Maybe you are starting out in farming? Or maybe you are stuck in a rut and want a refresh? Whatever the reason, having a vision will help you achieve what you want and live the life you desire.
Having an agreed and shared vision helps you and those around you know why you are doing what you are doing, says Heather Wildman, family facilitator and managing director at Saviours Associates.
She says: “This will help you get to where you want to be and bring clarity to where you and everyone else fits into the dynamics.”
A clear vision will also bring structure to planning and keep bad days, hard times and any crises in perspective, she adds.
“This is why it is important to have it written down and shared; ideally on a chart so you can see and measure how you are progressing. When times are going well, you can recognise this and reward.
“If progress is not going as planned, you can think about whether this is just a blip, or an alarm that the vision may need reviewing.”
There are many ways to do this, but Ms Wildman suggests starting with the end in sight.
Ask yourself where you want to be at 80 years old? What kind of life will you want to lead and have led? How much money will you need to make this possible?
Ms Wildman says: “Realistically, what will make you happy? The most successful people love what they do.”
Write all your desires and aims down, then break your life into chunks. What do you need to do in each period to get to where you want to be in the next? Put a date in the diary for when you want to have achieved certain goals.
Draw a triangle like the image above. Starting in the middle at zero, plot how much time/energy you dedicate to each of the three areas, says Ms Wildman. The closer to 10 you get, the more time you are spending on it. Do this too for how fulfilled you feel in each of these areas. A more balanced triangle is a more balanced life.
If finding vision needs a bit of inspiration, get out and speak to as many people as possible.
Those surrounding you make a big difference and bouncing ideas around will soon help you see new possibilities, says Ms Wildman.
Farming discussion groups and work experience with someone who does something different to you are good ways to do this, regardless of your age.
Tell friends, family and contacts what you are hoping to do and they will soon start passing contacts or opportunities to you.
Talks, seminars, webinars and other farming meetings are a good way to meet people and be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking, adds Simon Haley, director at consultancy SRH Agribusiness.
He says: “If you stay on-farm surrounded by the same thoughts and same people, you will always come up with the same answers.”
Talk to your farming advisers too, suggests Mr Haley. This will allow you to get thoughts off your chest and test ideas.
Also, advisers will ask difficult questions and play devil’s advocate in a way family won’t.
They will then go away and investigate possibilities for you.
Success means different things to different people. For some it might be just treading water with their business so they can continue to farm, says Mr Haley.
For others, it might be putting their kids through private school, going on several holidays and owning an expensive car.
Know what is important to you. Are you working towards something because of someone else’s ideas of success, or your own? Are you pursuing what will make you happy?
Even daily success can be challenging. We tend to write lists that are not achievable and then feel deflated, says Ms Wildman.
Instead, plan 80% of your day only. This gives time for people to talk to each other, rest, have fun and deal with unexpected things, such as accidents or machinery break downs, she says.
Aim to finish 30 minutes before the end of the working day and then take time to sit and reflect.
What has worked and what hasn’t? Make a plan for the next day, then switch off and try not to take your work home.
Write your mission, vision and values somewhere the team can see and be sure to review how you are living up to these.
To produce milk profitability from happy cows and happy people.
Shape Your Farming Future is a series of informative and practical guides looking in-depth at issues pertinent to farmers when planning for the future.