11 Ways to be Self-Renewing on the Farm this YearI wish I had gone to bed earlier last night instead of filing emails until midnight. I should know better since I need to get a really good sleep to stay on top of the daily demands of the farm. Vacuuming 4 shop vacs of water out of our water-logged basement this morning only reminded me to be thankful for the dry years.

I have no idea what kind of summer you are having. It might be scorching hot and dry on your farm, or you might be having a forced sabbatical with very few acres to harvest. Regardless of your external circumstances, as your coach, I have the Hudson Institute’s 11 tips for staying power – ways to be self-renewing.

1. Stay Value Driven

Do the things that are important to you that align with your cherished beliefs. Filter out the information overload we all experience with the internet, cell phones, texts, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and stay vitally engaged with your dreams and plans. For me, this means showing up at my home office to meet writing deadlines, coach folks by phone, and arrange new seminar dates. On the farm front, it means appreciating the warm sun on your back as you complete the next chore with an attitude of gratitude that you will manage your way out of the mess. You might want to write a “thank-you” note to the folks who helped you with flood control or renew some ties with old friends. As you de-clutter the stinky basement, you might find some household items to bless a needy family or your local thrift store. Less is more.

2. Connect to Your Community and the Global Agriculture Tribe

I love reading articles about successful young farmers and older entrepreneurs who are using creative business models. Our son brought home a bag of Covered Bridge chips, and then I read about the company in Country Guide. We have tools, like Google, to search information and make connections around the world. Install Skype on your computer if you have high-speed internet and start conversing with folks around the globe.

My New Zealand coaching friend connects with me on Skype and we encourage each other. The internet was also a useful diversion for my husband during the incessant rains during “normal” seeding time. We ended up with a piece of equipment to increase the fun factor of our camping adventures.

3. Spend Time in Your Quiet Chair

I have a special comfy chair in the corner of my kitchen where I spend at least 20 minutes every morning to read, reflect, journal, and pray. Finding time each day for solitude and quiet is a great practice to renew your body, mind, and spirit. Some farm men go out with a cup of coffee on their decks to write out the action plan, or mind maps their next project. This “using your noodle time” pays big dividends. When is the last time you just sat and pondered your life?

4. Pace Yourself

Pacing is my theme word for this year, and boy did I not see the “slow down to a screeching halt” coming in January. We had no idea that we would have to have a mindset shift to farm weeds instead of seeds this year. We are going to manage yard projects and the unseeded fields, but we also plan to have fun camping, going to celebrations, and finding a different pace this fall. Have tea or coffee with someone you respect for their sense and ability to control pacing and life balance. Put what you learn from them into practice. Sign up for Pat Katz’s weekly encouragement to “pause.”

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5. Get  Outdoors to Let Nature Soothe You

Have a picnic on the tailgate of your pickup. Nature for farmers is part of their daily routine. When the sun is shining, and the birds are singing, and you actually notice the orioles on the yard, then nature is renewing. Don’t forget the parks and fun spaces in your backyard or municipality. When folks from Toronto walk down my lane they exclaim “the air here is exquisite!” Get some fresh air mixed with fun activities, or make play out of your haying work. The other day when I ground a smiley face into the gravel on my 2-mile walk, I looked up and actually saw a huge smiley face in the cirrus clouds. I took a photo with my iPod and thanked God for the reminder of His care for me, even in the tough times.

6. Be Creative and Playful

Give your inner child more freedom to be. This might be sports, volunteering at the fair, or dancing your heart out. Play with children and blow bubbles this summer at the beach.

7. Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional

We all need to adapt to change and be flexible. Many folks in Manitoba will be dealing with water issues all summer. We need to keep positive and help each other out. Farmers call other farmers for wisdom on how to manage the new scenario of no crop. Make the call. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance and create new ways of managing.

8. Learn From the Down Times

I am learning to “lighten up” according to Peter Walsh’s book of the same title. He has a great life tension audit tool that I’ve adapted (contact me for a copy). Once we identify why we are in a funk and disappointed, we can learn from these experiences. Since I’ve been looking at my basement storage boxes on a daily basis since March, I don’t forget about them, and I plan to make several trips to the dump! Never underestimate your power to resist change. Process your feelings and resistance, then act!

9. Be a Life-Long Learner, Always be in Training

Self-renewing persons never stop learning. I read many books and write notes while I read so that I can translate my learning for you as farm families. Last night I got caught up in the webinars that had languished in my inbox for too long. I write notes as I listen, or clean out my desk drawers. It’s best not to multi-task though, just focus on the insights of your readings and audio experiences. Start getting to know your local librarian, and use e-books and inter-library loan this summer. Your taxes have paid for this service, and learning new things might just be the jet fuel you need to get that next project launched. Money may be tight, but be creative to access learning sites and resources to inspire you. Trade books with your friends.

10. Lean Into The Future

A woman who was a self-confessed planner decided to drop the oars and let life happen. You might try that approach, yet coaches will encourage you to rehearse new scenarios for how the future might be and choose the one you believe in. Plan on taking the next step.  Beach time or sitting under the shade of your favorite tree, might be the perfect spot to map out how you want to live your enthusiasm. If farming has got you down this summer, how are you planning to re-ignite your passion?  For our family, having a young son, a potential successor to mentor, keeps us considering many of his creative ideas for the farm’s future.

11. Develop the Leader Within You

Be a leader of yourself first. Be clear about the internal factors that are helping or hindering your own personal growth. Lead your family. Lead your farm business. Connect with other leaders. Personal leadership is a natural outgrowth of folks who succeed at life.

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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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
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G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
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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
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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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