeccaOWinn

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Will Bachman 00:01
Welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. And I’m your host, Will Bachman. I’m so excited to be here today with Rebecca Wynn, who is the author of 100, daffodils, finding beauty, Grace and meaning when things fall apart, the book is full of lessons that are so applicable today. Rebecca, thank you so much for joining.

Rebecca Winn 00:30
Thank you. I’m happy to be here. Becca,

Will Bachman 00:33
can we start with just a short reading from the book, there’s a passage in there I am autumn. And I’d love it if you could maybe set that up and then read a passage from that for us.

Yes, that would be happy to do that. Okay, so this piece I am Autumn is taking place when I’m in a place of deep transition. And the identity that I had been living in for the preceding four and a half decades, was beginning to drop away. And as that happened, I felt my true self beginning to sort of rise up. And now, as the breakdowns and breakthroughs are coalescing within me, I feel the self that is emerging is more my true self than I have ever been. In this way. I am autumn. The beautiful fresh greens we think of as the natural color of leads, is actually a mask of sorts. It is a sign that the tree is working hard. green leaves are striving for survival by using the chlorophyll coursing through their veins in the warm spring and summer months. green leaves are processing and converting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into a form that feeds the trees, helping them grow and can sustain them through the winter. But as the day shorten and sunlight becomes increasingly scarce, nature shifts its focus from gathering and processing food to integrating and storing what has been gathered, transferring it from the leaves to the roots. As this happens, the worker bee greens drop away, and the leaves True Colors begin to emerge. The beautiful vivid colors of fall are not created. They’re revealed. Most of the time, we are green leaves, we go about our daily routines striving for survival. We spend our days and often our night coping, coping with work with children with parents, with all the responsibilities that consume our lives, trying to fit in some quality time here and there with our loved ones. And maybe if we’re lucky with ourselves. We are bright, shiny, busy green leaves, doing what we must to ensure our survival until one day a crisis hits. And it’s impossible to continue with business as usual. In those moments, we are stripped of our ability to hide behind our business and are forced to be fully present with this new reality and find within ourselves, the internal fortitude that previously laid on. Our lovely green facade disintegrates in some and all those pressing goals and demands that have consumed our time and attention day in and day out, diminish and sometimes completely disappear. In moments of personal Cataclysm, something wiser, more resilient, more courageous wakes within us, bringing with it the necessary strength to confront our greatest challenges. No matter how harsh in those moments, we become autom authentic, unmasked, raw, real, powerful and beautiful. When crisis strips away our masks and guides us inside to our authentic selves. The beauty it reveals can be staggering.

Will Bachman 04:13
That’s a really that’s a really powerful passage, Rebecca, you know, when crisis stripped away or mass? So and that’s so much the case today for a lot of people. What are some? What are some kind of lessons that you’d share having gone through the experience and, and just for folks who haven’t yet read the book, you your husband, your husband asked you for divorce after 25 years of marriage, and then you went through, you know, real kind of transition in life dealing with that, and that kind of led to the book. What what are some lessons that you have that we might apply in our lives today about being fully present?

Yeah, so the book is really the story of my images. So psychological and spiritual journey over this time of personal upheaval and redefining themselves. And so I, there are a lot of things that are really applicable. And it’s interesting because the catalyst for my story within the book is attached to relationships for the most part. But the reality is that, that upheaval is an experience that we can have in many different contexts. It can be in relationship, it can be in business, there there are, they can be in health, it can be financially, you know, there’s so many ways in which we can experience crisis. And so resilience is what we need to build. And that was, that is at the core, I think of this, this book, so the details are mine. But the experience is sort of universal. So now, I’m gonna have to ask you to ask your specific question again, because I kind of got off on a tangent there. But

Will Bachman 06:21
so you, you know, so what are some lessons that you’ve learned about you in the midst of a crisis, about being fully present in the present moment?

Okay, perfect. So, so in the spiritual aspect of my path, I studied global spiritual practices. And one of the things that really resonated with me was the, the lessons from Buddhism about being in this moment, and, and the lessons about attachment. So Buddhism, says that all suffering comes from attachment. And it’s a really interesting in sort of deep analysis of what we’re attached to, and why we’re attached to it. And we can certainly recognize that we’re attached to something when we feel anxiety or fear, when it’s taken away. And in being present, in the moment, my experience with really noticing that actually had to do with when my, my mother died suddenly. So I think that we tend to think, well, I’m here, I’m here, now I’m present. It’s not, it’s all good. I’m listening to your whatever. But the reality is that in a situation like this, any sort of crisis situation, if there’s any sort of fear that’s happening, fear can send us into the future, what’s going to happen, you know, what if, what if, what if, or it can hold us in the past, you know, Oh, my gosh, things were going so well, and now what, but trauma has a way of sort of catapulting us into this moment now. So I remember when my mother died, and someone came to visit me. And, and I sat in the living room and talked to this person. And then she left and I walked into the door, and I closed the door. And as I close the door, my husband came in the hallway, and he said, Who was that? And I said, I don’t know. Because that moment was over. And this moment was happening now. And I was so fully in the present, that that past and the future just didn’t even exist, it was a really fascinating experience. But what I found is that when you are in this moment, when you can attach to exactly what is happening right now, then you’re able to look for, for opportunity for perspective. And it really can be very, very, very helpful. So so the first thing I would say, is to try to hold yourself in this moment, what is happening right now, is this a crisis in this moment? Or does a crisis that you’re experiencing? Is it is it a projection of what’s going to happen? or What have I lost what’s happening right now? And then what can you do about that?

Will Bachman 09:53
Yeah, you talked about gratitude in the book, and how that’s such a powerful practice. Talk to me a little bit about your Gratitude practice now and maybe how that’s manifesting itself during this pandemic.

Yeah, it’s actually been really interesting because I think gratitude is a wonderful practice at all times. And sometimes when I’m not feeling gratitude, like, for example, when my book came in, like, literally one minute, after my city shut down at midnight, the night before I am God, there’s a whole lot to feel grateful for about that. But when I’m really, really, really in a place of not being able to feel any kind of gratitude, I just walk around my house and just look for any single item that I really appreciate. And then I start there. It has shifted a little bit with this pandemic. So I had this idea early on, that I was going to look for things for which I was grateful that were happening specifically because of the pandemic. So I know that may sound like a little bit of a strange twist. But you might be surprised what you will find if you think about how your life has changed. And where the positives are, because of the pandemic. So for me, for example, I really have very sensitive senses, all my senses are sensitive. And quiet is something that I really value, I find it, it really helps me get centered, and, and, and calms anxiety. But I live not terribly far from a major highway that I used to not be able to hear at all from my house, but they expanded the highway, they cut down 100 trees, just in the mile between the two major streets that are perpendicular to it right in front of my house. And those trees provided a lot of sound buffer. So now, it’s kind of noisy around my house, and that is a bummer for me. But with the pandemic, there’s so much less traffic, that when I’m working on things, trying to get the word out about my book trying to do to reclaim some of the opportunities that were lost, because my book tour was canceled. And my anxiety gets high, I can go out into my garden now. And there’s a stillness there. That wasn’t there before. So I feel grateful for that. My house also backs up to a tennis club that has a very inconsiderate landscape, maintenance crew. And they can be out there all the time with their blowers. And while they’re closed right now, so I don’t have to, you know, deal with that either. So there are things that that are happening, and they can be little. But But I, I find that if you can find a gateway to an energetic shift, that, that you can then expand that and apply it to whatever areas of your life feel extraordinarily under pressure right now.

Will Bachman 13:29
So when you went through this experience, in some ways you became untethered to sources of identity, that that were important to you. And that’s now happening to you know, a lot of folks in that they may be losing their job, or maybe they’re a sports fan, and that source of identity of going to the game is gone, or of going out to bars or restaurants or theater. What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned about how to kind of be open to self reinvention and dealing with that, that being untethered to to an important source of identity?

Thank you for asking that. That’s a great question. So I feel like part of a strong sense of self comes from knowing what our identity is outside of the things that society defines us by. So it can be easy for us to define ourselves by our job or define ourselves by our relationship. You know, I am so and so’s wife, I am so and so’s mother. I own this business. I have won these awards, you know, that kind of thing. And those things are all very tenuous, they may not feel like they are, we don’t want them to be. But the reality is that anything that is external from us can be lost. So one of the things that I have found really valuable is being willing and open to being other than how we have been defining ourselves and how other people define us. And one way that I think, is valuable to to achieve that is through what I think of as sort of strategic risk taking, and releasing. So again, you know, circling back to that attachment piece, we can be very attached to how we’re defined, especially if we’re defined Well, you know, if people think about us as high achievers or, you know, exceptional in some way that attachment to image can, can be very unmooring. If then all of a sudden, it’s lost. So, so my, in my particular situation, I, when my book sold, I took a strategic risk. And it was a huge one, which was that I made the decision to temporarily release my primary source of income, which was my landscaping business. And my landscaping business is a high end, boutique, residential landscape design company, I basically only work in residential design installations, over $100,000. So to reach that level of business, in a business that had almost no winner, when I started in, it was not nothing, you know, and, at this point to my professional association, unless, unless something changed that I don’t know about, I’ve won more awards than any other woman, any other woman and company, and any other company my size, because my company is very small. So I’ve really, really made a reputation in that business. And I decided that I could not continue to run that business in the way that my reputation demanded, and write this book, in the way that a big five significant release demanded, I couldn’t do both of those things. And so I made this strategic risk taking decision to set aside the landscaping business for two years, which is scary. And, you know, my advance on the book was really nice. But as it turned out, that you know, they gave you a third when you signed the contract a third when you submit the final draft, and they accept it, and a third when the book is released. And in my case, those three things sell in three different calendar years. So even a really nice number gets a lot smaller when you take off the agent condition and divide it by three. So I knew and I knew all of that was happening because I have a calendar. And so I, I took this, this risk. And so I feel like right now,

change is being forced on a lot of people. If you can find that place of grounded, self knowing, I have been successful in what I’ve been doing that has been my identity. But that is not my identity. That’s only what I think of is my identity, the person that became successful in that industry can be successful in other ways, if that’s necessary. And so that strategic risk, what what can you do, where is the opportunity in this moment of upheaval? And I certainly understand that it’s scary, very scary. That’s why they call it risk. And, and believe me right now, having taken that step and putting basically all my eggs In the book basket, and then having a global pandemic, hip, right of my book was coming out. That’s scary, too. And I feel really centered and grounded around my decision. And I. And that is only because I spent the time that I spent and the commitment to knowing who I was outside of the ways in which the outside world defines me.

Will Bachman 20:35
Yeah. Tell us a little bit about some of the factors in that strategic risk, strategic decision that you made. Some of the downsides are sort of obvious. You know, what if the book doesn’t do great, now, you’ve and what if it’s difficult to read, you know, to reignite the business, the landscaping business? What were some of the, you can have the benefits that you saw? Like, what where you might be transitioning into? Is it transitioning to a career more as a, as a full time author or somehow using that to raise the visibility of your landscaping firm? Or sort of what’s the what was the the factors in your strategy?

Well, I, I actually did, as a part of that decision. I sort of in my heart, release my landscaping company, permanently. Now, I did not release it permanently, I did not send an email out to all my clients saying, you know, audios, and I’m giving my business to my foreman. I didn’t take that step. But in my heart, I knew that I wanted to shift my energy as an artist, because I do consider myself an artist first. That’s actually what my degree is in. I have a tendency to get curious about things I dive in headfirst, I figure them out while I’m in there, I master them, and then I feel complete with them. And I’ve been doing landscaping now for 22 years. Because I had to come back to it when, when the divorce ended up happening, I was kind of complete with it before that. But I came back to it because I already had a reputation and contacts and all that kind of stuff. So when I made that decision, it was a big financial risk, it was less of an emotional risk, it was definitely a professional risk. But I wanted and, and continue to want to move in the direction of more writing, and more speaking around writer writing. So that was where I felt like I was headed. And because I had the level of reputation and respect that I had in my company, I knew that it would probably take five phone calls for me to call my, you know, biggest, most vocal clients and say, you know, I really need for you to start thinking about send me referrals again, and I can, I can reignite that pretty fast, I felt pretty confident about that. So that’s the strategic part of risk taking, you know, you really have to only take the steps that have a really good probably overstating that. But consider that within the parameters of taking a big risk, it is safer to have a safety net, to have a plan B. Now, I never really commit to a plan B and I don’t even really define it very strongly, because I don’t want my energy supported by a plan B, I always want as much energy as possible on my plan A and that that sense of not having much of a safety net gives me a lot of power behind the energy that I’m putting on planning. And, you know, it’s nice to have a little bit of a fallback position.

Will Bachman 24:22
Yeah, I got to ask for a landscaping job that’s 100,000 and up for residential. Like, tell me a little bit about like, you know, what’s the size of house and property of that and what’s involved in in that, you know, sort of a business development client development proposal process for a job that big that that’s, that’s a pretty big, you know, it’s pretty big number for the consultants listening to the show saying, Wow, that’s a that’s a pretty significant proposal. Tell me a little bit about that. That business

Yeah. And so it’s interesting because people really do, generally speaking, have no idea how much good landscaping really costs, because, you know, they could have built a $4 million brand new house and their builder included landscaping in the contract. And they put in, you know, $10,000 for landscaping, but what I know is they’ve done nothing to the soil, they probably dumped their paint cans and wash their paint brushes out, and then just till about up and stuck in sand and dinos. So so the first thing that is true about a really expensive landscape, which, which, you know, I absolutely acknowledge mine a really extensive, and I’m even expensive within the parameters of extensive landscaping. It’s because, as my foreman likes to say, nobody does it like we do it. And that is so true, because I actually started as a gardener, you’d be amazed how many people in this industry don’t garden, it’s a job for them. It’s a it’s a business, and they don’t have the personal nuanced experience. So they could be, you know, selling cars or whatever. They may love being outdoors have that sort of agriculture kind of energy, but they don’t understand how valuable it is to be able to stop by the nursery and pick up a little four inch plant and be able to walk over to your flower bed and just kind of dig a little hole with your finger because the ground is so beautiful and loose and friable and the soil is such high quality and stick that plant in there and it thrives. So I What is unique about the way that I do it, it’s not that the houses are so huge, although some of them are. Like I did a ranch in Fort Worth, that we probably worked on three acres, it was many hundreds of acres, that we landscaped a couple of acres, and that was a $450,000 job. But it’s the preparation. And when I very first started, it was a little bit of a hard sell, to tell people that the money that they put into how we prepare the spaces and how we prepare the beds, and the quality of the soil and how we do the irrigation. how important that is. But now people know more about that. I wrote a lot about it when I was writing for magazines about landscaping back in the 90s. And people are just more educated about that kind of thing. Now, the internet’s been a wonderful tool in that way. But But I will tell you that I have come in behind most of the biggest names in landscape architecture, and North Texas. And I know exactly how they save money. I know exactly how they do it. They don’t prepare the soil in the right way they don’t they have all these ways that they they cut corners to maximize their profits. And I don’t do that. So that’s thing one thing too is that I do one job at a time and I project manage all of my own jobs. So I am onside. And and I am dealing with even the most minute aspects. So for example, there was a big job in Frisco, which is north of Dallas, and a $250,000 job, I think, and then they put another $150,000 in their lighting. But I’ve said all along that the thing that I’m the most proud of on that job, nobody will ever notice. Because there was a lot of topographical change on the lot. And some of it was very sharp and so they had a drainage problem.

So I would wash away and grass never grow. So I had a five man crew. We were mixing soil on site. So I was bringing in compost. I was bringing in native dirt. I was bringing in sandy loam and we were mixing it like a big kitchen on site. And I stood there for three days with a five man crew and looked at the topography and said okay, raise it over here, three inches, drop it over there, six inches, raise it over here, six benches and sculpted that land. So that it just looks like the rolling hills of Ireland. And then we made thought over it, and it’s beautiful, but nobody would ever in a million years, think about wasn’t having land just lay. But it took us three days and five guys. And so that kind of detail work. The reputation carries itself. I’ve never advertised not one single time in one single way. All of my businesses word of mouth because there is a level of clientele that wants that kind of attention. And on your girl,

Will Bachman 30:48
yeah, that’s an amazing, amazing lesson. Rebecca, it’s been so awesome having you on the show. Your book 100 daffodils finding beauty, Grace and meaning when things fall apart, came out in March and available now we’ll include links in the show notes to buy it on the different stores. Rebecca, where is the best place for people to go online? To find out more about you? Do you want to give out a personal website or a Twitter handle? or or or anything like that?

Sure. Yeah. So I have a website now for the blog, which is Rebecca wind calm or at ECC a wi n. I had a landscaping website to which you don’t need to go to but but it’s whimsical gardens. I also have I have over 600,000 followers on Facebook on my wind school gardens page. So if you’re interested in the beauty of nature and my world view you can go to facebook.com slash when school gardens and that’s just an inspirational kind of page and on Instagram, Rebecca wind dot writer are I mean to be you are it er writer like that rider, like on a horse is my Instagram and that’s mostly about the book. So I think that’s

Will Bachman 32:16
alright, we’ll include all those links in the show notes. So whether you want to follow up with Rebecca on the web, or check out her business or on Facebook or Instagram, we will include all those links. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for sharing, you know your thoughts around how to how to remain grounded when the world is changing all around. You. really loved hearing, hearing your story. Thanks so much for joining.

Thank you for having me. It’s been great

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