Harvest is one of my favourite aspects of Autumn.
It provides a perfect example of tasks to be carried out to prepare ahead for the coming months.
What does harvest mean to you?
I have fond memories of our old church in Dorset at harvest time where lots of the local community came together donating fresh produce they’d grown, bought, baked or preserved. We’d be busy setting up the display of the beautiful array of gifts on the Saturday – but the most poignant moment for me was walking through those large, solid old oak doors on the Sunday morning and being greeted by the wonderful scents and colours of all the fruit, vegetables (huge cloud like cauliflowers and gigantic marrows), flowers, golden sheafs of corn, jewel like preserves and the tantalising cakes – a real celebration of thanks for all the amazing provisions that year.
What does ‘harvest’ look like for your brand? Consider the ‘fruits’ and ‘seeds’ of your hard work over the year:
- new connections/collaborations?
- the projects you were really excited about?
- what brand assets have you developed and added?
- your learnings from your different experiences?
- what have you been able to give back?
A core aspect for a fulfilling harvest is when your purpose runs through the very seeds and heart of each of these ‘fruits’.
The integral role of your purpose
Defining your purpose provides; focus and clarity, your compass for all decision making. It enables you to transform your values into actions, and your vision for a better world more tangible. The impact doesn’t end with your brand and day to day work, but ripples out into your collaborations and partnerships – those who help you bring the magic about, for example your suppliers and team members.
Autumn is a great time to take stock and check to see how your values and vision align within your value chain. Do you each share the same purpose? Does the collaboration help you both further your purposes. Wonderful things happen when you’re working with people who truly understand and believe in what you stand for.
Taking time to celebrate the journey
2023 marks 10 years in business for me! 1 of which, as a limited company. The time feels like it has flown by so quickly, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the belief and moral support from Tim my hubby, and of course my inspirational clients – I always look forward to the upcoming design challenge and supporting them in the next chapter of their brand adventure.
Other important impacts during my journey so far:
- have been to surround myself with good people
- and setting aside time to invest in myself both personally and professionally.
Starting a business is as much of a personal journey as a professional one. I’m continually developing knowledge within my specialist area and exploring ways that firmly anchor that within my purpose.
Fittingly, this was exactly how I celebrated my 10yr milestone;
- A weekend away in the beautiful Welsh town of Ruthin to recharge and relax.
- Enrolling on the epic course with University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership (CISL): Sustainable Marketing, Media and Creatives. It was a really intense course but so worth it! I came away with a deep awareness of the climate and nature issues at hand, new ideas, perspectives and connections. I’m currently in the process of embedding the knowledge and strategies to further inform my working practices to inspire and kindle agents of change for nature and wellbeing. The two are intrinsically linked and must co-exist in harmony in order to thrive in our work and lives. We can achieve this and turn things round by developing purpose-orientated brands.
Purposeful reserves to ride the ebb and flow
The ‘ebb and flow’ nature of running a business is something you’re never told about when setting out, but it’s an important rhythm to become acquainted and feel at ease with. The Autumn harvest provides a great practical example of this; filling the stores to provide for the colder months ahead.
In terms of your brand and business this could be:
- Setting aside a financial reserve: (3-6 months cover for expenses/needs) to help lift the burden when it is a time of ebb. I went to a great NetworkingIn* event where Dr Simon Biltcliffe was the speaker talking about his business Webmart and the way they create value through provisions of ‘enough’ and how ay surplus is reinvested and distributed to help the team, community and nature thrive, like through their Webmart Oxygen Farm and rewilding project in Scotland to create a new Caledonian woodland.
- Topping up your skills reserve: developing your knowledge and skills.
- Building your resources reserve: add to your network of go to people and connections (*if you’d like to try out NetworkingIn for yourself here’s a discount code for your first visit: FriendofBecks)
- Restoring planetary reserves: dedicating support to one of the the UN Sustainable development goals through your projects/systems.
- Maintaining your mental health reserves: strengthening your resilience stores by
- Encouraging volunteering amongst your family and team (time/services/gifts).
- Acts of kindness, litter pick, river clean, helping a neighbour, sharing produce, food bank, making space for wildlife…
Anchor these all within your purpose to grow your fulfilling harvest. Studies have shown that making positive social impact and community involvement creates higher job satisfaction and fulfilment. Purpose is integral to every decision, at every level, within and outside of your business.
When you lead with purpose, others will follow and help shape a better world.