ready for new roles

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume
A proper space in your life:
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

By: John 0’Donohue, Irish Poet.

This lovely poem was sent to me by a farm woman who found it late at night as she ponders her new roles on the farm. She is about to become an “empty-nester.” At the same time, her father-in-law is trying to figure out his role on the farm after he turns 80.

In coaching, we have a road-map called the “cycle of renewal,” I refer to it often in my seminars on planning for change on the farm. Life is not a straight line; it is full of surprises, conflict bumps and turns that we don’t always have a plan for. The cycle of renewal invites folks to think of their life as four phases:

  1. Go for it…when all your goals and actions are aligned, and your life is full of purpose.
  2. Doldrums…when you hit a pothole of despair, discouragement, depression and the sense of feeling trapped.
  3. Cocooning… the place to heal and have time for inner reflection to check out what is working for you in your current roles, and what needs to shift a lot.
  4. Getting ready…the time of learning, networking, experimenting and testing out new approaches to create a whole new chapter. Think of all the farm brides you know who are getting ready to adapt to a new life on the farm with their newly married husbands. And for those of you who chose to be almost married (common-law) you are getting ready for a new role, too!

Why does this matter?

Many farm folks that I have chatted with have a family member who is not coping well with changing roles on the farm. They are seeing depression symptoms like tears, anger, irrational thinking and sadness that won’t go away. The issue is that people can suffer from what is called depression due to circumstances.

Depression is an illness, not who you are. It is treatable and manageable, but you have to seek out good medical help and start talking about your true feelings with your family who cares so much about you!

Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. You can choose to seek out “new work that is worthy of the energy of your heart,” says Donohue. I call it a new passion. Your life is not over at age 80 or 53 when the kids leave home. It is just different. You get a new chapter in the book of life to create something that excites you and feeds your soul. Life is too short to be trapped and depressed.

So how do we get ready?

  1. Make a vision board of what you would like to see in your new chapter. This might mean words that you print, or sayings and pictures that speak to your cherished beliefs and values. Cut up old magazines and place them in a creative way on some stiff board (an old field sign works great!)
  2. Start paying attention to what brings you joy, and do some internal work about the times when you lose all track of time. This is called “flow”. I am in “flow” when I am writing, coaching a group, and visiting with friends.
  3. Figure out what you value. My top seven values are spirituality or knowledge of God, intimacy in being close to another, honesty, challenge to be stimulated, independence (to control self ), friendship, and achievement in accomplishing goals. Clarity of what you truly value will show you what needs to be happening in your life in order to feel aligned to your values and purpose. I am wired to be self-employed, as are many farmers. Once the deal-maker farmer can no longer safely drive tractors, what is he going to do to feel useful? Make new deals in a new business? Volunteer?
  4. You don’t need to sell everything and move. You might want to take baby steps and rent a place in Victoria or Arizona for a few months to test out living in a new community. You might want to rent an apartment in your town, and play more with the grand kids. You might want to go back to school and finish you masters. I know 2 women over 45 who have done this, and they have no regrets.
  5. Let yourself make mistakes and learn from the experience. We have neighbours who moved out of province but are now back. The experiment in moving did not work, and they are happy to be back in a familiar community. It is okay to take a new path.

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t imagine a new life. Just set some new targets and work toward trying out new things. If you are a great handy-man fixer type, there is a new career for you in town! I hire these talented retired farmers!

Journey beyond the “old limits of what has become wearisome.” You are not dead. You have value, and you can create a new chapter for the new stage of life you are facing. Your spouse is counting on you to claim your own sense of well-being and contentment. They cannot do the work for you.

Tell me your story. Send me more Irish poems.

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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