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Make the Nurture Call

A 15-minute phone call to show your appreciation is a priceless Valentine’s gift.

It was a dark and not so stormy night in January when I picked up my phone to call North Carolina. I hadn’t talked to my coaching buddy Peggy for ages. I giggled with delight to discover she’d married, been promoted, and is dancing up a storm of happiness. I then called my maid of honour, a lifetime friend who really cares where I am on the map, personally and literally! We affirmed our need for pacing after 50. The next call nailed the title of this column. “Miss Wendy,” a lifelong friend, commented how conversations with women really “nurture” her.

It’s heart month. How is your heart connection to your loved ones? Rather than stressing over things to buy, give the gift of time – as in 15 minutes or more of heartfelt conversation. Pick up the phone and make the call.

Resilient healthy farm families are connected to others. “But Elaine, we haven’t spoken a word in months.” “I don’t want to interfere, they have a busy life.” “I would rather see them face to face.” Bury the excuses in the backyard. One of the symptoms of strong families is the ability to communicate. I know father and son partnerships that rely on their cell phones throughout the day to keep on top of the many decisions farmers make. Sad thing is, those same guys aren’t pleased to see their wives chatting on the phone to girlfriends. Women and men both need to feel loved and connected to others outside of the family.

A family recently lost their farm home to a fire that consumed everything.
Their cell phone and the gracious support of the community have shown them how to really count their blessings. The phone rings with offers of resources and the affirmation of a caring friendship in good times and in bad.

Some of my coaching clients have been surprised to discover that their style of talking is hard for the other farm team members to relate to. Knowing that you need the facts, or need to know about personal things before getting down to business, helps people assess new ways to talk things out.

If appreciation truly is the number one stumbling block for families to keep moving their business plans forward, make your nurture call one of appreciation to your parents, siblings, or your children. “Dad, I just called to say how thankful I am for all the work you have contributed to my well-being. Happy Valentine’s Day.” “Doll, it is wonderful to have a daughter like you who remembers the little details that help make my day go smoother. Thanks for doing those books.” “Sis, I know it’s been tough for you to feel you are outside the inner circle of what’s going on at this farm, but hang in there, we want you to feel part of this farm, too.”

Picking up the phone and making the call to nurture your relationships takes courage when the connection has been rocky of late. Take delight in discovering the news of friends that you haven’t heard from in a long while. Weight Watchers will love you cause phone calls are a lot less fattening than chocolates! Your budget won’t be stressed with “retail therapy” receipts if you choose to use your long-distance plans to your advantage.

My theme for 2008 is “delight.” I want to enjoy the gift of today, and connect strongly to the people I listen to. I want to notice the joys of other people’s journeys, and not just dwell on the tough things. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I met a young salesman today who has just come through a divorce. He says he has grown up and learned a lot about himself in the process. He now chooses to stay “more in the moment.” Taking a moment to be with another in conversation will nurture your soul. It might be the reward you need after a long night of calving or a day of sorting paperwork. Save the stamp, and use the 52 cents for a heartfelt conversation across the miles. That nurture call may keep you going for the next three months. Savor it!
Make every day Valentine’s day.
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Elaine Froese, certified coach, coaches families to have courageous conversations. She is passionate about building relational capital.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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