For the Greater Good

Three months since my last blog. So much has happened that has been blog worthy, so why have I not shared? Well, looking at the time frame this silence seems to almost exactly coincide with my return to study. Funnily enough the breaking of the blogging silence comes hot on the tail of handing in my last assessment on Thursday. Coincidence? I think not.

In amongst pulling my hair out over referencing, a week in the kitchen at a youth camp, a visit from our daughter who has been gap yearing in Darwin and enjoying the rain there has been quite a bit happening. The rain is particularly noteworthy with all of our dams full and the opportunity for our son to paddleboard up the gutter that runs through our farm. Then of course there are the crops and feed up to the stock’s bellies. So very different to this time last year.

My participation in the Wimmera Development Association’s Business Leaders Program, thanks to sponsorship from Ace Radio Broadcasters, this year is what gave me the confidence to embark on tertiary study (amongst other things). I’ve considered it for years, but always thought of reasons not to, including but not limited to:

  • I’m too old
  • I can’t because of where I live
  • I’m too busy
  • Am I even smart enough
  • What is the point

After putting the negative talk in its place I can now say that I am one unit down. Of course there are still 23 to go and I’m not going to push my way through quickly. It has been quite challenging and since my preferred writing style is more informal it takes a conscious effort to produce work in a more academic style. But I made it through and I’m now 4.17% of the way to earning a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) that will help me reach future goals. My aim is to finish the degree before our kids are all finished theirs. I’ll just be in trouble if our youngest chooses not to go to uni!

We entered our bacon in the Australian Food Awards to benchmark our product within a quality field. We were incredibly excited to be awarded a Gold Medal. This validates the quality of our product and we hope we will see increased demand as a result. Attending the Awards Dinner at the Masterchef set was a fairly surreal experience for two ‘newbies’ in the artisan food scene. Something we could probably get used to.

A fellow Business Leaders Group member encouraged me to enter Wheatons’ Store in the Wimmera Business Awards. Adele, who rocks at self-talk, proof read my entries and suggested points that would be good to add. We are finalists in two categories: Operating in an Online Environment and Innovation in Primary Industry. This Friday we will be attending the Wimmera Business Awards. I’m really not expecting that we will win, but I’m really happy I followed through. That is a step forward in the self-talk battle. Steps forward are good, very good.

My participation in the BLG has shown me the extent of my negative self-talk and given me an insight into what is important to me, the things I want to achieve and the way I want to make a difference. I’m working on improving my self-talk and I know that as it improves reaching my goals will become more likely. Another real positive from my year in the Business Leaders Group is the development of my ‘personal trademark’. A few words that sum me up, that could go on my gravestone one day. Mine is “For the Greater Good”. I really hope that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that knows me. Ideally you will have read it and thought, “She’s living that.” The benefit of actually thinking about it and developing the phrase is that it can help with direction for the future. Now I have a better idea of why I do what I do I can move forward with greater confidence with future projects.

Friday we gave our final presentation which was a talk of about ten minutes each and then celebrated our graduation later that evening along with the Regional Leadership Skills participants. My main learning from the year is that that I am able. Because I now know this so much more is possible. I want to build opportunities for other farmers in the area who don’t want to keep expanding outwards. To help these people find financial security and deeper value in producing quality over quantity. To do all of this I want to work with my two local shires to build opportunities for small food producers in our area. For the greater good.

grad

PS. Applications are now open for the 2017 Business Leaders Group and Regional Leadership Skills programs. For further information and to complete your application go to http://wda.org.au/leadership-wimmera. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Back yourself, you won’t regret it!