With the pressures of dollar fluctuations, low commodity prices, rising compliance and fixed costs coupled with weather extremes affecting farmers it is a good time to talk about resilience.
The more resilient you are the quicker you will recover from crisis situations and learn to deal with pressures better in the future. Anyone can learn resilience and farmers can certainly benefit from new strategies around managing stress and planning for success in their business.
If you want to learn resilience then look no further than New Zealand’s own adventure racing guru Steve Gurney. In his book ‘Eating Dirt’ Gurney explains resilience in a way that is easy to understand for the average kiwi and if you are really serious on managing your life better it is certainly worth reading.
If anyone can give a rendition of resilience it is Steve Gurney. When we think of Steve we think of some mad capped ultra-fit kiwi who has won the Speights Coast to Coast nine times and breaks world records like crossing the searing Sahara desert by wind power just for fun. In reality though he is just like you or me. He was some scrawny kid at school that wasn’t good at sports and had plenty of failures before he hit the big time. His accomplishments come from an intrinsic deep seated attitude, constantly learning to re-invent himself and pain plenty of pain.
In ‘Eating Dirt’ Gurney, eloquently as ever, explains the 3 different choices you have when dealing with a crisis. “Consider a wild ride on a wagon or a horse as a metaphor for a crisis situation. The choices are staying on the wagon, falling off the wagon, or driving the wagon”.
Part of the Ag-coaching exercise helps farmers drive the wagon. Everyone is different but the rules are the same for all.
- Use failure as a chance to learn. If you don’t try something you will forever be confined by the box you sit in. Learn to function on the edge of your comfort zone.
- You can choose to be the Passenger or the Driver. Learn positively from the situation, learn good coping skills and personal growth.
- You can see obstacles as hurdles or cliff faces. The more you prepare to climb the cliff the more you will realise it is only a hurdle.
- If something is new to you embrace it, learn about it and conquer it. Compliance regulations are a fine example.
- It is not how you start the race that is important it is how you finish that counts. How you want to finish determines how you prepare yourself for the start.
- If you want it you will have to work for it. No adventurer has won a major race without significant preparation so what makes you think that you can be successful in farming without putting in the extra preparation and hours of hard work.
- Balance. You must have balance in your life. You must have an outlet for your focus away from your business to relax and sharpen your mind.
- Finally, Eat healthy and keep fit. The old saying ‘My body is my temple’ has never held so true. The Dairy NZ pitstops painted a poor picture of farmers health.
It is time to Eat some Dirt and face the challenges head on.
Thanks to Steve Gurney for allowing reference to his book in the aid of farmers who want to learn resilience.