So I broke a promise to myself last week. I said at the beginning of the year I was going to write a blog post every week for the year 2020. One of my big goals is to eventually write a book, so composing a blog post every week is how I am working my way to that goal. Well life happened last week! For those of you following on social media, you know Keri has been partaking in an intense yoga teacher training this month. That means that a lot of the parenting this month has fallen solely on my shoulders. With a town job, a farm, and podcasting all added to doubling up on parenting duties, I’ve had to put writing on the backburner a bit.
I’m back at it this week… hopefully bringing you two blog posts..I will be flying to San Antonio this week to speak at a session at Commodity Classic focusing on the stresses involved in farm succession. Another big goal of mine is to speak at a major ag event in the future (Think National FFA). So to be on a stage speaking, no matter the topic or the size of the crowd, is a huge step in that direction. This will be broadcast live on the internet so stay tuned to my socials to find out when and where you can find it.
This weekend on my run, I finished up my audio book Atomic Habits by James Clear. The concept behind this book is that by making tiny changes, on the “Atomic” level, you can get 1 % better each day. By getting 1% better each day, small habit changes can compound into huge changes down the road. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. This is one of the core philosophies of Atomic Habits: You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. In this book, you’ll get a proven plan that can take you to new heights.
“When working against you, your identity creates a kind of pride that encourages you to deny your weak spots and prevents you from truly growing.” Your identity, whether you realize it or not, can be the very thing holding you back from being your true self.James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
In the final chapter of the book, Clear talks about how your perceived identity can hold you back in your progression to a better self. “When working against you, your identity creates a kind of pride that encourages you to deny your weak spots and prevents you from truly growing.” Your identity, whether you realize it or not, can be the very thing holding you back from being your true self.
This hits home with me on so many levels. There have been countless times in my own life when I have felt my identity hold me back from achieving things that I truly wanted in life. I’ll use my new found love of running as an example. I used to look at running as something that someone without anything better to do did with their time. I would see a runner and think “must be nice to not be so busy.” I was using my perceived identity as a man who worked both a job in town and a farm mixed with being a father and husband to justify my inability to pursue something great. I would turn my nose up in insecurity.
The same goes for my podcast, blog, and new found presence on social media. A very hard thing I have had to overcome was that I should not be doing the things I am because I am a man. I see so many women, especially in agriculture, in this space as a prospective influencer that I feel like this is something I should avoid as a man.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to overcome these identity questions to help myself branch out. I’ve been able to “diversify” my identity to make myself a better, more complete version of myself. So if one of the things ever happens to leave me, I will have other portions of my identity to fall back on. Think of it as an investment portfolio. A wise investor would never place all of his/her money into a single stock. This would be a huge gamble placing all of their chips on one stock. Instead they invest in a number of different stocks, mutual funds, real estate, etc. The same holds true for your identity. You musn’t place all of your self worth into a certain aspect of you life.
I think this is a big reason for the mental health crisis in the agriculture community today. Folks are hanging onto farms and the farm lifestyle even though it is tearing them apart. They have placed all of their life’s worth into the functioning of this farm. So now that commodity prices are falling and input prices are increasing, they are having a harder time holding on to their farms, and thus their identities.
So my advice to anyone is to do your best to diversify your identity and your interests. Don’t just be a farmer or a runner or a pharmacist or a blogger or a podcaster. Be a man who works as a pharmacists while he runs a farm who also enjoys running, podcasting, and blogging. When we diversify our identity, we insulate ourselves from whatever changes may come our way. We don’t invest all of ourself into one facet.
In what ways have you diversified your identity? Are there things about your own identity that you feel are holding you back from pursuing something you may love? Leave us some comments and I will be happy to discuss.
Thanks for your time checking out the blog today. Go check out this weeks podcast featuring Caroline Sicht. Caroline has become a good friend of mine and she is launching a podcast of her own at The Farm Story. I’m very excited for her and her podcast.
Until the next time,