The Pot-Bound Post

Tear Down to Build Up

I am absolutely sure this title will get your attention for a number of reasons.  What does it have to do with building your own business?  Glad you asked.

So let’s clarify, I am talking about a pot in which you plant food or flowers, not the pot that you smoke.  I know some of you will stop reading now, that’s cool. I totally get the loss of interest.

I am by no means even a novice gardener yet.  This is however one my goals for this season of my life.  In my pursuit of learning more about gardening I have discovered what many gardeners already know: Gardening and living your one wonderful life have very similar processes.  Today, I would like to talk about repotting plants and finding the courage to start your business.

Potting and Preparation

I began to notice that several plants stopped growing and began to die.  I went to my sources; both people and the internet, to determine what I was doing wrong.  I gave plant food, watered, put them in the sun, I even talked to them. I did not sing.  Nothing living on earth deserves that.  I learned it wasn’t my lack of care, it was actually because of my great care that this phenomenon was happening.  My plants needed more room.  They had outgrown their pot.  I am a nurturer so my immediate thought was what if I kill them when I move them, this soil has been cultivated and it met their needs, what type of pot should I get and what if it is too big? I had lots of questions and concerns about this new move and the long-term impact on my plants.  I discovered there was a process to repotting and I could learn how to do it.   It happened all the time and the reality was if I did not repot my plants correctly, they would die.  I refused to allow all the hard work and the potential of the plants to die a slow death because of my fear of the unknown.  I repotted my plants.  I discovered along the way, making the decision was the hardest part, the preparation was time consuming, the actual act was rewarding because I knew:

I was honoring my past labor

I was positioning the plants to produce more

I was increasing my own knowledge base so I could become a better gardener

I was giving back to the world by producing food and the beauty of flowers to share


I know all of my readers see where this is going.  I had to be repotted.  I was dying a slow death.  My cultivation was done well.  The degrees, senior leadership positions, community activism, divorced mom raising two awesome young people, family matriarch, mentor the list goes on…but I was still dying on the inside.   I checked all the boxes and many would say I had arrived.  However, what I knew was like my plants my root system needed to expand…I desired to go deeper…I needed more freedom, I was compelled to build legacy and I wanted to give back in a significant way while on my journey. 

I made the decision and trust me, it was hard.  I prepared and found out the more I knew the less I knew. 


I found the perfect pot!  AG’s Sandbox.  This pot honored my past labor because I would provide services that reflected my expertise.  As a business owner I determine my level of productivity.  I am constantly learning so I can become a better entrepreneur.  I will eventually give more back, but first I must acclimate to my new soil, find the right nutrients, get plenty of exposure to sunlight and protect myself from harmful insects and other environmental obstacles.

Watch me grow!

It’s All about The Journey

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” —Benjamin Franklin

It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting on my deck.  My companions, the squirrels, are running from tree to tree chatting.  Diesel (my fur baby) is barking and making his own moves, trying to determine the best way to get the squirrels and the birds.

It took me while to make the decision to begin blogging about my decision as minority female, over 55 to become a business owner. Would there be anyone interested in this journey?  I believe there are others like me, seeking the courage to take this step.

This is my “Why” post. 

Why did I decide to start my business? 

Freedom – This is an interesting aspect of starting your business.  There is the dream of setting your own schedule, saying no to people you don’t want to work with, working from your deck, no boss dictating what you can or cannot say. There is the reality of budgets, brands, messaging, netweaving (not networking), strategic planning and the list goes on.  I needed, longed for and passionately desired to experience freedom so I could do all the work involved in being a business owner.  Freedom to dream my dreams and move them to my reality instead of someone else’s.

Resources – Please understand that becoming a business owner is more than making money. It really is about spending the money to gain the other resources needed to carry out your mission.  It is the “other” that fuels me every day.  Those other resources include the ability to expand my circle of influence, to build a team of experts equally passionate about affecting change in low to moderate income communities and last but not least to create a team committed to executing successful community engagement activities.  These are the resources that I want at my disposable as a businesswoman.  I think about this every day; systemic changes, leveraging my voice and providing a platform that elevates the voices of a vulnerable community. What I absolutely know is this, how I use the 24 hours I am given daily will determine if, when and how I obtain these identified resources.

Legacy – As we age, we begin to think about what will we leave behind.  Now, some people are not concerned about this. They feel that it doesn’t matter and they live in the now. I am not one of them.  I believe that if I pour into people, my voice will echo in generations to come.  Creating Sandboxes for work and play allows me this opportunity to connect and build this legacy.

My Why?  Having the freedom to dream,  the ability to garner the resources to move from dreams to reality and the creation of my legacy.  AG’s Sandbox is the vessel I use to operate in “My Why.”

What is your Why?

The Possum Post

A Possum seems an unlikely partner to begin my business with, especially if you know how much I dislike possums. 

Let me begin by sharing my history with possums.  I first met these marsupials as a child growing up in rural Alabama.  They were never pretty and many people tried to convince me that they were good “eatin.”   I encountered a family of possums that took up residence in my garage.  The mother was very clear that I was disturbing her and the kids.  She hissed at me and my mind, she readied herself to leap and attack.  So, I had the garage torn down. Not only because of the possums.  I thought that eviction would rid me of unwanted companions.  No, the wise mother found a much better location; underneath my back porch.  She and her kids were friendly. They would sit on the steps of the porch to say “hey” in the morning. They would also climb on the roof where they could peer into my son’s room and glance into our nocturnal family happenings on occasion.  By no means were they snobby tenants.  I, on the other hand, never envisioned becoming a landlord.  I called the animal patrol people and paid a ridiculous amount of money to have the family removed from the premises. 

I recently had the privacy fencing replaced in my backyard for a number of reasons including my desire to earnestly begin gardening. Guess who I met one morning lurking about as my fence guy was doing his thing?  Yep, a possum.  I freaked out.  I did not wish to share my space, especially my garden with any living creatures, possums included.  How did I keep them out?  I talked to experts, I talked to my friends as well as business associates.  The answers were summed up as follows” you share your space”. “Your dog will scare the majority of them away.” What threw me the most was those who advocated for the possum.  Yes, they informed me that the possums had value and contributed in a meaningful way to the ecosystem.  Their presence would make my garden better.  Hmmm, do I give up gardening or do I learn to share my space with fellow creatures including the possum?

Here it is, the connector sentence.  The possum represents my fears.  The garden represents my business.  Remember I encountered the possum as a child, this is the place where my fears about being a business owner took root as well.  These same fears followed me as an adult.  They lived with me as I began my career.  They hung out in the background sorta like the possum in the garage.  I didn’t realize they were there because I never took the time to explore every aspect of my life closely.  However, one day I started thinking about what’s next in my life and began to explore the possibilities; aka the garage.  There I came face to face with some of my fears aka the possums, hissing, and getting ready for attack.

I tore down the garage but the possum came closer to my more intimate space.  The same oftentimes occur when you confront the surface fears in your life.  The confrontation leads you to the deep down scary ones that you have been ignoring all your life.

Despite the possum (fear), I still wanted my garden, (business).  Can I grow a business while facing my fears?  Will these fears consume my beautiful business in its infancy stage?  What is the noise about the possum being beneficial to my garden?  How can fears help my business to grow?

Great questions with some surprising answers.  After I researched the possums, I did discover that they too have value to the ecosystem.  They can contribute to the well-being of my garden by keeping other critters away, they consume other living things that can bring harm.  Are they still scary looking to me? You bet, I am sure however that I don’t look warm and fuzzy to them either.  We have reached an agreement.  I recognize they have a place in this world and they will show up whenever possible in my surroundings searching for a place to fit in.  I determine my level of interaction with them.

So it is with my fears, they too have a place on my journey to becoming a successful business owner.  They keep me from making unwise choices in some instances.  They force me to grow in self-awareness.  This is a huge benefit very similar to the possum consuming other creatures that can destroy my garden.

American Actress and Film writer, Tina Lifford summarizes the importance of self-awareness like this “when you know yourself you are empowered when you accept yourself you are invincible.” So yes, fears can eventually empower me as possums can consume unwanted creatures. 

Fears are unlikely business partners.  Their presence forces me to seek opportunities for growth internally and externally.  My growth increases the capacity of my business.  Very much like my garden, the growth of the Sandbox will feed me and others.  I am not inviting you in Ms. Possum nor your counterpart Fear…I do however acknowledge your presence and I will choose how I respond. 

Oh yeah, thanks for the contribution.  I have learned from you to simply do what you were purposed to do.


Discover the 6 Ways to Make Your Next Project a Success.

project management

In today’s blog post I’m going to share a fool-proof plan to make sure your next project ends with a win for you and your respective team. Bold prediction right? Not really if you think about the step by step process that goes into the systematic nature of a project from start to finish. Fair warning…this is not a post that covers the 5 phases of the Project Management process. Think of it as an additional supporting effort.

Just remember…whenever something monumental needs to be done it can quickly turn into a nightmare of epic proportions. Cue the dramatic theme music and turn down the lights…it’s time for project management.

6 ways…

Culture – You need to be aware of the organizational culture of your client…what are the values/standards this will help to navigate the existing relationships…establish new relationships..the culture of the organization will clue you in on how the work gets done…what are the priorities.

Capacity – don’t assume anything about the capacity of the people we are working with or for. It is your responsibility to know this. You cannot effectively plan a project without identifying your resources and deficits BEFORE you start

Time Management – it seems fundamental and maybe you get the urgency of time management…but what about the people that you are working with or for? Projects have an start and end date..what happens in between will be guided by your ability to manage the timing of deadlines and implementation schedules

To Thine Own Self Be True – If you need the expert help of colleagues…collaborate…you are building your brand..don’t risk it because you don’t want to admit lack of experience/knowledge or because you don’t want to share the money…invest now for future opportunities

Be intentional about your Contract – This document needs to be clear and concise about the scope of the project, liabilities, dollars assigned to the project, reporting, data collection…not only is this a legally binding agreement…it will guide the goals and action steps you set forth to make the project a reality. Yes there is some standard language that must appear…but be mindful that each project is different and that difference needs to be reflected in the document…DON’T FORGET TO SUBMIT A REALISTIC BUDGET!!

Understand your “Why” – why are you agreeing to execute this project? Your why will need to sustain you through each stage of the work..your why will determine your level of commitment to the work..Are you doing it to create future business opportunities…because it drives your passion? Simply for the $$..because you owe some a favor? Your why is the fuel – make sure you have enough for the journey.