The Lesson of VALOR

It’s been a year since my last blog… (tisk tisk) I’m about to have a critical conversation with you. Please listen patiently as I guarantee I’ve strayed off topic, but I swear this is earnest.
VALOR has been great but with farm and family life I have been a bit distracted. The farm, of which I was the second generation, is lost. My family fought hard to retain the homes, land and investments but we were too late. As a student of the VALOR experience I have tried to look at this as a lesson. We, who invested a million sore muscles and stress headaches into the farm, are devastated. I cannot tell this story. Instead, I ask you to understand that losing the farm is a deep cut filled with good memories and pain.
The lesson of Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results:
Virginia – well, that’s easy… Agriculture. I was defined as a producer. I made a product by growing stuff. Now, I’m more like a contributor. I’m the support staff. It’s time to redefine my role. Leader. That’s a description that others attribute. I think leadership is something that comes from the act of doing. If one is doing something that others follow then he’s a leader. Obtaining. To obtain is to get. I don’t feel successful at ‘obtaining’ since I just participated in dis-obtaining the farm and all its stuff. The farm is gone. Results. The end product. We hope the end product is good, right? With a recent loss, hope is harder to see. Results are sometimes only seen in hindsight. Maybe, the measurable change has already happened. We just can’t see it yet.
To borrow a quote from Frank Johnson, “Ultimately, we are talking about change–from bad to good or good to good. So, the next time you have to engage in a tough talk think about how you also handled communication of great news and it might provide ideas in how to have the challenging conversations.”
The Lesson I learned:
I‘ve put off talking about the farm for months now. I think you know why. It’s the critical conversation that I didn’t want to have but hey, it’s VALOR, I’m supposed to be brave.
Valor is also defined as “great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.” Oxford Dictionary.  There’s an agricultural conversation going on folks. I have learned that it is these critical conversations that make the difference. Courage to talk about the hard stuff comes from my experiences with my VALOR cohort. We, as a team, have tackled every issue presented to us and we have had these critical conversations repeatedly. This is what VALOR is all about.
I look forward with anticipation and regret. We have two more sessions and that is all. We become alumni. Hey, I like the sound of that! Alumni… it has a certain prestige… yeah. Bring it! But not too fast, I’m having so much fun learning with my extended farm family, VALOR III.

1 thought on “The Lesson of VALOR”

  1. An alternate view of one point: “Obtaining. To obtain is to get. To get one’s family health back. To get a new job. To get professional growth. To get one’s act together. To get a new home. To get new colleagues/friends/fellows. To get a greater quality of life.” Obtaining a glass half full perspective, if achievable, can be infinitely more rewarding than the alternative.

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