First Job: Working on the family farm
1. People matter most.
The people around you and everyone’s well-being matter most. The people around you, your team, create the energy and momentum that makes things happen. Everyone has a role on the farm and every role is important. Having a great team of people who work well together is the best determinant of success in any venture.
2. Love your community.
Life on the farm is often a team sport that is supported by the whole community. Having the ability to count on others to have your back when you need some help is a force multiplier. Helping others when they need help makes the community stronger. The healthier and more productive the community the more your business can succeed.
3. Believe it and love it.
You really must believe that what you are doing is important, that it is making a difference for the farm, for your community, or for the world. You might call this a mission statement for your company or for yourself but believe in a mission, and more importantly, living one, will fuel you when you need it most.
4. Care for real.
Honestly and truly caring deeply about people, their wellbeing, and their success is one of the most important things you can do to succeed. Caring about your mission and your farm enables you to take on hard challenges and big risks more easily.
5. Smile, laugh and enjoy the ride.
Have fun while you’re doing it. Embrace your opportunity and enjoy the ride. My dad always made it fun to be on the farm, he was the life of the party.
6. Be optimistic.
Optimism is contagious and can drive you to succeed. It’s important to generate positive energy in your team and within yourself, and that is so much easier to do if you approach life with a sense of optimism and hope.
7. Good hard work feels good.
I learned very early in life how to work hard; I was pitching s*** before I was five and throwing hay bales before I was ten. But more importantly, I learned that working hard leads to good results and builds confidence. When a big task comes your way, you know you can seize the day.
8. Listen to learn.
One day I was going out to plow the fields and my dad said something about a wet drainage ditch. I was not really paying attention and was excited to go jump on the tractor and get to work. So, I proceeded to drive straight out into the field and right into the first wet area surrounding the drainage ditch. The tractor was stuck in the mud and I quickly learned the importance of listening to learn. In life, you can learn so much about people, the challenges they are trying to overcome, the work they are doing, their desires for the future and so much more. The more you know, the more effective you can be at helping customers, partners, team members and friends.
9. Do the right thing.
On the farm, our equipment, our partners, our community and our family were all essential to our success. We needed our equipment to work, our partners to be fair, our community to thrive for us to succeed as a family and as a business. The best way to ensure that was to always do the right thing. You know what it is, and you know when you aren’t doing it.
10. Respect others’ knowledge.
You are surrounded by knowledge. Respect and learning from that knowledge presents an opportunity to collaborate. That new knowledge and collaboration enables you to be just a little bit better the next day than you were today. Be better at your job, be better to your friends and to your family, and be better to your community and your partners and customers.