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Know who you are and who you aren’t

Harley Wagenseller for Progressive Dairy Published on 18 January 2022

How do you define success? Is it just money? Is it your family? To help people out? To be spiritually sound? To leave the world a better place than you found it? Continue to ask yourself those questions.

Your answer may change over time and that’s fine. But do yourself a favor: Whatever your answer is, don’t choose anything that will jeopardize your soul.

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Translation: prioritize who you are and who you want to be. Don’t spend any time with anything that antagonizes your character.

For example, after a very successful run at a world-class dairy, the 2009 financial crisis took a toll on us due to poor foreign-ownership decisions. The dairy had to have a sale, and we moved to another location. After two weeks of 14-hour days, it was not to be. I said, it’s just not going to work when the owner wants things done a certain way and his son, the manager, wants to go in a completely different way.

The first step that leads to finding your identity in life is usually not, “I know who I am.” It is usually, “I know who I am not.” I knew on this farm it was certainly a recipe for disaster. A disaster I did not need in my life.

Take the time to know the difference between who you are and who you are not. I knew what I was not – a miracle worker. I spent the next 12 years of my life on a small grazing dairy.

Now that I’m retired, I miss the morning milking, the calf raising, the herd health visits with the vet, but I am enjoying life. I’ve always tried to have continual growth, especially spiritual growth and to help others get on the road to salvation. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. Spending less time on certain things and more time on the scriptures and humanity, it will help you see what the really big things in life are.

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Your associates are another thing to look out for on your dairy journey. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” You know, that group of friends you hang out with that really don’t bring out the best in you. These people will not be around in your moment of need.

Maybe it’s that computer screen that has an awful hold on you, which you use as an excuse not to engage with the world, your family or your employees. It stymies everything you do.

Once you quit giving yourself heartache and pain, you find yourself spending time with people, places and things that are healthy for you and bring you more joy, more fulfillment. You are the architect of your own life. Study and practice the habits and routines that lead to success and joy. You will probably make mistakes along the way. Make amends for them and then move on. Guilt and regret are two emotions that kill many a man before his time. You are the author of your own book. end mark

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