phrase that pays

One snowy day at a beautiful ranch home in southern Alberta around the expansive kitchen table, the farm team said, “Elaine you should make a list of your top phrases that you use in coaching.” “Okay,” I said, knowing that many of the best projects are started by attentive practical ranchers and farmers who call it as they see it.

It is your farm. Your family.Your choice.  This is my essential message as a coach. I want farm folks to build new scenarios for the new chapters in their lives; that suit their values and goals. Many folks who feel “stuck” have not stopped to talk with themselves about what they really want in their life, their family and their farm business. Are you sensing a new chapter coming up for your life? What choices do you have to make some new experiences happen?

You get the behavior you accept.  So why are you putting up with bad behavior? Folks you do not have to allow abuse, profanity, or nasty behavior on your farm. Stand up for what you believe is right. Find support beyond your farm gate.

That was then, and this is now. (Attributed to my mother-in-law, Margaret Froese). Meaning that things change and you might need to make a new decision for the present and the future. Some founders make promises to successors that have to be broken when the financial reality dictates that the founders need more money for their re-invention years. Plans can change, but the basic trust doesn’t need to be harmed if the parties can all be honest, transparent, and agree to talk about their disappointment.

A farm is not a piece of pie.  This means the critical mass of assets needs to stay with the farm owner or shareholders. Create another wealth bubble for your non-business heirs or have great agreements that allow access to the land for the farm operation. Parents are not responsible to ensure that all of their adult children are economically equal. Many adult children have wealth creation goals that don’t demand large gifts from hard-working founders. Perhaps if you sat down with your children, you’d discover that their main desire is for you to have some rewards now to be able to enjoy the fruit of your labour.

Change is inevitable growth is optional.   Change is going to happen, but are you ready to embrace it and work through the necessary steps to achieve your goals in a timely fashion and meets the needs of your team? The Hudson Institute gave me a great map called the “cycle of renewal” that helps families navigate change and make mini-transitions to get aligned again with their vision and goals. Life is not a straight line, and we are more resilient to the bumps in the road when we take a “learner” approach.

You are good enough.  This is a take on Brene Brown’s work where she says “You are enough.”

Many young farmers feel that no matter how hard they work it is never “good enough.” All of our farms could use more intentional affirmation. Lately, I have been asked to speak about “encouraging the heart of your farm.” We all need more affirmation and appreciation on our farm teams.

Divorce on farms does not have to happen.   This saying provoked a profane outburst at one of my seminars, but I meant it. Love and respect for all players and spouses on your farm will go a long way to avoiding the divorce courts. Sometimes I think people don’t ask for professional help soon enough, and then the pain and wounds are far too deep to be healed.

When is it her turn to get what she needs?   This is the uncomfortable question posed to the aging founder who has been married for over 45 years and still cannot see what his wife is longing for in a new chapter of life beyond the farm. She wants to move away from the main yard (Grand Central Station ) and spend more time with her hobbies and friends in town. She is tired. She knows her husband still wants a role on the farm, but now it needs to be different as the next generation becomes the main manager.

A conversation is not a contract. My friend Jolene Brown likely coined this term first, and she is right. Many promises as conversations will not hold up when challenged. Families in business are wise to write things down in agreements that keep a record of what was decided and promised.

Love does not read minds.   I think I was told this as a young bride by our minister, and I used this phrase recently in a coaching call. It was powerful when I saw the young farmer’s binder page with the quote in BOLD block letters. He is planning to make it into a wooden plaque for his kitchen.

You have options; you can leave.  A young frustrated farm woman asked me in a seminar Q&A what to do with a father-in-law who was not treating her with respect. I quickly said, “Just leave.” She did not leave, but the notion that she did have the option to choose a different path gave her the freedom to make her current situation different. She now blogs about agriculture, and we had the pleasure of reuniting a few months ago. I had no idea of the power of the phrase until she told me her story. You can find out more about “necessary endings” in our book Farming’s In-law Factor. Chapter ten talks about what to do when things don’t work out.

Conflict resolution is a business risk management strategy. Discuss the undiscussable.  I believe that conflict avoidance is one of the huge boulders holding agriculture back. Many founders have a fear of conflict, so they procrastinate and do not have courageous conversations. Attack an issue without attacking the person, and get resolution. Don’t waste emotional energy on “drama” learn to focus on solving problems with effective, focused management.

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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