The Farmer's Footsteps - Moving Forward
Our little girl is a natural-born perfectionist – which means that she gets pretty frustrated when she doesn’t immediately master something. How do you teach a kid that mistakes aren’t the end of the world – that they’re even GOOD? Todd and I, both reforming perfectionists, ask ourselves this question daily.
We’ve had to take a good look at ourselves and a deep, refreshing breath of humility and patience to begin to accept our mistakes as a part of growth. Todd tells Mae that he and I mess up on the farm every day. He tells her that we make mistakes that we are responsible for fixing. The first time they had this conversation, she responded with “Really Dad??” – and you could hear the relief in her voice. Our family motto (born during roller-skating lessons) has become “If you’re not falling, you’re not learning!”
I have finally realized that perfectionism is a huge mental block. Todd and I keep working on many projects to improve the farm and move our business forward, but they’re not always pretty! But, they work for now, we learn in the process, and we can always revisit decisions and revamp, rebuild, and redirect.
I think our ugliest, but most useful, addition to the farm is our giant Blue Bell truck freezer! We searched for months for the best solution to store meat, and whether by luck, chance, or divine intervention, a nearby farm had a freezer for sale. It was already rewired to be a freestanding freezer, we just had to find someone to move it. I never realized how big these freezers really were until I saw it riding on the back of a semi on our dirt road!
(Want to know the real reason we had to search for a freestanding freezer solution? After we finished out our farm store/office, we realized we couldn’t fit the freezers we wanted through the door. Whoops. Face Palm. UGH.)
Todd also recently built a brooder barn so that we won’t have to brood chicks behind our house any longer. I was so proud of his handiwork and I shared it alllll over social media. However – we didn’t plan ahead enough and we’ve already outgrown it. Todd has one side ripped off so that we can triple the size. We have chicks coming February 13th, so y’all send us some good vibes that we stay focused and get the barn built. I’m embarrassed to say how much time we’ve spent PLANNING this expansion and not DOING it. That’s the perfectionist in us, and it has definitely taken a toll on our momentum!
Ok – I realize all of the above sounds like a humble brag, and maybe it is. What I want you to know, friends, is that some of our mistakes are rough, and we have had the Instagram-fueled veil of “the quaint and happy farm life” lifted. We’ve dealt with fallout from inadequate management before extreme weather and from poor time management. Each mistake, though, makes us stronger farmers, stronger partners, and hopefully stronger parents. We use them to inspire forward momentum and sharpen our vision for the future. We remain optimistic and energized by the farm! This is the feeling I hope I am passing on to you through my rambling blogs and social media posts. Most importantly, we hope that our mistakes and the way we handle them sets a model for our kids to be fearless in the face of imperfection!
I want to know – what’s your biggest mental block to accomplishing your goals? Tell me in the comments below!