Enjoy the Detour

January 21, 2019 03:01 PM

In a split second, your future can change. I know, that’s a bit dramatic. But we all know the only constant is change. Your farm business will change direction, whether that’s a sharp left or a gradual drift. These detours are an opportunity—not a threat. 

“Change is inevitable, growth is optional,” writes Steve Gilliland, a former businessman and author, in his book, “Detour.” “One assurance we all have is that life comes with bumps. It requires alterations, compromises, strength, forgiveness, hopefulness, trust, love and patience.”

The Three Cs. In life, you face three Cs, Gilliland says. They are: choices, chances and changes. “You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change,” he says. 

On your farm, you’ve made choices that forced you to switch direction. That could be adding a new person to the team, renting an additional farm or diversifying into livestock. Not every decision will yield profitable results. Sometimes we make wrong turns. 

“You have to make a conscious effort to rewrite your story and steer yourself back on track, which takes discipline and courage,” Gilliland says. “Letting go of what isn’t working makes way for what will.”

Luckily, no matter how stressed you are today, tomorrow will offer a new opportunity. And, every detour can teach you a lesson. In “Detour,” Gilliland shares many proactive leadership gems and lessons. Here are a few I liked:

  • Making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
  • Decisions made with an open heart are usually the right ones. 
  • If you pursue happiness, it will elude you. If you focus on family, friends, the needs of others, work and doing your very best, happiness will find you.
  • Knowing your values helps you make choices consistent with what’s important.
  • Being aware of all available options can improve your chances of making smart choices.
  • Even when I’m in pain, I don’t have to be one.
  • Use your smile to change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.

Change Happens. How do you know when you should take a detour? “Perhaps the more appropriate question is how will you feel if you don’t make the change at all? Picture yourself then,” Gilliland says.

A new and better direction for your business doesn’t have to be a colossal plunge. It could be a new grain marketing strategy or approach to team management. 

“If it feels too daunting, break it down into smaller, less risky steps,” he says. “Feeling anxious when you face a detour is normal, but don’t let fear prevent you from heading in the right direction.” 

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