“Every day may not be great, but there’s something great in every day.” This simple message is a good one to ponder as we enter the spring planting season—a time full of optimism, excitement and typically a few challenges.
Chris Koch, a farmer, adventurer, athlete, world traveler and motivational speaker, shared this message at the 2018 Top Producer Seminar in Chicago. Looking at his resume and hearing his outlook on life, you’d never guess he was also born with no arms or legs.
Koch grew up in the farming community of Nanton, Alberta, which is just south of Calgary. As a child, he rode in combines and tractors with his grandpa and fell in love with farm life. His physical limitations were no match for his desire to enjoy the world around him.
“Anything anyone can do, I’m able to do as well,” says Koch, 38. “My mom and dad realized early on that they needed to step back and let me do things on my own. We all need to fall down. Then we need to learn how to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off.”
Koch jokes that he looks like “Humpty Dumpty, who had a great fall.” But he actually has great balance. For years, he wore artificial legs. “Then I bought a skateboard and realized it was way easier than my prosthetics,” he says. “Plus, it’s a way cooler way to get around.”
The Right Outlook. Surprisingly, Koch says his physical challenges have been far easier to overcome than the mental ones.
“There are days where I think, ‘If I had arms and legs, life would be a lot easier,’” he says. “When you’re having a bad day, you want to blame it on something. But a lot of times, my bad days have nothing to do with missing arms and legs—it’s that 6" of space between the ears that gets in the way. Our brains are the strongest muscle we have in our bodies. But it’s also the biggest obstacle we have in our lives.”
This outlook, combined with a good sense of humor and supportive family, have helped Koch achieve his goals and encourage others. He is quick to say he’s far more afraid of regret than of failure. “I want to look back on life and say, ‘I did as much as I possibly can,’” he says. “It is in times of failure I’ve learned the most.”
Your Next Step. You can learn more about Koch’s background and adventures at ifican.ca. “If I Can...” is his project that encourages people to live life to the fullest. I hope his message inspires you to look past the many challenges and factors beyond your control and seize new opportunities for your farm business. Ignore naysayers, control your own happiness and don’t be afraid of small business missteps.
“The core of human spirit comes from new experiences,” he says. “Do not wait until conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the perfect conditions.”