It's Time to Reduce Tension on the FarmRecently Mike Lipkin of offered me a checklist of champions. This checklist encouraged me to think about what it takes to be a champion on the farm. From my thought process, I created a checklist of what might be creating tension on your farm when you don’t feel like a champion.

Take a few moments for self-care and self-awareness to review the key points of this checklist. It will help you identify areas where you can creatively fix your “farm stress mess” this year.

[Tweet “@MikeLipkin’s Checklist of Champions helped me reduce tension on the #farm, now let it help you.”]

Farmer’s Checklist of Champions:

Stress from Farming with Family

  • Job dissatisfaction. No ability to make decisions because the founder won’t let go!
  • Future job potential, but there are no agreements in place.
  • Work projects, where the farm work is “never done.”
  • Deadlines. Well actually we don’t have any – that is the problem!
  • Expectations are unrealistic for 2016!!
  • Education, when you would like more but don’t know how to make it work.

Stress from Money and Finances

  • Income is irregular, but we need to meet our family living needs.
  • Credit card debt is too high. Should we cut up the cards?
  • Farm debt for land is overwhelming us.
  • Operating loans are maxed out.
  • Retirement plans are nil. Parents will just “re-invent and take on new roles.”
  • Savings sounds good, but how do I feed the tax free savings account?
  • Cash flow/spending habits are an issue. We don’t track our spending.
  • Emergency fund needs to be built, but three months of salary is $9K!
  • Future money needs, when money is all going back into the farm.
  • Past financial mistakes have scared parents about hiring expert advisors.
  • Investments all go back into capital purchases for the farm, giving no personal wealth bubble.
  • Mortgage on our house is difficult.
  • Living expenses/bills seem to be increasing with young children.
  • Care giving costs are something our aging parents refuse to talk about.
  • Planning for the future sounds good, but we must find a certified financial planner.

Stress from Health Issues

  • Overall health status is not where I would like it to be.
  • Appearance could be improved; I don’t like muffin tops!
  • Weight has been an ongoing issue and now my doctor is encouraging weight loss.
  • Fitness is not staying on the couch. I need to walk and workout more.
  • Current health challenges are impacting my sleeping patterns.
  • Stress load will always need managing. I need more time for self-care.
  • Mental well-being is critical.  Am I depressed? Should I ask my doctor for the test?
  • Future health is a concern as my aging friends are getting sick.
  • Chronic conditions are being managed, but I need to check family history.

Stress from Personal Tensions

  • Time management. What is the most important thing to do, not just the most urgent?
  • Household management. How can I ask for more help or delegate tasks?
  • Personal hygiene/upkeep. Grooming is slipping. Slob alert.
  • Priorities/organization. I need to write my action plan down with deadlines.
  • Is my faith growing with connection to other believers and community?
  • Assessing my ability to get things done/reach goals.
  • Making a difference/giving back to my community.
  • Monitoring happiness/emotional stability.
  • Confidence/self-esteem as I become a life-long learner.
  • Sense of balance is fleeting; an unresolvable issue.
  • Sense of personal fulfillment with farming and family.

Stress from Relationships

  • Spouse/partner – are we working on making our relationship stronger?
  • Are siblings in contact and do they understand our vision for our farm?
  • Are parents transparent and sharing their future life chapter expectations?
  • Are children engaged with farm chores and learning to be independent?
  • Do we have extended family members to celebrate good times with us?
  • Are friends’ part of our weekly plans to stay connected?
  • Do neighbors know they can ask for help? Do we appreciate each other?
  • Are co-workers at the farm appreciated, engaged, and happy to be on the team?
  • Are farm managers learning to let go and delegate responsibility to others?

Assessing Your Stress and Tension

In which category did you check the most boxes? This is your greatest source of stress and tension.  Are your sources of tension mostly about relationships? Money? Health?

What are your top 5 sources of tension?

As an example, are your relationships drawing you closer to your vision and goals or blocking you? Are you paying attention to your intuition and inner voice to take better care of yourself?

Once you identify the main sources of tension in your life, you can start to work on them.  Knowing which areas of your life need improvement will help you be more intentional about working on those areas.

What do you want to let go of?

What do you want to hold on to?

What do you want to take on?

What do you want to move on?

New paths will appear…new beginnings.

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.


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“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
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Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
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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
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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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