Farm Progress

Where we focus can make a big difference.

Darren Frye, CEO

July 23, 2018

3 Min Read

Many people would say certain thought patterns can keep them from having a good night’s rest – such as thoughts that won’t stop circling around. Farmers are no exception. Often, these thoughts are related to whatever we’re most anxious about at the time.

At night, there’s a tendency to focus on some of the most anxiety-producing things that we’re dealing with. This might be around issues that feel out of our control in some way – so big that they can seem overwhelming.

Perhaps there are worries over the financial condition of the farm, or what your banker might tell you at your next meeting with him or her. Maybe it’s about how this year’s crop will turn out. It could be the future of your operation – who is going to lead the farm in the future, or whether that person is truly ready to manage the operation.

Sort it out

In all things, there are likely to be some aspects that aren’t under our immediate control. However, focusing on those parts tends to lead to more anxiety or feelings of powerlessness. That’s not a good place to be.

Instead, start trying to look at the situation with a wider lens. Begin by sorting out what you truly cannot control from what you can control or influence in some way. Figure out exactly which aspects of the issue you have some sort of influence over. In doing this, sometimes we find we actually have more influence or options than we originally thought.

Once you’ve identified the areas where you can influence your situation, it’s time to create an action plan for steps you will take. What are a few simple actions you can take to help get back in the driver’s seat? Who are the right people to help?

For example, in the scenario I mentioned earlier about the farm’s financial condition, you could enlist an ag finance advisor to analyze the farm’s current financial state. Then they can recommend some areas to help make your operation more efficient. Or if you’re concerned about the farm’s future, you can start by initiating conversations with your family about the future to get the ball rolling toward more concrete plans, and begin working with a farm legacy advisor.

Positive momentum

Focusing on what we can influence or control instead of on what we cannot control tends to help bring increased peace of mind – and maybe even more restful sleep at night. It helps us look at what we cando rather than what’s actually out of our hands.

This focus is so valuable because it helps us take positive action toward real solutions to the issues we’re facing within our operation. And taking those actions can build more positive momentum as we work to create the farm operation we really want.

We can choose to stop wasting time and energy worrying about what we cannot control anyway. I know that this is certainly more easily said than done. It takes a lot of practice before it becomes second nature – probably a lifetime!

What’s keeping you up at night? Talk with a farm business advisor to pinpoint some next steps and solutions for what you’re dealing with now.

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

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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