It has been over a year since I committed to my entrepreneurial journey and I am excited to announce that I now have a home for my retreat center, Pomona Woods. This feels like an apt time to start what I hope to be monthly musings about my process – so stay tuned!
It all started with a desire to create a space where people can connect with nature and be inspired by sustainable practices in a way that supports their reason for coming together. The retreat center will be built on twenty one acres South of Port Hadlock. The plan includes 26 rooms and a gathering space that will be suitable for a corporate or not-for-profit team offsite, yoga retreat, family gathering, etc. The commercial kitchen will supply the guests with delicious, healthy, local food. I named the retreat Pomona Woods for my great grandfather’s Pomona Ranch in Dayton, WA. His apple orchard took the name of the Roman wood nymph associated with fruitful abundance.
Why is this article titled Fear and Openness? Let’s start with fear. The fear is needing to take on millions of dollars in debt. The fear is the fact I have no real experience running a retreat center or restaurant. Over the last year, as I’ve searched for property and built a business plan, I’ve frequently been gripped by fear. If it weren’t for pride and the incredible support of friends and family, I would have abandoned the dream long ago. This leads me to my Mantra #1.
Mantra #1: Fear Is My Teacher
Part of what is getting me through the fear is seeing it as a guide to what I need to learn, or hire for. If running a kitchen is sending my heart racing then I need to find people who understand how to run a great restaurant and people who can explain the economics and critical infrastructure requirements. If it is the huge loans I need to take out, then I need to review my draft financials with knowledgeable friends and entrepreneurs so they can share insights and guidance. Understanding all this led me to Mantra #2.
Mantra #2: Learn Like a Baby
While driving around to look at properties I heard a story on NPR highlighting research into learning as we age. It busted the myth that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Apparently it is all about motivation and bandwidth. When we are children, we have few responsibilities except for learning and we are encouraged to fail frequently and try, try again. No one tells a child to stop trying to learn language because they say funny things and it is hard. We encourage and celebrate all their achievements and understand the mistakes as part of the learning process. That is how I am determined to learn in service of my dream.
A third mantra came to me after taking the crucial step of selling my house and ultimately quitting my job to work on the plan full time. I moved to temporary housing on Whidbey and then North Kitsap County to get to know those communities while developing the business plan. I talked to everyone about the idea, from people I met on dog walks to the woman who ran the coffee shop and connections from all different time periods of my life. What I discovered is encapsulated in Mantra #3.
Mantra #3: Share the Dream
I have been humbled and touched with how willing strangers, friends and family have been to make an introduction, review my plans, lend a hand, provide shelter, or just share their enthusiasm for what I am doing. Being vulnerable has paid off a hundred-fold. It has also had the side benefit of keeping me connected to new and old communities during the pandemic.
I look forward to hearing your ideas and stories in response to my musings, including what you would like to hear more about. Please keep following the story on Instagram or Facebook @ PomonaWoods or right here at Pomonawoods.com.