3 Years Later - A Note From Shane

3 Years Later - A Note From Shane
3 Years Later
A note from my heart... I feel like I owe you a bit of an update from my personal perspective.

A few days ago marked the 3 full years of the GP website being online for customers, which was the first time we made money someplace other than the Etsy Shop I had made to test my idea of shipping plants directly From Our Greenhouse to Your House!®. That night was also the first batch of orders that I would need help to package and ship, as everything before that was like 10-50 plants a week so I could do it myself and learn.
I don’t even have words to describe those 3 years as anything other than “hard yet rewarding growth.” I brag about the team quite often, but it’s been a long while since I’ve written anything from my personal perspective and I want to share my thoughts and feelings on the last 3 years and fill you in on our plans and ideas for the future.
Like many of you who have been following my story for a long time now, I’ve had to grow year after year, and reinvent myself in a lot of different ways that I never thought possible or considered part of my path. When I agreed to run and manage the family business, we had just 2 part-time employees. Now, we have 28 people on our team and I now also own our family business. Those 28 people, especially this year, are now fully responsible for nearly every aspect of the growing, shipping & customer care components of our operations, and they execute our mission every week with a level of excellence that I’m ridiculously proud of. We grew almost double the number of plants in 2021 than the year before and I don’t see that trend slowing down anytime soon.
However, that growth hasn’t come without its personal toll on me. For nearly my entire life, my self-worth has been defined and vested in the work I do, and the evidence I have to show for the work, the tangible things I create are what I view as my productivity. Throughout the growth of GP, I’ve had to slowly reduce not only the sheer number of tasks that I do every week by delegating those tasks to talented members of our team. In doing so, I’ve also slowly reduced the activities that I used to gauge how productive or helpful my day had been, leaving me wondering if I had done enough that day or that week for the team.
From the start of Gabriella Plants, I’ve known that there is a limit to what I know about plants and what solutions I could create given that lack of true knowledge. This reason is why I made it a priority throughout our growth to bring in experts at the various areas of our company, so we could level up beyond what I knew personally. Not only hiring talented people who know more about plants, but also bringing on members of the team to help with our marketing or digital operations and app development, other areas that are key to our future growth but not a strength of mine personally.
When we entered the beginning of 2021, I knew our team was vastly more skilled and knowledgeable at most roles than I could even be at this point, which also led me to feel somewhat disconnected from the processes that I had once called my own. Despite knowing that it was being done better now than I could have ever done it myself, each delegated task was another tiny piece of my heart and identity I had to pass along to the team. I could list every task that I’ve delegated this year, but it’d be longer than this post.
As many of you may have pieced together from various comments I’ve made throughout this year, I struggled essentially the entire year to know what I SHOULD be doing in this new reality where the team was able to operate fairly independently and I also lived in denial of any success I had achieved before or throughout the year. This denial was based on my own version of imposter syndrome, based largely on not wanting to appear personally prideful of anything we had accomplished as a team.

This really became apparent when I had the first-ever meetup in Colorado, several states away, and people would walk up just to meet the guy who grew up growing house plants and successfully cultivated a thriving business along the way... that's still mind-blowing. To go from no website to that in under 3 years is pretty insane for just about anyone to experience and quite a LOT for an introvert like myself.
I’ve also seen too many leaders fall and make poor decisions because they became prideful or overzealous and this fear of being prideful outweighed any desire to find joy or comfort in our success or the sacrificial investments I had made to and for the team in the past 3 years.
However, I’m thankful for the grace of God and for those in my life who love me deep enough to push me to see a more beautiful picture than the depressing one I stared at by myself the majority of the year. In the last few weeks of wrestling with these feelings, to try to overcome them, I’m left with a big takeaway;
It’s okay to be proud of myself and to be even more proud of our team.
The goal shouldn’t be “Not to be proud.”
Influence or success isn’t shameful, nor is it a problem… it’s the challenge…
How can I use the influence I have now to MAKE A BIG IMPACT in our team and our world for the better?
So that’s what next year is all about… GPx3…
Growing Plants
Growing People
Gabriella Plants
... just wait till you see the artwork ❤
I see that 2022 already looks a lot different for me than even the changes I’ve journeyed through in the past. I want nothing more than to have the comfortability of spending my time helping people around me grow. And also, being a resource to helping other growers along the way. I truly am just seeking comfortability but not boastfulness.
I will need to learn how to be comfortable in these new shoes, set realistic expectations for myself, and view my job moving forward as being the best leader I can be for the team that makes our operations successful. I plan to invest my time heavily into growing the people within our team so that they can soar even higher. It won’t be easy, but I know it’ll be worth it.
I also wish I had anywhere near this level of happiness and peace in my life earlier this year, but I'm thankful that it's been in due timing. A season of rest isn't a bad thing, either.

This brand of leadership and focus on individual growth within the company is a large reason why many folks want to work for our company and part of what I believe will continue to set us apart, regardless of the milestones and projects we launch next.
I’m confident that there is so much to look forward to in the coming year. We have so many brand new species from our ongoing breeding and research program, we’re so close to rolling out Version 2 of our Story Stake technologies and we are still growing SO MANY NEW plants every year.
I can't say enough how much each of you who read a post like this means to me and to my family and to our team. We have the best customers because you guys believed in us even when we don't believe in ourselves. ❤ Thank you for everything and thanks for listening/reading my perspective. I always try to keep it real.
Your friendly grower,
Shane

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