I’m writing today’s blog post under a giant tepee at Tatton Park Flower Show; sadly it’s not as warm as previous days, but hopefully will be another good day. We smashed it yesterday with record sales, so a huge thank you to everyone who shopped with us.

The last twelve months have been an incredible journey as we bounced back from near failure to a very happy position of profitable shows and rapidly growing online sales. I feel incredibly grateful for the support I have received from fellow traders, show organisers and most importantly my team, through a challenging time.

I have written before about the steps we took to improve our fortunes, but today, I would like to explore the mindset that accompanied them. If you are experiencing tough and challenging times in your life, then I hope you will find some comfort and inspiration in what follows.

I know how lonely it feels when problems strike, as you look in the mirror and see tired eyes staring back, your mind racing with a million thoughts and fears about the future. It’s easy to forget that we choose our path in life. We have selected this route; we have set our own goals and imagined our dreams. But it is those same choices and dreams that have led us to this dark place.

Sure, life could be kinder, the route could be easier, the dream more attainable. But then it wouldn’t be your dream. It wouldn’t represent the pinnacle of your achievements. So, remember in the dark and lonely times that you have chosen to be here, and that hardship is part of the journey. How you handle the difficult times will define who you are and certainly how you will be remembered.

I know that you have the ability, the skill and the strength to climb your way out. It won’t be easy, nothing worth doing ever is. But it is possible, and you must believe that you can do it.

When I was fourteen, my mother gave me a card that pictured a set of footsteps walking though the sand, in some places there was one set and sometimes two sets of steps. The inscription said something along the lines of…

“The Lord God is always with us, so the man asked the Lord, why are there sometimes only one set of footprints? I thought you would always be with me?  Those periods were the hardest times in my life, and you left me alone, the Lord replied, my Son, those were the times that I carried you.”

I’m not a religious person, but I think of my friends, my fellow traders, my team and the show organisers and I know that it was them who carried me through the long dark times of 2018. It was they who gave me the support and strength to carry on and rebuild the business.

Today, I give thanks to them. Without their steadfast help and support, we wouldn’t be here now.

Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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