Milestones

Growing up on a farm, and now not only owning and operating a farm but also working in a professional setting, will certainly give you perspective.

I think we all need to consider our lot in life.  Where we are and how we got there and where we want to be.

I am a firm believer that milestones shape you and direct your legacy.

So, let’s take a quick look at milestones from farm life and see if any can benefit our corporate perspective.

 1.       Reaching the Pedals – From a very young age I was driving on the farm.  We all worked on the farm.  I wasn’t strong enough to lift hay bales for a very long time.  So my job was to steer the truck.  Unfortunately I couldn’t reach the gas, clutch or brake pedals and see over the dash at the same time.  For years I would have to pull myself down by the steering wheel to have enough leverage to push the clutch and brake down and hold it until my dad could get to the door and take over.

But then one day, I must have sprouted.  I could see over the dash and successfully work the pedals.  And yes, I grew up driving a manual shift truck.  Made for an interesting day when I took my driver’s test in that very same truck.  I think he passed me out of pity, or maybe fear he would have to ride through that experience again.

 

2.       A Good Tired – Working on a farm is hard and exhausting.  But yet, it feels good.  I remember working in the fields with my family.  Hard, long days.  But at the end of the day, sitting at the table in complete exhaustion, almost, I stress almost, too tired to eat, felt good.  Once I learned it was okay to feel tired made working a little less like work.

 

3.       Fixing the pump – In our milk barn we had a pump we used during clean up that was a tad abused and often rebelled against being used.  Of course my dad could fix it easily.  But he wasn’t always around and this was years before You Tube.  At one point I had the opportunity to try my hand at fixing the pump.  I’m not a mechanical person so the challenge was set before me.  I had to do many learn by failed events.  After, what seemed hours but was likely 30 minutes, the pump did function.  Was a great feeling to achieve something so simple, yet so hard for me.

 

4.       Seeing a calf born – Since I grew up on a dairy farm, playing with the new calves was frequent for me.  My job was to care for the babies by bottle feeding them.  However, I can remember actually watching the birth process.  My dad was so caring about his animals.  He had a cow that was struggling with the birth of her baby.  He and I kept an eye on her all day.  Sure enough.  At one point she delivered a beautiful calf.  Then she cleaned it and loved it.  Was very memorable for me over the years to see the gift of life and know how each of us should hold these beautiful beings so precious.

 

5.       Retreating from Pack of Coyotes – Side note, if you ever want to know if someone is from the farm or the not, just ask them to pronounce coyotes.  The northerners will stress the “e”.  ha. 

I grew up loving to hike.  I found it relaxing.  Again, this was before cable TV and Facebook. 

One afternoon the dog and I explored the northern end of the farm.  I crested the hill and was lost in thought.  My thoughts were quickly blurred when my eyes focused on the critters standing in a pack all around me.  Yep, I walked straight into a pack of coyotes.  I stood there stunned and frightened.  I looked for help from my dog.  Where was he?? Dog was gone.  Dog had left me there to fend for myself.

I took a few steps backwards.  They didn’t seem to find me intrusive.  I took a few more down the hill but kept my eyes on my opponents at all times.  They never moved.  As soon as I felt they had lost interest in me and I was far enough away, I ran home.  I retreated to my safe place.  By the way, dog didn’t get fed that night!  Interestingly enough, I am less afraid of coyotes than most. 

Now let’s translate to the corporate world.  Those milestones learned in my youth could translate to:

1.       Reaching the Pedals - Perseverance -  Stick with it until you learn or “grow” into your skill.

2.       A Good Tired - Always work hard.  Show the right work ethic to your team.

3.       Fixing the Pump - Problem Solving -  Don’t be afraid to try new things.

4.       Seeing a calf born – Life is precious.  Don’t waste yours.

5.       Retreating from Pack of Coyotes – Fear can be a good thing.  Keeps your juices flowing.  Once you face an unknown fear, you gain strength.