The operation you run today is either one you’ve grown yourself or that has been entrusted to you. Therefore, you are a custodian of a dream. You must defend, oversee and guard that dream into the future.
“The pain of failing on somebody’s dream—whether it’s yours or someone else’s you’re protecting—is huge. Failure is not an option,” says Jim Craig, goalie for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey team.
The way you grow a dream into the future is by learning how to cope with change, Craig told attendees at the 2017 Top Producer Seminar.
“Focus on the future and learn from the past,” he coaches. “Always keep improving your skills to remain competitive. If you wait until you’re comfortable to embrace change, it will be too late.”
Go For Gold. Craig knows a thing or two about overcoming seemingly impossible odds. During the game against the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics, he stopped 36 of 39 shots. Craig’s focus and composure helped the U.S. team win 4–3. Two days later, he again led the way with a 4–2 victory over Finland, clinching the gold medal.
Of course, the hard work and long hours put in before the games made all the difference. The team threw out old ways of playing hockey and embraced a revolutionary form of the game with a common focus.
That let them create an unbeatable team together. “The only easy day was yesterday,” he says. “You have to compare yourself to the very best. Make your weaknesses your strengths and your strengths even stronger.”
Common Bonds. Beyond hearing inspirational speakers, attendees at Top Producer Seminar enjoyed meeting peers from across the country. One of my favorite things about our industry is how quickly you can connect with someone you’ve just met.
Growing up, my family had a farrow-to-finish hog operation. They have since left the hog business, so I was excited to take a trip down memory lane at the modern hog facility managed by siblings Clare and Drew Schilling.
Clare and I quickly bonded over the tricks we tried to get that unyielding hog smell off our hands after spending a day in the farrowing house.
We relished sharing stories of our grandmas. Both ladies were spunky, hardworking and sharp business women who preferred to spend their time working in fields and with livestock. Our strong female role models taught us you can and should do everything.
Clare and I are living our dreams, thanks to the amazing examples our grandmothers provided. Now, it is up to us to inspire and assist the next generation of farmers. As Craig says: “If you don’t tell people what your dreams are, people can’t help you get them.”