How to Thrive in September: A Letter to Staff and Board and Community

boardToday is September 1st and this is our busiest month of the year at Abundance NC. One would say it’s a sprint, not a marathon.

We have exactly 8 days until our Money and Meaning Conference which includes a cocktail panel discussion with Judy Wicks and Frank Stasio at Fearrington Barn. Then Friday, an all day conference at Central Carolina Community College with 33 amazing diverse speakers, then a Pecha Kucha at the Pittsboro Roadhouse with another 6 Presenters. The next day is a Local Economy Bus Tour to Saxapahaw and ends with a Slow Money Market and dinner, live music and the famous Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money. Now, that is not all that’s going on…we also have exactly 26 days until our Kick Off Pepper Pairing Farm to Fork Dinner and 27 days until the 8th Annual Amazing Pepper Festival held at Briar Chapel. This is the time of year that I typically shoot up in bed in the middle of the night and yell at Lyle that we have to cancel everything…there is no way all this is going to work out.

This year is different. Very different.

Yesterday was our Staff meeting. Our meetings are fun, full of laughter, good ideas and then we get to work implementing stuff. We crank the tunes and get to work. Yesterday you could feel the intensity. Five people working quietly and quickly with very serious faces. Little wrinkles on their foreheads. Charlotte kept telling us there were too many heavy sighs in the room. There was no music. We had to break up the day with a bunch of ice cream. And we got a lot done. Someone asked me recently when I was going to slow down, take on a little less. I’m not sure the answer to that question. I feel like with this Staff, this Board and all of the Volunteers we have involved in Abundance, we can take this organization to the next level. If we all do what we are good at, this should be enjoyable, even euphoric – taking this community, this region of NC, and ourselves to a higher level. Whatever that means. Deeper meaning, more fulfilling lives, and better for us all. We are not depleting, we are expansive and strengthening. That is my hope.

So, how do we make sure we don’t drop balls, forget things, upset people when we will be having interactions with over 2,000 people this month?

Over communicate. Slow down and give enough time for double checking. Get a second set of eyes on everything that goes out. Have a can-do attitude. Enjoy the moment. I want to enjoy this month, not count the days until October 1st!

Trust. Know that this community supports us and the work we do. A Board member texted me “I got your back.” It feels good to know that Staff and Board are all rowing in the same direction. Yes, sometimes the boat goes in circles, but we are straightening it out in time to go forward.

Bob and Carol and Lyle and I have been meeting for months on Money and Meaning. Alisa has been putting in tons of hours on website, posters and creativity. We have disagreed, we have argued, and the conference will be that much stronger because of the thoughtfulness going into the design. Because of Carol Hewitt, we have the strongest Slow Money chapter in the United States. She is a force to be reckoned with. I love learning from her. Bob and Lyle are the “get it done” team. Bob asks the hard questions, like “is it in the budget?” Lyle thinks big and bigger. He tirelessly raises money to pay for it all. Then Camille whips up the Volunteer lists. All details getting attended to.

Pepper Festival is a whole other beast.

Vincent has been working hard to get more vendors. So hard that he more than doubled the list! I panicked thinking we would run out of room at Briar Chapel’s Great Meadow Park, but we have an expert team there that is very good at logistics. Lee Bowman has event experience in his past.   Jami Pearson is great at events and promotion. The entire community of Briar Chapel jumps in to volunteer and sell tickets and make it a success. It brings in Chefs, Brewers, Distillers and Attendees from all over the state. Back in the office, Hannah is busy on so many details, Charlotte is trying her best to keep bills paid, put things in the right categories, and teach us her wisdom. Our Board is selling tickets, being speakers, helping in whatever way they can.

From now til Sep 27th, we’ll be buying thousands of pounds of peppers and distributing to the chefs and drink vendors. We’ll be plastering the Triangle and beyond with posters. We’ll be promoting our brains out. Then like magic, it will all get set up, an amazing day will be had by all and we’ll fall into bed tired and happy.

We are going as fast as we can and we hope this year to delight as many people as possible. It’s going to be the best month ever.

Pepper Festival awards 2014