Lessons from the Farm

Lessons from the Farm: Rites of Passage

rites of passage
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We’re continuing the Lessons from the Farm series today. Click here to read some of the previous posts, or click here to subscribe so you don’t miss what’s coming next!

My dad grew up 70 miles from where his operation is centered today and still has some land there. When I was growing up and when I moved back to work on the farm for a few years, we would spend a few days each month going back and forth to “the ranch” to take care of cattle and other things.

The things about owning lands in two different locations, separated by 70 miles, is sometimes you need something at Point A to be at Point B. This could be anything from a tool or part, to a tractor or herd of cattle. So, moving things across the 70 miles was simply a part of the operation.

But throughout all my life, I only had to move “the disc” one time. Now, it’s difficult to describe “the disc” to someone who doesn’t understand the world of farm implements, so I’ll over-simplify it: a disc was something we pulled behind a tractor to plow the ground. A disc is not a plow because it’s a disc, although it does the same thing as a plow, it just uses a different approach. Simple enough, right?

Our lesson today isn’t about the difference, but about one key part of the disc we had to move: when raised and ready to haul, the disc had three wheels side by side by side, which means one wheel was sandwiched between the other two.

In the field, behind a tractor, this was not a problem. But a tractor drives about 5-7 mph, so the wheels never heat up too much, and even if you need to change the wheel, you have the aid of the tractor.

On the highway, behind a pickup traveling somewhere between 55 and 65 mph, this sandwich became a problem.

The one time I had to move “the disc”, you can probably guess what happened–the wheel bearing on the middle wheel went out and needed to be replaced before we finished the trip.

Working on that wheel was one of the worst, most frustrating, and entirely exhausting tasks I had to do in my time back on the farm. Thankfully, I had someone else there to help.

Later, I made a comment to my dad about how frustrating that was and his response took me by surprise: “Yeah, but it’s just kind of a rite of passage.”

You see, he knew moving the disc would probably result in a 2 hour stay at the truck stop trying to fix it. He accepted it as part of life. It wasn’t neglect on our part. It wasn’t foolishness. It wasn’t stupidity. It was natural.

In your leadership, there’s something you’re facing (or have faced) that feels like changing that wheel bearing. You feel frustrated, angry, exhausted, and worn out as a result of it. The reality–you’ll never move forward without doing the hard work that needs to be done.

So today, this week, this month, or this year, know the struggle you’re encountering is something you need to work through, and once you get to the other side you will look back and say “there was no other way.”

Make the most of the time you have today.

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