#Strongwomen. "I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it." Kristin Armstrong
I took some-one to lunch today to say thank you for the all the pro bono work they had done for me and our organisation.
I selected the restaurant because it knew it featured the produce of one of our supporting partners. A partner I am very proud to be aligned with. The menu featured a number of branded produce yet not once did the restaurant team members tell me and my dining partner why this produce was on the menu. The big question is why?
Keri Jacobs post stopped me in my tracks. She could have been writing about my family.
Below is a cut and paste of what Keri wrote
Pioneer’s ad hits a nerve. A deep one. A bittersweet one. I hope my experience about who can be a farmer will help someone else. I am a farm kid. A farmer’s daughter. One of three. My grandpa and grandma were farmers, my great-grandparents were farmers. It’s a history and upbringing I am proud of. For most of my childhood, I imagined I would one day be a farmer’s wife. I would follow my mom’s, grandmas’, aunts’ footsteps and be the behind-the-scenes support: the meal-maker, the bookkeeper, the late-night-field-runs taker, the do-everything-else-that-must-get-done-when-he-is-farming person.
Hey, wait. Maybe I could farm? It took a lot of years for me to figure out that I wanted at least some of my time on this earth to be spent intricately tied to the land–our family’s land–and farming like my dad and grandpa were. It’s in my blood.
But the decisions had been made, even before I was born. There was nothing that anyone could do about it, not really even by the one who COULD have changed it. I will never forget the time I challenged this. There was one person with the ability to make or break my desire to be one of our family’s farmers. I asked if I could one day own some of the family’s land, when it was time to pass it along. I did not expect equal ownership with my male cousins, just a small piece of the land that I grew up on, played on, rode with Dad in the tractor on, walked bean fields on, and where we buried our family pets. The same land that raised my Dad and grandpa. Something to own and farm and carry on. But it was not possible.
Why? Because somewhere along the way, maybe even before my grandparent’s had a say, farming became about a family name. A legacy rooted in our surname, and therefore in gender. It broke my heart when I was told that if I wanted to farm and own land, I should marry a farmer. I was handed a plat book so I could see who owned land in the area. I was told I would have to marry into land.
As a woman who might take another man’s name in marriage, I was a threat to the family’s legacy. I was a threat to what my grandparents and their parents built. Because of my gender.
I hope this is changing. I think it is. I see examples of how it is. And I love this ad for pointing out a really big problem…and a really amazing change and opportunity. Our collective notion and nostalgia about a way of life historically tied more to gender than to things that really matter, like desire, ability, and values is changing.
We cannot take land with us when we die. Who can say for sure, but we also probably cannot enjoy it after we die. If you are a farmer wondering who will continue YOUR legacy of caring for the land, caring for animals, caring for the environment, producing the foods we eat, I hope you will evaluate your successor on the things that made YOU a great farmer. My grandpa was a great farmer. That fact had nothing to do with his gender or last name.
Thank you Keri beautifully expressed and this from Peyton Merriam
We move the peg as a society when we embrace diversity and inclusion as an industry, not just individually. Let’s keep challenging the status quo!
Friday nights can be tough. They are that time of the week where you reflect on the conversations you have had and the important work you have got done and you decide if you are moving forward or going round in circles.
I can definitely see forward movement from young people in agriculture through the extraordinary applications we are receiving for our Young Farming Champions program
There is also significant international interest in replicating the Action for Agriculture programs overseas and I am working with some very exciting people to create a template of what that could look like
BUT my major frustration remains and that is.
We have a leadership system in agriculture that invites people with big ideas to stand in the arena by themselves until they can beg or borrow enough money to pilot their big idea. Success requires you to attract other volunteers who also have day jobs, who toil and toil and toil pouring their hearts and souls into your big idea ( and adding their ideas) until they are as burnt out as you.
I have been looking for a model that invites people to identify an arena they want to be part of. An arena that cultivates a culture where everyone is working together towards a common goal and everyone can actively see every Friday night that their collaboration is having IMPACT.
Two models I am witnessing that are potentially achieving this are Farmers for Climate Action and the Voices for Movement both of which have attracted significant philanthropic funding
There is hope on the horizon for a new model through conversations I have been having with other people running leadership programs. These bright minds might just have come up with a model that will deliver significant rewards for the personal well being of the people in the arena and the agriculture sector.
The next step in this process happens on Monday. Fingers crossed my journal reflections next Friday are less focused on our abhorrent political system and more focused on grass roots empowerment
Sometimes you just have to step up and say it like it is
Tonight I will watch the young people I work with step up organically and deliver one of the highlights of my career realisation aspirations
In 2012 I won the inaugural Bob Hawke Landcare Award
I remember the event
I remember the morning after
The first call was from the CEO of a dairy co-operative who told me they were going to sue me for information I had provided to Senate Estimates on Milk Price
The second call was from me to Australia’s second largest agricultural research and development cooperation who had decided the organisation who was building their cohort of confident communicators and trusted voices was at the bottom of the list of organisation they paid and it was perfectly acceptable that my family business would carry their debt.
Its tough out there.
My tips when you eventually find the people who genuinely want the best outcomes for the greater good.
Work with them
Do something amazing together
I am finally in that space and I am sooooo grateful
We have all heard a eulogy that includes “He/She didn’t suffer fools gladly”
When I hear it I cringe – I know some-one will say that in my eulogy and I face palm ( after washing my hands for 20 seconds)
How do you change years and years of habits that include eye rolling, heavy breathing and saying what you think before you think about what you said.
Stronger together symbol. Words We are stronger together appearing behind torn brown paper. Wooden pencil. Business, motivational and we are stronger together concept. Copy space.
Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their napes. Immature eagles of this species typically have white on the tail and often have white markings on the wings. Golden eagles use their agility and speed combined with powerful feet and massive, sharp talons to snatch up a variety of prey (mainly hares, rabbits, marmots and other ground squirrels).
Its a given
” In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long-term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible.”
Fools carry with them a different scale of values:
They place more importance on short-term matters-grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good.
They are ruled by their ego and insecurities.
They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake.
When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument.
They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth.
You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results.
They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long-term. Source
The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy.
So how do you learn to be strategic? I am learning to be more strategic in the language I use by surrounding myself with people who think and talk strategically and when I meet them I introduce them to the young people I work with.
Meet Charlie Arnot who conducted a two hour workshop for the young people I work with yesterday. Charlie is the ultimate strategic thinker. In this short extract from the workshop he discusses traditional issues management in agriculture and how we can move from being the “Party of No” to the “Party of Solutions”
Charlie finished his workshop by giving the young people I work with an Optimising Sustainability Framework model to help them work with people in agriculture to create an culture of accepting change and being willing to listen to, and hear the message.
In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture.
All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy.
I had the pleasure of working with Cherry who judged the school students Kreative Koalas artwork in 2018. She is a passionate environmentalist and was so impressed with the way the students at Goulburn Public School shared their Kreative Koalas sustainability journey with her she painted a special artwork for them. She is producing prints of this artwork to raise money for WIRES
This is Facebook post with the details
I’m selling signed prints of this painting which I made some years ago as a prize for a school in Goulburn which did an extremely impressive environment project. They also painted a large fibre glass koala provided to the by Lynne Strong who coordinated this great project.
I’m going to produce prints approximately 50 cm high on paper and sell them for $130 each. All profits will go towards Southern Tablelands Wires. They coordinate the rescue and care of koalas. There are massive fires near Goulburn and east through to the coast. More fires to the north at Wombeyan Caves which can be accessed from Goulburn. Please go to my website cherryhood.com.au to order your Koala print. Cheers Cherry
This week marks 12 months since I tore my hamstring off the bone – a very serious and rare injury. See backstory here
I had two options – surgery which had many risks and a long recovery period or very extensive rehab.
I chose rehab. I am very excited to say at this point in time I am a hamstring avulsion conservative treatment rehab success story. Very few people with this injury get the movement back that I have.
I have also learnt at lot about me. I always wanted to be fit but avoided gym classes like the plague. I always considered myself unco – the aerobic class would be waving to the left and I would be waving to the right and when I started fitball classes that is exactly what happened. But its one big family at my rehab gym and everyone laughed along with me and encouraged me and I have got it. Go me ( I may even start dance classes)
TRX, now that was another animal all together. No matter what my personal trainer said there was no way anyone was going to get me to hang from the ceiling.
Then I found out a fortnight ago that classes I was attending where going to become circuit classes and TRX could be part of the circuit. So I put my big girl pants on and booked a 30 min TRX personal training session and guess what I can now add TRX to one of the things I have mastered in the last 12 months
TRX is about trust as is balance. Me trusting that not only will the rope hold me as well as me trusting me. Balance remains the stumbling point. One leg trusting the other that it can hold me up. You should see me at night sitting in my lounge room watching Netflix or SBS OnDemand on one leg on my fitball lifting weights
The last 12 months has taught me talent and intellect come nowhere near determination and persistence as markers for success. I know success at the gym relies on technique combined with persistence and determination to get the technique right. I relish my technique being corrected in front of others, its means I am being watched and they care about me. I ask questions as often as it takes to get it right and I still have a lot to learn but learning I am. I am very proud of me and I have also lost 5 kgs (extra awesome)
We can all get value from Calvin Coolidge’s wise words. Lets not be afraid to do the hard yards. Lets be brave enough to ask advice and wise enough take it. Persistence and Determination are omnipotent
When I read this comment “Parents, who have spent significant time and sometimes money in their child’s education, want to be assured of a return on investment. They want to be told that their baby done good. To feel secure in the knowledge that a suburban brick house, the latest model Lexus and a Thermomix lie in their kid’s future.”
‘Thermomix’ oh my god what is that??? Is that why I didn’t win the Mother of the Year Award. All good mothers apparently know that a Thermomix is a kitchen gadget – that is not only a food-processor but one that also, weighs, cooks, chops, crushes, emulsifies, whips, mixes, steams, blends, kneads, grinds simmers, grates and mills. Just how have a lived without one let alone had a lifetime payment plan to ensure the child had one ?
But worse still I hadn’t heard of the UpTalk and Vocal Fry Epidemic OMG to the Power of 10. How had I not heard of this? Am I guilty? Do I talk like this ? Note rising inflection
On the positive side Professor Google is a power of knowledge and the diversity of my knowledge is certainly growing. I cant see myself ever having any desire to be able to recite every name in All Blacks line-up but I wont be forgetting the name of most capped test rugby player of all time. See footnote
Jamila Rizvi hasn’t inadvertently destroyed my confidence as a conversationalist. In fact I am sitting in the front carriage of the train with her cheering when she says
Our generation is better placed to achieve gender equality than any other in the history of humanity. This is our opportunity to grasp, our campaign to join and it is our fight to be won. So get out there. Show the world your best, be confident and claim your achievements as your own. I’ll be right here, cheering you on from the sidelines. Because you’re not just lucky, you’re brilliant.
For those of you Rugby Tragics who think I must be from Mars if I haven;t heard of Richie McCaw I now have no shortage of people on my team who can keep me informed. Special shoutout to Mandy McKeesick – who married the enemy . Another testimonial to the wisdom of surrounding yourself with the expertise you don’t have