Sharpen the Saw
The United States is the greatest country in the World, and we owe more than we will ever realize to those that built it with their bare hands. It is easy to look back on the generations that came before us and draw inspiration in our own lives about working hard and “embracing the grind” to be successful in life.
This mindset serves the agriculture community very well, but an unfortunate reality of modern times is that it is easier than ever for those that always saying yes to new projects and plans to become over committed and bogged down. Technology that was designed to make our lives more efficient at multi tasking is a double edge sword. Sometimes we don’t realize that really the most efficient thing for us to do is take a step back, breathe a bit, and think about what it is we are actually “grinding” at and if that is truly leading to progress in our ranch.
I am reminded of one of the best professional development activities that I have had the privilege to take part in. It was a week long program called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” which was based on the Stephen Covey book. We had to disconnect from work obligations the entire week, which I was very reluctant to agree to at the time.
During the training, there was an example of a someone sawing wood. They were working expecptionally hard to keep up with workload and it wasn’t going well. This person was doing what a lot of ranchers do when times get tough; working harder and longer hours. Then, another person comes by and asks the man if he would like help to sharpen the say; and he said “No. I am way too busy for that.” While, it may seem obvious to someone from the outside looking in, we can all get caught up in daily chores and don’t take time to sharpen our own saw.
I encourage you to break away from the ranch this summer and engage in some sheep and goat professional development opportunities.
- TSGRA Annual Convention, July 14 – 16, Kerrville, TX
- American Lamb Summit, Aug. 8-9, East Lansing, MI
- Texas Sheep and Goat Expo, Aug. 19-20, San Angelo, TX
We tend to think about these events as places where we go to gain knowledge and insight that can be helpful to your farm or ranch. While, this is true, these events are also great opportunities to network with other like minded agriculturalists. As the saying goes, “it’s not always what you know, but who you know.” In addition, showing up at these events allows ranchers to share their thoughts and views on the industry with other ranchers, industry leadership and/or politicians.
Getting away from the homeplace for a few days is a challenge, but I think we can agree that sometimes the notion that the “ranch can’t run without me being here 24/7” is actually all in our heads.
I hope to see you at one of more of these events!
To provide feedback on this article or request topics for future articles, contact me at email@example.com or 325-657-7324. For general questions about sheep and goats, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county office. If they can’t answer your question, they have access to someone who can.