Futures Market

Use 2021 to challenge your agribusiness

Despite the ordeal we went through during the-year-that-shall-not-be-named, everyone has an extra spring in their step in the first month of a new year.

And why shouldn’t we? It’s a fresh start, at least for our personal and maybe professional growth. Although we’re still in the midst of a rough spot, it’s safe to say we all, along with our respective industries, have learned quite a bit.

I sure have!

With that in mind, I think it’s a ripe opportunity to discuss how we can take that and channel it in a way that’s very productive – challenging and growing our agribusinesses.

This marks my first full year as a full-time self-employed small business owner. Of late, I’ve expanded my professional skills extensively. To accommodate that, I have quite the list of goals I’d love to accomplish over the next 12 months.

As such, I thought I’d share some of what ideas and mindsets are helping me follow through with them.

Make the most of our changing world

Agriculture is getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is, we are becoming more accepting of change, difficult it may be, for a long-term success.

Agworld had a phenomenal article on just how COVID has changed the way ag does business. In it, author Ryan Humpert explains how the pandemic pushed faster adoption and development of technology that connects people without being face to face.

As I type this, I am in the midst of attending the American Farm Bureau Federation’s first all-virtual convention. Aptly enough the theme is “Strong Together” – which sounds ironic at a first pass considering we are quite literally apart as we meet. Yet, a virtual platform allows more members and non-members to participate who would otherwise have been unable.

Another thing that’s changed is human behavior, consider how e-commerce has been forever changed. Now is the time for agribusinesses to keep pushing forward with these changing tides.

The moral of the story? Network, network, network! I’ve increased my online presence substantially and taken advantage of so many opportunities.

In spite of the pandemic, I’m meeting more people in a professional capacity than I ever have before!

Pace yourself – even when it’s uncomfortable

Along the spectrum of our professional culture is the promotion of workaholism and continual progress. I think the internet has been both blessing and curse in this regard.

Yes, the internet has made it possible to do whatever wherever, but it also makes it that much more difficult to leave work at work.

This is increasingly difficult as we find ourselves side-eyeing those daunting New Year’s resolutions and goals this first month. I am as guilty of this as anyone else, but because I recognize the danger, I feel I am more able to avoid it.

I’ve come to realize every week doesn’t need to one up the last to be successful. Some months you may struggle just to complete all your projects and others you blow past your goals. And that’s ok! The career journey isn’t a straight line, it has highs, lows, dips and curves.

Be accountable

There’s a whole lot of little things that influence if we achieve our goals or not. But there is one thing that without, success is absolutely impossible. This common denominator is the goal setter.

In general, I find self-accountability to be a dying art in our society. But it’s such an important life and professional skill, and I think on New Year’s resolutions are an excellent way to work on this.

What are ways to hold yourself accountable, especially when you’ve set ambitious goals for yourself and your business?

You’ve likely heard how important it is to write down goals. They say written goals are 42% more likely to be achieved compared to those that are not.

But writing something down in a notebook and never looking at it again does nothing. I usually write down overarching goals to heads up a list of individual tasks necessary to accomplish them.

Even if you don’t reach your self-set goal deadlines, that’s okay! If you can track progress and keep them in front of you, you’re more likely to accomplish them even if progress is slower than expected.

Speaking of getting things done, this may sound a bit weird, but I encourage you to annoy yourself. Seriously.

Whenever I have something I’m dragging my feet on, I put a reminder on my phone that will pop up when I anticipate a lull in my day. I don’t delete them until the task is completely. I just put it to “remind me tomorrow” after I’ve done part of it for the day. That way, I’ll be reminded on a daily basis until it’s done.

Hoping you’ve all set impressive goals in the new year. Let’s make it one for the books in 2021!

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