Check It Out: Don’t Leave Cattle on the Truck

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This will be my next to last week for our Check It Out Series.

Today’s Check It Out links back to the Lessons from the Farm series and is titled: Don’t Leave Cattle on the Truck. This is possibly one of the most valuable lessons I gleaned from the farm, so check it out!

Check it Out: Same Destination, Different Paths

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I cannot tell you the amount of time I’ve spent in my life moving cattle. But, that doesn’t mean we can learn something anyway.

That’s where this post comes in. Here’s a line:

Mapquest can’t map out a cattle drive.

Click over for the rest.

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Lessons from the Farm: Work Until the Job is Done

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Today I am going to finish up my first theme. I’m calling these posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here, or click the Lessons from the Farm Category to the left.

If you haven’t read the first part of this post, click here. Okay, that’s all the links for now.

Our leadership principle for today: never leave cattle on the truck. There will be tasks and opportunities that cannot be left until they are completed.

A worthwhile harvest never happens if you do not plant with urgency.

Cattle out on the highway cannot wait until the morning.

A student in the emergency room at 2am needs attention.

And sometimes, driving home through a blizzard to safely deliver the herd cannot be stopped because it’s “quitting time”.

Every day in my ministry, I face different tasks, responsibilities, and opportunities. Each one presents a different challenge and a different dynamic, and my job is to find which ones cannot wait until tomorrow, and do them.

Sometimes the line is clear. Sometimes it is not. But I have made the commitment to always be willing to do the work that is necessary.

Because I will never leave cattle on the truck.

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Lessons from the Farm: Don’t Leave Cattle on the Truck

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This week I am going to finish up my first theme. I’m calling these posts “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the first post here, or click the Lessons from the Farm Category to the left.

Just a little background: My lesson today comes from a more recent learning. A few years back, I took a break from full time ministry to serve bi-vocationally. During that time, farming and ranching was my main income, but the lessons learned have not left me yet.

A winter weather storm was moving our direction one day, and it was time to buy more cattle (2 Semi trucks and one 40 foot stock trailer worth). That meant we had three trips from the sale barn to the farm, and only two drivers.

My dad and I made the first trip, he was in the truck and I was in the pickup pulling the stock trailer. We unloaded at home around 7:30, and decided to ride back together, arriving back at the sale barn at 9pm behind 8 trucks waiting to load.

While we waited, the winter storm hit. Snow started lightly falling at first. Eventually, the brunt of storm hit and we were waiting in a snow covered parking lot. Our trailer was still empty.

We got home, unloaded, and walked into our houses that night well after midnight. My pregnant wife was struggling awake, waiting to make sure we got home safely.

The lesson: We never left cattle on the trucks. Weather, exhaustion, anger, confusion, or any other reason. We always worked until the job was done.

Thursday I will finish unpacking what I learned from that night. Until then, I’ll leave you with this question: are you willing to drive an 18-wheeler loaded with cattle through a snow storm to finish the task at hand? What are you leaving unfinished that needs to be finished?

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Lessons from the Farm: Same Destination, Different Paths

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Welcome to my series called “Lessons from the Farm”. You can read the other posts here.

Just a little background: I grew up working on my Dad’s farm. As I’ve grown older and spent more time away, there are few leadership principles I have realized along the way.

When I got into high school, my dad started raising more cattle. Part of raising cattle is moving them from one place to another. Over the years, we moved countless herds.

A lesson I had to quickly learn was to find the balance between knowing the destination and not getting stuck on having to stay on one single path. Map quest will not map out a path for a cattle drive.

When moving cattle you have to know your destination and push the herd in the general direction, understanding sometimes you’re not going to move in a straight line.

The same is true in leadership. Knowing our destination is vitally important, but we have to be careful about being completely tied to the path we’ve laid out. If we are unwilling or unable to adjust to the unexpected detours or slight course alterations, we become too rigid and no one wants to follow us.

Learning how to lead includes learning how to accommodate the unexpected and use the forward momentum to move toward the destination.

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