Do you ever feel like you are serving the farm rather than the farm is serving you?
What would it be like for you to be so clear about why you are farming and what purpose the farm serves?
This is exactly what the first of the 5 pillars is all about. My basic premise here is that the farm is a tool. It is a tool we choose to use to live a certain lifestyle AND to make a certain contribution to the world we live in. The challenge we sometimes experience is that we are so busy with the daily operation of the farm that we lose sight of why it is we are farming.
This is where the 5 pillars of lifestyle farming come in.
Over the coming weeks, I would like to dive deeper into each of the pillars. The 5 pillars are:
Pillar 1: A clear and intentional vision
Pillar 2: A S.M.A.R.T. game plan for bringing that vision into reality
Pillar 3: Mindful prioritization of how we use time and money.
Pillar 4: Solid farm Systems
Pillar 5: Monitoring results and using Support.
Pillar 1 is all about knowing where we want to go, what outcomes we want to produce, what success actually looks like for us. Success is simply defined as doing the thing we said we would do, with clarity, focus, ease, and grace. Success is a highly personal experience. Comparison to others is a pure waste of time (it’s like comparing our intimate knowledge of our inner selves to the outer appearances of someone else.)
So, What is your farm for? What life would you love to live? What contribution would you love to make?
Here is an exercise I have found to be very useful in crafting a clear vision. I invite you to set aside some time in the coming week to reflect and develop a written vision. And don’t forget, this is not something static, this is something that is in constant evolution and will shift and grow as you progress on the journey of life.
Crafting a Powerful Farm Vision*
What is a vision?
A vision is a clear and vivid declaration from your heart of the life you love… and intend… to live. It may pertain to an area of your life or to your project, farm, team, organization, community or the world.
Why craft your farm vision?
Remember, our definition of success is: doing what you said you would do, consistently with clarity, focus, ease, and grace. When you are clear about your vision for the lifestyle that you would love to live, you focus your energy and act on what’s most important to you and on building a farm that fully supports that lifestyle. Your actions consistently answer the question “what would someone with my vision do next, standing where I am standing?”
“Acting from” vs. “Acting toward” your vision
When you act from your vision in the present moment, you’ll notice your vision moving toward you. Action from your vision means using what’s available to you right here and now, to bring your vision into physical reality—versus seeing your vision as something vague “in the future”. In something as long-term as farming, it is refreshing to be able to plan for the future but live in the present.
How Your Vision Relates to Your Life’s Intentions and Goals
Your vision is an outgrowth of your Life’s Intention (an underlying aim, purpose, or direction that brings great meaning to your life). Your vision provides energy and clarity as you go for your goals. As we know, things in physical reality take energy, they are constantly changing and unpredictable. When we’re focused and engaged with our vision as it relates to our life’s intentions, it provides the motivation to continue taking action.
Criteria for a powerful vision
- First person narrative vs. laundry list. Your vision is a story, with you as the main character.
- From your heart vs. your head. Ask: what would I truly love? What inspires me the most about this? What would have me go to bed grateful and wake up energized?
- What’s possible vs. plausible: Suspend doubt and concerns about “how” you will achieve it.
- What you want vs. what you don’t want, what you “should” want or how to get there.
- Vivid vs. abstract: Ask yourself, can I see myself in this vision?
- Present-Tense vs. future-tense: articulate your vision as though it is happening right now.
Exercise: Creating & Using Your Vision Statement
- Take a blank piece of paper (or open up a word doc).
- Identify the Life’s Intention that gives this vision meaning and purpose. (See life’s intentions inventory.)
- What is your farm for? What life’s intention gives deep meaning and purpose to your farm? Chose one and only one!
- Write it at the top of the page and use it as the focal point for your Vision Statement.
- Imagine talking to a friend in 2-3 years into the future. You hear them say “Seems like things are going really well for you! Will you tell me about it?”
- Now imagine answering them, “I’m glad you asked!” What do you hear yourself saying next? Write it down, painting as clear and vivid a picture as possible of your experience.
- What lifestyle are you living?
- What types of activities are you doing?
- What does your weekly schedule look like? How many hours per week are you working on the farm?
- What other interests are you pursuing passionately?
- How much money are you earning from the farm?
- What contribution are you making?
- What does the farm look like so as to fully support the lifestyle you would love to live?
- What lifestyle are you living?
- Go for “good enough”. If your internal voice of worry says anything about it needing to be “perfect”, simply say “thank you for sharing” and finish the current draft.
- Read your vision every day for the next 30 days. Ask yourself at least once a day, ideally in the morning: What would someone with my vision do today, standing where I’m standing?
* Vision instructions inspired by Jeremy Blanchard, leadership and life coach. Adapted specifically for use in the context of farming.