When I think of all of the important lessons that my parents taught me growing up, likely the greatest is to finish what you start. My own girls have grown up indoctrinated with that mentality as I follow in my parents’ footsteps in order to prepare them to be responsible and contributing adults.
Many people ask why my cattle feeding exit plan spans more than six months. The short answer to that questions is I always finish what I start. When I made the decision to close down my feed yard, I knew that I needed to do it the responsible way.
- The way that offers the best care to the animals on my farm.
- The way that provides the best benefit for my employees.
- The way that allows our farm to continue to thrive in the environment of change.
That requires me to remain in the business for an elongated period of time. Honestly, it is emotionally more difficult for me to slowly phase out the feed yard than it would be to just sell the animals on my farm and shut the gate. However, I am cowgirling up because that’s what you do when you are the boss lady 🙂
I remember my dad telling me as a child, “Anne, there is no excuse for quitting. It is never acceptable.” Time and time again, my parents showed me both with their actions and their words that honoring your responsibilities came ahead of personal comfort. There are hundreds of young athletes in our community that would tell you that “Coach Anne says to always Finish Strong!” I don’t just say it, I live it. While I have many imperfections, quitting is not one of them.
One of the things that I grappled with when making the decision to shut down the feed yard was whether closing the gate meant I had personally failed. The rational part of my brain understood that there were many outside forces at play pushing me in the direction of change, but the bottom line showed that I was the one who was throwing in the towel. It was under my leadership tenure that part of our farm would cease to exist.
Despite the fact that I am the psychologist and Matt is the engineer, my favorite farmer was ultimately the one that allowed me to see that I was continuing to remain loyal to my responsibilities. That making the hard decision to transition the farm did not constitute a failure, but rather a carefully weighed decision that could ultimately benefit both our family and our farm.
While there is a part of my heart that still feels a sense of loss, I am passed feeling a sense of failure. I’ve decided to cut myself a little bit of slack, celebrate the long list of accomplishments over the past two decades, and look to the future with a strong sense of hope. My favorite blonde cowgirl reminded me a couple of months ago that, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”. C.S. Lewis
I just needed to figure out that I could finish what I started 20 years ago and still look for that new dream.
It’s a good thing that God has filled my life with really smart people 🙂