I’m surrounded by green grass and record cattle prices – right now, the life of a rancher is pretty darned good. On a personal note, we hired a bright young guy and we are excited about taking our operation to the next level.
I have three kids in high school, which means all three will likely be in college at the same time. Thus, the incentive to grow our operation and increase profits is pretty much a necessity. Yes, from my perspective, it’s an exciting and fun time to be in the cattle business.
However, I talked to a farmer/rancher this week who didn’t share my enthusiasm. For various reasons, he feels the weight of the world is upon his shoulders, and those closest to him are not only negative, but highly critical of him.
What surprised me by this conversation is that this individual is a big success in most people’s eyes. It gave me some perspective that life isn’t a glorious ride for anyone; everyone has their ups and downs.
Not surprisingly, he was struggling to regain the motivation and excitement he once had. He knows a lot of his problems are self-inflicted, but his relationship with his partners has deteriorated to the point that his productivity and motivation aren’t what they should be.
Motivation can be influenced by outside sources, but the harsh reality is that it is largely self-determined. As my acquaintance and I talked this week, we agreed that we can’t allow others to determine our attitude and motivation. The question, of course, is how one keeps the right attitude and remains motivated when outside forces seem overwhelmingly negative. We came up with a couple of points I think are worth sharing:
Be consumed by a big dream.
It’s critical to have a vision or a purpose that is larger than yourself. My friend admitted he’d lost sight of that bigger purpose, and that’s when his motivation and his results began to wane. He realized that he wasn’t focusing on a purpose big enough to inspire him.
Generally speaking, my greatest motivation is my love for my family. I love my kids and I want to provide for them. Others are motivated by other factors; you just need to find the thing that fuels your passion.
Think positive thoughts.
Negative thoughts can suck the life out of anyone. This man’s partner had turned into a pessimist who was always looking for the worst and, not surprisingly, usually finding it. My friend had nearly stopped communicating with his partner because the interactions left him feeling more negative and defeated.
Unlike a friendship gone bad, you can’t just avoid a business partner. So my friend had to look to outside sources for positive energy and influences. He decided to look to his faith, some key verses and positive quotes for an answer. He also said he’d begin to search out and interact with people who could inspire rather than defeat him.
Over time, with a recharged attitude, my friend might even help inspire his business partner to regain his higher purpose and positive attitude toward life. But that is in the future. A year from now, my friend may have dissolved the partnership, or it may be flourishing. One thing I don’t doubt is that, with his newfound resolution, he himself will be flourishing.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Farm Progress Group.
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