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How ‘one thing’ has changed me, my marriage and my family’s business

Amy Throndsen for Progressive Dairy Published on 07 February 2020

At the beginning of 2019, I started implementing The One Thing principals in my personal and business life, and it has transformed how I make decisions and approach change for myself, with my spouse and in our family business.

Over the past year, I have tackled some long-standing goals of mine through The One Thing’s 66-Day Challenge format and wrestled with recognizing, defining and articulating my “big” “one thing” (still not “perfect” or possibly “right,” but I’m on track).

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I didn’t realize it until I just added up all of the 66 days, but since I published my first article in February 2019, I’ve had over 300 days of focused behavioral changes that have been important to me for many years.

I am at 350 days (and counting) of flossing. I met a 66-day challenge of drinking 100 ounces of water every day. For 66 days, I focused on eliminating cuss words from my vocabulary. I wanted my words to match my intentions, and (for me) cussing is a lazy language choice. I started over a number of times on eliminating added sugars in my diet. I never quite hit the 66 days in a row in that challenge, but with all of the start-overs, I had well over 120 days of eliminating added sugars last year (this was around the holidays, so particularly difficult).

Individually, each of the 66-day challenges doesn’t seem like much. In the grand scheme of things, will any of those habits create lasting changes in my life that will transform my future? Probably not, but what it did do for me can be beneficial to anyone, at any stage of their life and career.

The focus I had in meeting one small 66-day challenge of flossing, drinking water, word choice, etc., brought more focus to the bigger questions I was wrestling with. I had intentionality and focus about a small thing, which led to greater intentionality and focus in the “bigger” areas of my life – business, family and engagement in community.

For over a year I wrestled with identifying my “one thing.” I struggled with purpose, direction and focus in my professional career.

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Like many of you, I work in my family’s business. My dad doesn’t milk cows, but he is as passionate about his business of cow comfort as any dairy farmer is about his or her cows. Just like any family, there are complex relationships with long histories and some newer relationships thrown in the mix, and emotions that run hot, high and deep. We are proud of the work we’ve done and want to leave a positive, impactful legacy.

I was struggling to define my “one thing” when I was carrying someone else’s (my dad’s) one thing forward.

  • What is my role in the business that my dad started and has led for 20 years?
  • What do I have to offer that will add value?
  • Who can help me think through these questions?

How many of you have felt that way?

No one could answer the question for me, and I wrestled with it for a year on my own. I work with my husband but kept him at arm’s length in my processing. Toward the end of last year, he and I sat down, and I opened myself up to him, he having as much say in asking tough questions as I had. We talked about what the future could look like if we ran the business as ours, rather than mine. We got real about what we would need to do to get ourselves there. Nothing sounds as easy as it does in three sentences in an article written for a magazine, and all of our problems weren’t solved overnight. But we did take crucial first steps, together, and it’s incredible to see the difference it has made in only a few short months.

  • Who is one person you could be better aligned with in order to have the future you want?
  • What is one thing you need to let go of to have the future you want?
  • What is one thing you are holding on to that is holding you back?
  • Who is one person you can talk with to help you get on track?

One person I needed to be better aligned with was my husband. I needed to let go of control. Fear was holding me back. A friend who has known me many years helped my husband and me identify a married couple who owned a successful business who have agreed to serve as our business mentors.

  • Spouse. Control. Fear. Old friend/new mentors.

How many of you would have similar lists?

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I had dark days of not knowing what to do or where to turn. Our industry certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. In having the opportunity to write these articles and spend more time thinking about my “one thing,” I have tapped into my passion for helping people discover, define and work to achieve big and small goals, and I’d like to extend that to you. If you’d like more discussion or help in setting up your first 66-Day Challenge, please be in touch: (608) 218-0517 or email me.  end mark

Amy Throndsen
  • Amy Throndsen

  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Advanced Comfort Technology Inc.
  • Email Amy Throndsen

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