To step up in my farm business, do I hold on, or let go?

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Posted by Brendon Walsh on 12 June 2017

Stepping up requires letting go

Throughout my 20 years or so spent coaching (personal, sports, mental skills and farm business coaching) I have encountered many great people, many people who want to become great and the vast majority who just want to feel great in their own lives. As with any cross section of the population there is huge variation in thinking, action orientation and degree to which they are willing to overcome their habitual fears. No judgement is necessary here and there is no right or wrong but one of the cool things to emerge from my experiences is the degree to which people are willing to let go, in order to progress to where they really want to be.

I bring this up because I am currently conducting scheduled on-farm visits with some of my GrowFARM® clients as well as spending time with sheep and beef farmers who are curious about how the GrowFARM® system might help them achieve in their lives and businesses. During those conversations, the degree to which people are willing to let go to move ahead can well be tested, and that degree can have a direct effect on their thinking, action taking and results from that point on.

If the person is willing to move ahead, they will let go of the handbrakes on their progress e.g. they will stop trying to do everything on their own and will allow their business team to contribute their best in their specialist areas, in order to achieve a desired result that they hadn’t achieved before. If the person is not willing, then they hold onto those habits to keep the status quo. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Brendon Harrex of Peer Review Ltd in Gore is an outstanding business consultant and accountancy firm owner who clearly understands this point. In a recent GrowFARM client e-newsletter he penned a great article called “New Beginnings.” I want to share it with you here:

 “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” – Hunter S Thompson

As leaders (actually as humans), I don’t think we are made to find our groove in life and simply live in it.  I would say it is not until we are prepared to get out of the groove (some may call this a rut) that we actually find our purpose, come alive, and are able to inspire other people to join us on our quest.  This means moving beyond our comfort zone (actually means being uncomfortable).  If you are not being stretched, facing unanswered questions, being challenged then maybe you are in the comfort zone.  I don’t believe we find what we are truly capable of without being tested, stretched or expanded.  Have you let the passion to try be passed by the fear of failure?

For many of us, it is easy to “get stuck” and therefore we miss out on the potential and the opportunities that lie before us.  Three reasons I believe this occurs are as follows:

New beginnings require new measurements

Sometimes I believe we can judge whether things are right or wrong based on metrics that are simply no longer relevant.  Often we will judge whether something is right or wrong based on whether it comes easily or hard (believing if it is too hard, it can’t be worthwhile).  New beginnings require new ways of measuring/assessing whether something is going well or not.  By continuing to assume that the same rules apply as in the past, we miss opportunities to grow and make progress.  It is important that you develop your own measurements of success early in the new beginning as this avoids the chances of being swayed by other people imposing their measurements upon you.

New beginnings require giving up control

Generally we like to be in control of our lives and our futures.  We are most in control when our future is predictable. There is an element of risk involved when we give up control, however it is only in giving up control that we can really allow others in our team to put their best foot forward and positively impact our business.  It is during periods of challenge that we are much more likely to allow those around us to try new things, rather than trying to do everything ourselves. Forcing ourselves into new beginnings is a way to remind ourselves that certainty minimises risk, and in business, profits come from risk.

New beginnings require leaving the system

Sometimes in life we can forget what the system is for, getting comfortable in it and ultimately, we end up serving the thing that was created to serve us.  Just like business potential can be limited by systems that we have outgrown, so too our human potential can be limited by habits which we are not willing to let go of despite having outgrown them.  Systems are an essential part of life, and for most of us are required to function every day, however it is important to evaluate the merit of systems/processes/habits in your life to ensure they are serving you instead of you serving them!

I believe there is a piece of each of us that leaps when we see courage in action – and people making a new beginning.  It is only when we step out, or come to an obstacle that we are forced to extend ourselves, that the best of us rises up.  For some of us that new beginning or stepping out may be about stopping doing something rather than starting something new.  This can be equally difficult and require just as much courage.  Be encouraged to take that step into something new.


So, what are you willing to let go of, to move through new beginnings on the way to new achievements? As a farmer, perhaps you have been working hard for some years and not quite getting to where you want to be. This may well be classed as a groove (or a rut) and may be a signal that needs heeding.

To be strong business owners with strong businesses, it is imperative that farmers step up their effectiveness, their skills and their thinking abilities as business owners. That requires letting go of some of those comfort zones, such as “this is what I am used to so this is what I do,” and learn to do what it takes to get to where you really want to be. We need strength in the minds of our farm business owners so they can create strong businesses, leading to a strong industry. The reason we have a weak industry is because generally the minds and businesses within it are weaker than we really need.

As business owners, we all have that choice but for our industry to be strong we need more farmers to make the positive choice to step up as business thinkers and action takers. If we can do this we can all share in the results of a strong industry.

So once again, what are you willing to let go of, to move through new beginnings on the way to new achievements? 

If you are curious about how the GrowFARM® System can help sheep and beef farmers generate the profits they really want, contact me here.

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