Success Is on The Other Side of Fear – Those that do and those that don’t

When we started the podcast, I never really thought about the amount of information I would get back from our guests. Call it egotistical, call it naïve, or just call it too busy to look in all directions. Now, three months in and six episodes down, I think I have taken more from them than we have provided. The truth is that two guests have given us enough soundbites for the entire year.


“I Don’t Know if I Chose Farming or if Farming Chose Me”


When I first heard this, I didn’t have time to break down the sentence. I think the best part about the podcast is that we don’t script it. The guests are only asked one question before we hit record, “is there anything you want us to avoid?”. Other than that, every question and every thought that is shared is off the cuff and has only been thought of if they were planning the what-if scenarios. That is what made this one so special, it came from nothing.


Often in agriculture, we are tied into the family farm legacy. They cannot fail, lifestyle is everything, and the stress of the world is on our shoulders. This quote, I believe, explains several producers that are actively farming today; did they start farming because they chose to, or because it is all they knew? 


This is why succession and transition are some of the hardest conversations on the farm. Don’t get me wrong, the next generation has been given much more of a choice than the past ones. My father worked every day of his younger years on the farm. Carrying chop pails, running post pounders, and planting crops. A lot of farm kids in that generation never actually graduated because they were needed on the farm as labour. My dad’s generation changed that as I was expected to give a hand but never was it going to be my life. The interesting part is that most of us went back anyway. I believe this is changing as I don’t see many in the next generation feeling the same way. I think we have provided a lot of rope to find their interests and am not sure if we have made the farm interesting enough to win them back.


“I Found Gratitude”


This one made me remember a quote that I heard from “The Ten Controversial Truths” – “You’ve already achieved goals that you said would make you happy”. I am probably one of the worst at this. Whether it be the next business venture or something as simple as the next new truck, I always have that moment where I think I can’t wait until I achieve X. And as it passes me by, I don’t celebrate it, I don’t realize it, and most times I forget I even wanted it.


I find agriculture today is full of a lot of negativities. I often tell clients who work with us to grow that at a certain size, they will have to deal with the backlash. Usually, growth in acres causes this, but I even see updated machinery lines or a new half-ton truck resulting in the neighbours talking. I think the best thing that could happen to agriculture would be for everybody to just be happy with what they have created themselves. If others want to deviate from the age-old plan of farming, let them, and be happy for them when they succeed. Or at the very least, take some notes as they are showing you the way whether you like it or not.


Gratitude is something that we talk about in farming but rarely achieve. Like the “Facebook Family”, where you never see a bad picture posted but know that there is a dumpster fire behind the scenes. If you constantly focus on others, you will get behind yourself. A lesson I learned was “High Agency Living” – doing what you want, regardless of what others think. Usually getting pushback from others is the leading indicator you’re on the right path.


“Success Is on The Other Side of Fear”


I am putting this on the wall. When our first guest said it, he was referring to his decision to get out of the family farm and spend more time with his wife and kids. The second guest took it and ran as he talked about sobriety and the trials and tribulations it took to get across the threshold. Both stories revolved around the quote and thus resonated very highly with the listeners and me.


I can admit I probably use the word complacent too much when describing farming operations. Over the last two decades, nobody could have predicted the land appreciation that we have seen, or the commodity price runs every few years. This made expansion and taking chances a large risk and thus the industry had fear. Now looking with a wider lens, the farms that were able to get past that fear are now seeing most of the successes. That is why I believe it stings those who didn’t.


These are merely motivational quotes. However, they came from the mouths of producers who have lived in the trenches and have become successful at their craft. Those who have broken through barriers in their lives or made difficult choices to improve upon their livelihood. This is what makes them special and memorable. I hope that the podcast continues to provide me with these soundbites as they are changing the way I talk to others and consult.


I leave you with one more parting gift of a line – “The good shit sticks – the best way to remember the things you learn is to focus on the one thing that you can’t stop thinking about”.