In the Garden, a Flower grows. Lessons through the Gardner's perspective of the “One that got away.”

Reblogger Pam Hills
Home Stager with Innovative Artistry

Sebastian Barrett St. Troy has written an AMAZING piece for us!  Sebastian has been with us a short while & many of you may not have discovered this wonderful gift we have here on Active Rain. 

Please take a time to visit his garden, & his blog, & read his wonderful "Masterpiece" (as has been many comments after reading).  I know that I have been blessed with his "Association" & am every so thankful to have experienced & felt his story.  Please share your stories & share with Sebastian on his blog.  I wanted to share & re-blog so others may discover the wonderful gifts he brings to us.  I have disabled comments, so please go to his blog to leave your thoughts...I will be following there :)  Hugs & have a great weekend!  Thank you Sebastian for the wonderful gift.

Original content by Sebastian Barrett St.Troy
In the Garden, a Flower grows.
Lessons through the Gardner's perspective of 
the “One that got away.”

 

Gardeners have a saying, "Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."  Some call it Karma, others use different terms, but it is true in gardening and in life; what you sow, you shall also reap. Over the many years, with only hindsight as a reminder, there have been many aspects of my business that have been planted, including the failures, and through them all, the harvest is indeed abundant. Maybe not in a financial sense, but in the knowledge gained from the experiences.
 
"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." saying by Janet Kilburn Phillips

Another gardening metaphor, and it also applies to life. So lets start with the experiment that caused a great harvest. I've owned many companies throughout my life, each building towards and culminating into the one that now is my greatest love. It all started from a place of desire and a dear group of friends coming together to create a business idea that has grown. It hasn't been easy, as I remember the early days when I struggled to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, and also pay for all of the mounting business expenses. As word of my expertise and unique ways of getting homes sold spread, I developed a great following of some of the greatest and well-known REALTORs in Austin. One such client showed great support and the results were always pleasing for her and her clients.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes." saying by Marcel Proust

Through hindsight I can see that the challenges of my Bi-polar disorder combined with health issues related to HIV created confusion and disappointment. First, it's not easy being Bi-polar and effectively operate a business of any kind, but my fledgling business couldn't afford even one client not being fully served, appreciated, and supported. During a seriously 'blue' period (what I call my depressed states) and dealing with a serious life threatening illness, I failed this wonderful client by canceling appointments, showing up and not being quite on key, and then making excuses for why I couldn't help her.
 
Since our relationship was new, she didn't understand just what was happening with me and quickly withdrew her support. An action I wasn't surprised happened, but which also furthered the 'blue' period into even darker tones because it was personally defeating that I couldn't control how I was thinking and feeling enough to effectively work with a client.
"A fair reputation is a plant, delicate in its nature, and by no means rapid in its growth. It will not shoot up in a night like the gourd of the prophet; but, like that gourd, it may perish in a night." saying by Jeremy Taylor

Such was the affect of something I had little control over, but the fault still lay with me and my reputation perished in the night. I failed, but how did I fail? I lied, I didn't communicate, and I didn't provide an in-depth explanation about the cause of it all. It didn't take long for the dissatisfaction from this one client lead to questions from others about my dependability. Yes, the question of my dependability, if you know me, then you would know that such is never in question, even when I'm extremely ill, on crutches, out of town/state, because I've always have gone out of my way to work with my clients, even at times when it was most inconvenient for me. However, all it took was one client to be cast into the compost heap to quickly grow the skepticism of my work.

"All my life, I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower whenever the flower would grow in thought and mind."saying by Abraham Lincoln

Now facing a single client having a challenging situation with me, and me not wanting to disclose the real reason, the thistle grew stronger in my garden, causing pricks with every new movement. Other clients, who were now more friends, knew what I was going through and knew how to help me through it all, but this REALTOR did not know, but only knew the excuses I provided. You won't be surprised that that beautiful flower was carefully dug up and transplanted into another garden to receive the needed TLC to help her grow, as she could no longer grow in my garden. Ultimately, after several attempts to regain her confidence, it became clear that the level of trust was no longer there. We could have nourished our growth, but the minor trust issues had led to a major trust issue, which once broken cannot be mended, just like if you cut a flower from its roots, the flower will wither and die.
"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view." saying by H. Fred Ale

Yes, through the mistakes, that now left me in a hole deep enough to plant a large tree, I could either continue further into the darkest 'blue' period or find a way to learn a new point of view. Learning the new view point required the cultivation of self and an in-depth preparation for how to explain my situation to others. Many new points had to be learned and incorporated into my life and my business.
"The ultimate goal of gardening is not the growing of flowers,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."

And so it had begun, it was time to cultivate and perfect the human being, myself. Thus knowing that I wouldn't always be able to control my Bi-polar and that there would always be a health challenge, I had to learn to be honest about its affects upon my life and also express what my clients could expect during the 'blue' periods and health challenges. Up till this date, I had worked feverishly to hide my illness, which now could no longer be hidden. Many of the dearest and trusted clients knew about it and still worked with me, but now how do I find an explanation of the situation that new clients could understand.

Bi-polar can be controlled by medications, however, most of the creative types that take the medications agree that the medications take away their creativity, their art. This had been my experience, and the reason behind not taking the Bi-polar drugs. HIV can be controlled wonderfully with medications, however, I'm one of the few that the drugs have no affect upon so I rely upon holistic treatments to maintain good health.

"The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it." saying by John Ruskin

From any experience we can grow or become callus. My heart grew, along with the knowledge of what would be required to overcome another such point of failure. Being honest with my clients was the first step, now with a saying, "I will gladly work with you, but please know that there are times when I am overwhelmed and need to take some time off and I may not be reachable during my down times." Further honesty continues if a client delves into deeper questions about the comment, so further honesty was required, not excuses. Thus, I now inform my clients that I have Bi-Polar disorder and that I also have an AIDS diagnoses. Never seeking sympathy, but always wanting to fully disclose the real causes of some issues, I've learned that through such disclosure people are more understanding and when they know the truth of the whole situation they are more likely to continue their support.

"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful." saying by Abram L. Urban

My garden is my clients, as through the continued honesty and shared information of who I am, along with sharing deep insights to assist them in growing as well, my garden is now growing and has become more beautiful than ever before. As in gardening, we have to cultivate our relationships, tend to their regular needs, and weed out what is unwanted or needed. There have been many people I've informed that I wouldn't be a good match for them, as I knew they wouldn't understand the level of my work nor be willing to apply my instructions to prepare their homes for market. But thankfully, on the the other side, there are a great number of people learning and growing, just from their relationship with me.
 
I laugh when I recall a moment when a dear REALTOR client informed me to go very easy on her new home seller, as she wouldn't 'get' me. At the last moment the REALTOR called to say she had been delayed and to go ahead and meet solo with the home seller. During the initial conversations and review of the home things were noticed, so me being me, I said,"May we sit down, we really need to talk." Puzzled, but agreeable, she did. My next comment rather caught her off guard, "My client said I had to be easy with you, but I have to be honest with myself and be true to why I am here. Do you want the divorce to continue or do you want to save your marriage?" Angered, puzzled, hurt and crying, she responded, "How did you know, he only asked me this morning." "The way things are placed throughout your home represent separation, so your home told me," I explained with an understanding and comforting tone, "for you see, where and how things are placed in your home create an energy that causes things to happen. The good news is I can fix it for you, if you want to know how."
 
She amazingly jumped up and said, "Tell me what to do. I love my husband and ever since we moved into this house we have had problems." After talking with her about the various guas in Feng Shui, I showed her why Love & Relationshipswould be challenged in this home and provided her ways to overcome them. She was just finishing up moving things as I suggested when the REALTOR knocked on the door. "Come look at my Love & Relationship areas!" the client told the REALTOR as she grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the back door. My dear REALTOR client looked at me and smiled, saying, "You did it again! You've won another one, even when I told you to go easy, there is no stopping you from being you. Maybe that's why we all love you so." The end of this story is that the home seller and her husband are happily married and the key lesson I learned was to always be honest about who I am, what I represent, and to be upfront with anyone who really needs the advice and instruction I can provide.

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." an old Greek proverb.

The real lesson learned was to be honest with myself and to be honest with others about who I am as a person, not to hide something that is key for others to gain understanding. Yes, I plant trees knowing I will never sit under their shade, but rejoice in knowing that the gifts I share with others through my work and my life shall guide and help them long after I am no more in the physical realm. As one very dear client and friend stated after I had worked with one of her home sellers, "You've worked your magic again, haven't you? You always find a way to connect with people and quickly win them over, even when they may resist everything you represent. You are indeed the pied piper with a magical touch."
 
 
What lessons have you learned about being honest with your clients?
 
How do you express any illnesses that may affect your relationships with them?
 
And are you being true to your nature and representing yourself as you really are or hiding behind a false facade?


 
 
For information on Home Staging and preparing a home for marketAustin Market-Ready Services provides comprehensive services to assist you in selling a home, along with consults, tips, and
guides to make homes go from "For Sale" to Sold.  Services for REALTORs and Homeowners
for any List Price of a home, including Luxury Real Estate,
all from the Creative mind of The Austin 'Feel Good' GuySebastian Barrett St.Troy
 

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Pam Hills

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