Tending The Garden


I left Baltimore two years ago to live with my sweetheart and become hippie gardeners in southeastern Chester County, Pennsylvania.

After six months, I joined the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce and attended their monthly networking lunch the next day. I met the Executive Director and gave an elevator pitch to the group.

A few months later the Executive Director and I codeveloped 6 brand storytelling workshops designed to help nonprofit leaders better clarify and articulate not just their purposes, but also, what’s in it for the rest of us when they fulfill their missions. They need allies, and their stories are meant to attract like-minded people to their causes. 


Here’s what I’ve learned about myself living in a small town. I don’t network, I find and make friends.

Here’s what I’ve learned about value in a small-town chamber.

Instead of posting on Linkedin offering “value” to whoever is scrolling their feed, I show up at local business and community events.

I show up for coffee meetings and share the power of stories.

If I can help that person, I do, and we’re both happy.

My personal brand isn’t crafted or curated.

It makes itself evident as I engage with people. 

Take Away

Staying small in a small town and keeping it personal works for me.

I just turned 71. I’m not building an empire or driven by growth.

I give away much and charge less.

Yet, I am never without a client, and because I’m operating at the top of my game, my margins are the same as when working in Baltimore and pretending my business universe was the entire Mid-Atlantic.

The smaller my world, the deeper the meaning I get from participating in it.

As a vegetable gardener, I experience this every day. And now, Oxford, PA is my garden, and I tend to it with the same love and care.

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Is Heart Or Happiness A Business Strategy

I’ve learned two things during the Great Pause: 1) Heart is the solution to scarcity, and 2) happiness is the path to prosperity.

Working hard, working smart, being consistent, delivering value, are important, sure, but everyone is doing that. It’s hard to differentiate that way. 

“Why?” is the differentiator. That comes from the heart. Being “happy” let’s you overcome obstacles to your mission with endless creative energy. It’s not only productive it’s magnetic. 

What is the story we tell ourselves? What is the story we tell others? Are they aligned?

If you’re not sure, reach out, we’ll figure it out. What you do after that is up to you.

“Staging” your brand story like a Tony Award winning play.

Consider branding as the way a business stages their story. Instead of a literal stage, the organization’s brand story is “staged” on a website, at an event, on a table top at an expo, in the design of an annual report, and so on. 

In theater, when we stage a play we are establishing the world of the play. This accomplishes two things: 1) The world of the play has rules grounded in a belief system and aesthetics. 2) Everything you see, every light, color, sound, prop, and costume is designed to help the actors perform their roles, AND to help the audience fully receive the meaning of the story.

Does your business give enough attention to the world of your brand and how those rules help to connect your performers with your audiences?

If you’re not sure or have questions about the concept, let’s talk.