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Rollercoaster weather market raises levels of fear, anxiety

Managing emotion in decision-making will be key to success this year

This year has certainly been a rollercoaster growing season already – and it’s only just started. Between this spring’s weather, markets, government policy debates and global and national events, the operating environment can feel very unstable.

When farm leaders are facing the uncertainty of elements like a wet spring, drawn-out planting season and ensuing weather market, it can create a rollercoaster of emotions. Under the influence of so much anxiety and uncertainty, emotions can end up taking the driver’s seat. They might direct your decision-making perhaps more than you’d like, or at least get a bigger say than usual.

You can recognize this happening if you’ve found yourself thinking something along the lines of, “We have to get our entire crop in the ground this spring – we’ve never failed to get a crop in the ground before,” or “The market has to go higher – there’s just no other possibility.”

What can a farm leader do when emotions like fear, anxiety and regret start to take the wheel? Here are a few basic steps to walk through when you recognize this happening in yourself.

1. Realign with reality

First, it’s time for a reality – and fact – check. Sometimes we may believe things to be a certain way before looking at numbers and other fact-based information. But after reviewing our operation’s numbers during a thorough financial analysis, we might find that in our situation, we may want to make a different decision than we had initially thought.

Our emotions can, at times, lead us to believe things that simply don’t have any actual basis. Information is power when you’re dealing with uncertain situations combined with strong emotions – when you still need to make smart business decisions.

2. Take a step back

When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, stepping back to look at the bigger picture of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it can help provide some context and perspective to the decisions you’re facing in the moment.

Considering “why” you do what you do as a farmer and thinking about some of your big-picture goals for your operation can help in making better decisions in the moment, because you’re in touch with what you really want in the long term.

3. Get an outside perspective

When anxiety, fear or regret enter the decision-making process, thought processes can start to become a bit more difficult or unclear. It’s smart to get a trusted, knowledgeable advisor who can help by bringing a third-party perspective.

Sometimes that person can help us recognize and get clear about our own emotions during a stressful time. That way, we can see how that’s impacting our decision-making. We can then choose to make decisions based on our operation’s numbers, solid information and our goals for our operation. You can get an outside perspective and support by talking with one of our market advisors today.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

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