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Alaina Money-Garman, founder & CEO of Garman Homes, ​is a business owner, homebuilder, writer, and mom to three rowdy feminists…and I had the amazing opportunity to chat with her in a recent podcast. I’ve got all the best highlights for you below. But first, here’s a glimpse into who Alaina is:  

Lack of Passion? Not With This Fierce Female Business Owner!

Known for her award-winning blog, Build Like a Girl, Alaina was named to Professional Builder’s list of 40 Under 40 for the class of 2015. She was also named Builder of the Year twice – in 2015 by the Home Builders Association of Durham Orange Chatham County and in 2017 as the first female recipient of the award by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake.  

Alaina is an accomplished speaker, focusing on women and diversity in homebuilding, as well as bringing your whole authentic self to work.  

One thing Alaina has never been accused of is a lack of passion. After all, how would the incredible Garman Homes culture have been created otherwise? Homeowners, the Rock Star team (as they fondly refer to them) and the communities where they embed themselves wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits of all they have to bring! 

Today, Alaina is proud that Garman Homes continues to exist as an audacious Joyfully Built, Meaningfully Different company. It’s authentic, period. 

On Making Peace With Being Uncomfortable in Your Business… 

“You hit that flection point where you know you want to go a bit further- into the ambition level that is personally fulfilling,” shares Alaina. She personally was able to pursue a new lane of inspiration by giving and accomplishing through community impact. It’s a galvanizing challenge to be personally fulfilled while also accomplishing success in your business and work. Well-said! 

She advises those who are trying to determine their desired path, “You have to go through what you don’t want, to know what you do want. In every problem, there is a gift. Re-center to what the gift is to learn from it. You may not be able to articulate what’s missing but if you allow it to evolve, you begin to pursue directions that are a reflection of your values and beliefs.” 

The Key to Creating Your Unique Culture 

According to Alaina, the golden key is: Demonstrable, observable evidence that you are who you say you are. Consumers need to be able to see and feel something about you, about your brand, that is different. That special mix of talent, the opportunities in front of you, the market conditions. Culture is not simply a set-it-and-forget-it routine. 

Some people need ideal circumstances in order to rise. But rock stars thrive under less-than-ideal circumstances. When things are their worst, you arrive at your best 

Success is a journey of transitioning from external validation to internal validation. 

Where does your success come from? “Decide what the things are that you can and want to control, how you want to show up- that will inform every decision. This is what reduces the ‘noise.’” 

Chasing After Success? Stay Focused on Your Priorities

Priorities | Business OwnerThings that you choose NOT to do are more important than the things you choose to do, Alaina reminds us.  

Just recently, Alaina shared how she had to make a decision that was more aligned with her family over a career commitment she made.

It was hard, but in the end, she is more ambitious about her family than her career.

She shared how she never would have forgiven herself if she had chosen to put her career over her family priorities.  

Alaina has lived in the world of filling a void and seeking things outside of her primary marital relationship through work and striving energy.

Yet, she was still unfulfilled. Can you relate? 

She advises:  

  • Sometimes we take a step back to take steps forward.  
  • Awareness is key.  
  • Don’t beat yourself up!  
  • Take time to pause, reflect.  
  • Stay focused on your priorities.  

What was your best wake-up call along the way?  

That was my question for Alaina. 

As the business grew out of Alaina’s operational capacity, she was at a crossroads – either allow the company to be stifled by her own limitations – or be heartbroken by the growth of it. Hiring someone smarter than her operationally and in execution was a tough hit.  

Her advice? Continuing to validate your own gifts and strengths – while acknowledging your limitations – is crucial.  

Our roles as leaders of companies evolve and change. Now as a leader, being able to coach, develop and feed others is gratifying to Alaina, who says, “Getting to keep all the parts you love AND make you and the company incredible is amazing.” 

Great Partners and Mentors Believe in Your Gifts

The partners who have seen you at your worst and can still see you at your best can offer you an authentic perspective. Trusting that feedback is invaluable!

Amplifying voices that are marginalized in the industry is a top mission, for Alaina and for Garman. They ensure efforts are being taken to support businesses and individuals who are marginalized, a key focus for them. This explains the very cool background board she had behind her in our Podcast interview- created by a locally Black-owned wallpaper company.  

Alaina describes her relationship with her company today as BFE- Big Founder Energy. “Every interaction is an opportunity with infinite potential” is the Garman manifesto. She brings that memorable phrase to life because sees it as her very role with Garman.  

A Constant Reminder to Stay Centered, in Business & Life 

Swapping and sharing driver’s seats (and passenger seats!) when it made sense while building their dream home took an enormous amount of energy from Alaina.

She got out of balance by not putting her own needs first – and her oxygen mask on when it was needed most.

How many of us have been there, too? 

Alaina explained that she tends to go where she’s needed most and pour herself into it. It creates an imbalance that is hard to overcome, because she doesn’t want to miss out on anything. She doesn’t want to rush; rather, she wants to enjoy the journey and be present.

But it is a constant reminder to stay centered – we can’t spend too much time stuck in the past or the future.   

Creating a home where everyone has a sense of comfort, safety and love is her full intention. This includes herself, her loved ones and her company and team.

It’s clear that Alaina’s mission is to live into this model fully in every way and aspect.  

Looking Ahead to Business Expansion… 

“Don’t spend too much time on your highlight reel or your low light reel,” she advises. If you’re spending too much time in either one, you’re going to get off track.  

Not surprisingly, Garman Homes is growing and expanding. There is a special magic at Garman that brings a certain fear for Alaina – she doesn’t want to lose that magic. Her challenge is to ensure it continues as the company grows. Developing the leaders fully in their Garman Academy is one way they hope to ensure the light of the torch continues.  

Also near to Alaina’s heart is the charity Hero Home, along with Operation Coming Home, which builds homes for troops that were injured combat operations.  

She is honored to be a part of the journey to thank those that have served our country in ways that everyone can see as a common ground for all. It’s a space where we all share this service, respect and patriotism, she says.  

Keep up with Alaina (if you can!):  

Back at Strive Leadership Development, we’re in the business of developing amazing leaders: see how we prepare managers and leaders with what they need to bring their best, so the company can perform at its best. 

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