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An attitude of gratitude

Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn for Progressive Dairy Published on 06 August 2019

There’s no doubt the dairy industry is in challenging times. Low milk prices, changing consumer preferences, devastating weather conditions and an ever-changing political environment has resulted in much uncertainty throughout the industry.

It’s easy to get consumed by all the negativity around us, but that’s not healthy for ourselves, our families or our industry. Instead of becoming a victim of our circumstances, we must carefully assess aspects we can control, and ones we can’t, and take charge of our future. We need to reframe our thoughts to those of gratitude and opportunity instead of blaming and despair. We need to understand what causes negativity and stress in our lives and work to mitigate it.

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One pivotal moment in my life was when my family sold our milking herd, when I was a senior in high school. I can’t even begin to describe to you how devastating it was for me. I believed living on a dairy farm defined who I was, and my vision was clouded with my own insecurities.

It took me several years, but I realized the decision to sell our cows was the right one for our family. My father had the opportunity to pursue other career goals that didn’t involve milking cows every day and, even though our cows left, we maintained our cherished family farm. Selling the cows allowed our family to re-evaluate our farm business and where we wanted to go in the future.

I wish I would’ve come to that realization much sooner, embracing the change and what it would mean to my family and me. What seemed like the end of the world was only a bend in my journey, and my journey continued to lead me to the dairy industry.

Being grateful and adopting a positive mindset are areas I continue to work on in my life. Some days are easier than others, and definitely some seasons of life are easier than others. However, I’ve found my focus in these areas has improved my mindfulness.

For me, I enjoy learning from others. I find motivational books, podcasts and speakers inspiring. I love catching up with friends. I am recharged when I volunteer my time, particularly with youth. For others, work in improving their mindset might include starting a gratitude journal or taking time for themselves through meditation or a walk.

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Just as important for me was identifying what breeds negativity in my life. While I love social media, I oftentimes become irritated by our industry’s discussion on controversial topics. I also find the more I am on Facebook, the more insecure I am about my own life by the constant comparisons to others. I’ve learned to manage this by limiting my usage of social media and instead focus the time on myself and my family.

I share this information to say that adopting an attitude of gratitude is work, and it is different for everyone. While it might seem like the challenges in our lives and the dairy industry are impossible, consider the bright spots about why you love what you do. Focus on what is best for your family and you, and don’t worry about what other people will think. Accept that sometimes things change, and just because today isn’t exactly the same as yesterday doesn’t mean you aren’t living a worthwhile and fulfilling life.  end mark

Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn
  • Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn

  • Dairy Producer
  • Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania

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