“An experiment was conducted in 1992 at Stanford University, in which four-year-old children were given a choice. A marshmallow was put in front of them; they could either eat the marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes, after which they would be given two marshmallows. Researchers met the kids again as teenagers. What do you think happened? Those who waited turned out to be better in various ways: they got better marks, “were less prone to impulsive behaviour” and, according to tests, were “more likely” to be well-adjusted. After the marshmallow test came a deluge of other, similar tests, with similar results. Patient children don’t often become impulsive teenagers. Which means they don’t often turn into fat teenagers, or drug-addicted teenagers.  (William Leith, Telegraph article July 2012.)

This famous study was crafted into a book by Joachim dePosada “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow” which has sold millions of copies around the world. (Google his video ).I had the delightful experience of meeting Joachim at a speaker’s conference a few years ago, and he was brought to mind recently during two tough coaching situations.

My concern is this.  The next generation is hard wired to have things happen instantly via texting, e-mails, microwaves, drive-thru’s etc.  Frank Partnoy, the author of “Wait” agrees with me.

How does this impact farm families?

1. We wait for a harvest, because we know that the seed , soil, and weather conditions all need to be aligned to produce a great crop. Younger farmers are stressed about the price of the land that crop is on. They don’t know if they should jump into more risk and debt, or be patient renting most of their land.

2.We wait for land prices to rise, so we can cash in when we are old. Well, what does greed have to do with this? Do you have more than enough all ready? The latest October 2012 issue of Country Guide has lots to say about buying land. Why are you making the next generation wait to have their own equity when you as a founder or wealthy landlord have more than enough for your own coffers? Would it not be a wonderful thing to help get the next generation started on building their own equity?

3. We wait for people to grow up. Due to the “instant” and self –indulged nature of youth, I am concerned that some successors are not showing up as adult business partners to the farm vision table. “When is he ever going to grow up and act like a calm , rational adult rather than exploding and leaving the conversation?” I’ve mentioned before that one of the weaknesses of young farmers is their inability to do conflict resolution well, because they have never had to win their own battles. Mom and Dad have covered for them. It’s time for everyone on your farm team to show up as an adult, with collaborative skills to find win/win solutions for all. Check out “How to Have Better Family Fights” on the homepage of

4.We wait for disposable income to buy the “fun stuff”.  My l981 story of being a new bride with wooden Coke box end tables in my home gets old pretty fast with the next generations’ whose homes from the start look as good as their parent’s homes.  I am not criticizing the need or want for beauty and nice things. But I am curious about the mechanical toys that are in the shop, when the next generation is stressed about paying down long term debts. Those who can wait, don’t expect to “have it all at once.” I know farmers need to have more fun in their lives, just at what expense?

5.We wait for the founders to make a decision to sign us on as shareholders. This waiting creates huge stress and anxiety when the future is uncertain. I just spoke to a 56 year old who owns nothing while his 80 something father hangs on tight to land, and threatens to join his titles to a non-farming child. That stinks. Sometimes folks wait too long to take action of a situation that is hopeless. How do you know?

Past performance is a pretty good indication of future behaviour. This is the reason why another young couple I coached has decided to leave the farm and invest in a different career. They were tired of waiting for the choices of the founders to change to accept them as the successors. They moved on, and decided to preserve some family relationship.

6. We wait for the “experts” to tell us what to do. Really?  Coaching is about helping farm families discover what kind of farm they want, and the way they relate as business partners, and happy family team members. Paul Hammerton, of MNP’s Swift Current office and his colleague Janet Moen showed me the value of their software called “FarmHand”. This is an amazing program to help farmers make better informed financial decisions using all the farmer’s own data to reflect back to the farmer what his costs of production is for each crop, and ratios like debt to equity and a host of others. Paul and Janet often have to wait for all the data to be collected properly, so that the best decisions can be evoked from the software.

The expertise that advisors can provide is sometimes frustrated by the inability of folks to wait for all the data to be processed. Good decisions require good input and thought. Thinking takes time when you are assessing different scenarios and outcomes.

Do good things come to those who wait? Yes, I think so. I was the kid who could leave the marshmallow on the table. As a coach I am saddened by the grief of the family with successors who do not understand the value of being able to wait.

What can you do this fall to make your waiting time more productive, and less stressful?  Visit and tell me your story. Let me know if you would like to join my group coaching teleseminars in 2013. We can all learn from each other.

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (NASV). (One of my favourite Bible verses to encourage you.)

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.


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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