The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Comparing Stories

The story is told of a doctor that met with a group of his peers that met regularly to discuss challenges they faced with their patients. On this particular evening the doctor presented a story of one of his patients that had died due to a strange illness that he had not been able to diagnose and all methods of trying to find solutions had failed. His peers were quite helpful in discussing various ideas that could have worked to save the patient. Suddenly the doctor got up to leave. When asked where he was going he informed them that the patient was still alive and due to the discussion he now knew what was needed.

As you all know by now I am an avid golfer and as such tend to read lots of articles pertaining to this sport. I am often intrigued when a player is interviewed and they talk about some of their struggles and the way they have the ability to fix those little idiosyncrasies that tend to mess with their game. They spend a lot of time practicing and will often share tips with their fellow golfers. Always found that rather ironic because helping a fellow competitor means they will improve and lessen your own chances of winning. But clearly that is a way to learn.

In the past, when I have written about talking and listening, I have done it in the context of mental health. I know how valuable that has been for me and for others. This go around I am approaching this from a different angle. I am affiliated with a company that promotes the concept of peer groups, similar to the group that the doctor attended. Groups where participants can compare stories, talk about what went right, what went wrong, what works and what doesn’t work. This becomes an important learning tool as farmers need all things available to survive and succeed.

This is just a small example of how “talking about it” can be helpful. We have a tendency to withdraw and isolate ourselves when we face challenges in life. That in itself is quite counterproductive. The more we open up to others the more we find small nuggets of helpful information. From innovative ideas on farming to helpful tips on managing conflict or stress, talking and sharing will improve your outlook on your business, your relationships, and your life. It is rather interesting how we learn from each other. So take the time to share with others. What you take home from that conversation could be a life changer.

This year brought another round of challenges. Last fall had been dry, not much snow in the winter, record breaking heat and drought this summer, and then an early thrust into what should be fall but feels more like early winter. The best made plans did not work out. So as this year draws to a close we wonder what might have been, what would have worked better. Our inner critic likes to remind us of where we went amiss, where we came up short. We have a tendency to look at others, who by all outward appearances seemed to fare better than us. But did they? Have a conversation.

Whether its work related or going on a holiday, we can always use input from others. Their experiences may well help us in doing better. Perhaps I will need to take this to heart myself. I have actually admitted to some that I seem to be addicted to golf which may create some issues when the season comes to an end. I may need a support group. Perhaps therapy. A story best left for another day. In the meantime I need to find some help with my putting. Perhaps I can gain some tips from others that play the game. Who knows, I may shoot par yet. Then again, there is always next year. Make it a good one.

“Sometimes the most valuable lessons come from people who didn’t intend to give them.” Unknown

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