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Leading Through Life

Since our Class V journey began, we’ve each faced numerous personal challenges; job changes, workplace crisis, family emergencies, conflicts, changes, and all amid COVID. I find our sessions to be eye opening, reflective of self, and help me refocus. The last two years some things I’ve learned- managing the stress, not taking things personally, don’t lose sight of your goals, try something new, and the importance of finding your people. After all, if you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead anyone else!

Stress Management

One thing often forgotten in leadership is stress management. At work and home there is an expectation we can do it all. My granduncle has this saying, “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.” It is so true. I’m constantly amazed looking at my cohort how we all fit into this category.  I feel passionately about what I do and must have 100 things going on or else I don’t know what to do with myself.  When I am stressed, I try to look at something as an opportunity. The challenge is what makes it exciting, instead of overwhelming. Sometimes, I just need to take some time off! And that’s okay. Having an approach to stress management that works for you because like with life there’s not a one size fits all approach. I’m still learning but I know I’m a better leader for it.

It’s Not Personal

When people are upset, they have taken something personally. I read a book last year called “The Four Agreements”. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. It made me rethink some of my actions and views. Basically, I learned to let it go! Whatever I get upset about, it’s not worth it.  Good communication and a way to move forward are always the best policy.  Do not assume someone is doing something intentionally most of the time they are unaware of your feelings.

Goal Orientation

I struggle with this one. Possibly because I like going in multiple directions at the same time and why do I have to choose one thing? The last few months I’ve made had a shift–Why are my only goals work related? It made me realize that I have not prioritized my family or my friends. I’ve spent the first decade of my career focused on my career.  Not that being career minded is bad, but there’s a lot more out there to work towards. At some point we all must figure out what matters most and let go of everything else.

Comfort Zone

Well, my comfort zone is why I wanted to be part of VALOR. The change up, letting go of some control, trying something new, looking through a different lens, coming up with new solutions to old problems. I don’t like being stagnant. While I like my routines and having a plan, I also like doing things differently. Taking opportunities when they arise or better yet making an opportunity. Once you let go of things weighing you down, you can devote all your energy into something you find meaningful. If you do not move forward, you will always be in the same place.

Support Systems  

There are a lot of negative people who hold you back, and they call themselves friends. When I was growing up, we called these people frenemies. We need to find people to support us in our goals and challenge us to do better. Anyone else is simply dragging you down. I always find it hard to cut ties with someone, but it is for the best and I’ve never regretted it.    

Looking around the room at my cohort, we are ALL leaders and we’ve ALL been leaders for a long time. We are part of so many organizations and have been on different paths. I tend to focus on the getting to see different sides of the AG industry, but one of the best parts of VALOR is the cohort you experience it with. I think I have learned just as much, if not more from each of you as I do at the different farm/industry visits.

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