Recently Mike Lipkin of www.mikelipkin.com 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.
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.