Nowadays, very few people think about setting out for a new destination without the use of a GPS, or at the very least packing a good old road map. My family has learned to travel with both, just in case the GPS attempts to steer us on a questionable route, or if we lose satellite reception in the middle of nowhere.
Traveling without a GPS or a road map to guide our way is equivalent to traveling through life without goals. Going through life without established individual goals means that you are working toward somebody else’s goals, more than likely the person or company that you are working for, according to Matt Booth, a professional speaker and “attitude expert” from Dubuque, Iowa. Booth recently was a part of the PIC Road Show, helping hog producers work toward and to achieve their goals.
He challenged producers to follow his lead in the seemingly easy task of creating goals. Think of what you want out of life, lock it in to memory, and you’ll be a success, right?
Not that easy. You can’t just think of your goals, you need to write them down. In his exercise, Booth suggests writing down 10 goals, with the first three being: 1) Write down your goals. 2) Review your goals monthly. 3) Carry your goals with you.
After those three goals, filling in the blanks with seven more can set you on the path to success. Maybe you’re a farrowing technician, but you want to be the farrowing unit manager. Write it down. To put more meaning to it, put down a timeline. “I want to be farrowing unit manager by the end of 2017.” That now becomes a goal with a target. Share that goal with your significant other, maybe with co-workers, maybe your boss or the farm owner. Until others know what you want, they may not be willing to help you along the path to individual success.
Maybe by others seeing your goal setting, that may set them on a similar course to check, and develop their own goals. Maybe the person in charge of power washing sets their sights on farrowing technician. You have just created a snowball of success.
Goal setting may be even more important in the business climate that the U.S. swine industry is currently in. Setting a goal “to survive this downturn” may be a little vague, but putting an action plan behind that goal will help you keep plugging along in the sunny days after this current storm passes.
A producer I spoke with at the PIC meeting says his operation made a goal of survival, and they are currently developing a market for their pork in Asia. They are too early in the development to be willing to share details, but that is just an example of how producers need to be thinking. Thinking beyond what is the given of selling your pigs to a specific packer, and taking what the market is paying, can pave a way for success. Creating your own market is a lot of the work, but it can pay big dividends in the long run.
You can’t achieve it if you don’t dream it. If you don’t dream it, you won’t realize it.
Writing down your goals, reviewing them and carrying them with you will keep the carrots constantly dangling in front of you. Individual responsibility needs to be stressed, and yes, it can be stressful, but if you don’t help yourself, no one else will. But once you set your mind to a goal, don’t let external negativity stop you.