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We are in charge of our attitudes.  How we respond to the things that happen to us in life will determine our success or failure in the time ahead of us.  The past is can’t be changed.  Don’t forget it; get over it and plan your next step. 

Many situations and events are beyond our control, but we have total control on how we respond or react.  We control what we say or think.



My family has never been one to write a “Christmas Letter” that summarizes the past years’ events, challenges, and hopes for the future—but we read every one that we get from others. For us, we have always seemed to take life as it happens, accept the ups and downs that naturally occur in any given year, and continue to move forward toward our long-term goals. We’ve had those extremely difficult years, but our faith has been the foundation of how we handle those situations, accepting that God is sovereign and has a plan for us that we can adapt to and gain the lessons He wants us to learn.

In her recent article on the AgWeb website, Elizabeth Griffith provides valuable insights on how we can help our employees, family members and perhaps even our clients, provide a better work-life balance. She provides practical ways to make sure it isn't just a buzzword in our business, the benefits of being deliberate about creating it and our role as leaders to set the example.

The full article can be read here: 

Posted by Don Tyler

We’ve all been through it more times than not.  And wondered if we’d survive to the end.  Not to mention if we learned anything or otherwise got something worthwhile from it.  I’m talking about public speaking, whether we’re on the giving end or the receiving end.

Casual conversations or prepared speeches.  Even though most of us can go 90 miles an hour once we start blabbing in a casual conversation, the thought of a prepared speech terrifies us.

Yet every conversation should start off with a plan.  In other words, think before we speak.

“I’m like, you know, going to give a speech, I mean, you know, a talk to my work group about this project, like it’s not going so good, we need to come up with a plan to, you know, like get on track.”  Arghh!

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins provides many examples of the actions that good companies take to become great companies, far exceeding their competition. One of the strategies that he emphasizes is the practice of doing “autopsies without blame.” He shares the example of Phillip Morris buying the Seven-Up Company, only to sell it 8 years later at a loss. It wasn’t that much of a loss considering their total assets, but it was “a highly visible black eye” as Collins described it.

I just read, recently, a hard-hitting article revealing a multitude of activities and events pointing out the espionage and intellectual theft that China has been undertaking for many years now.  This has been happening in full view of business, academia and government with little to no reporting to the public of the scope and scale of this massive theft.  Sure, people have been aware of China’s aggression toward the free world and numerous reports in various media about human rights abuses as well as its status as the holder of a large amount of our sovereign debt, its exploitation of labor, religious persecution, environmental degradation, and military aggression toward its neighbors, especially Taiwan.  China has been in full scale offense for decades as it seeks to be THE Superpower in the world. 

In these times of uncertainty, the difficulties and anxieties one experiences in trying to make sound investment decisions grows daily.  Indeed, it has always been difficult and leaves one to constantly second guessing and fretful for the future.

Now, most people do make their own mistakes, independent of anyone to whom they may wish to shift the blame for poor decisions.  Thinking we can get a little better yield here versus there, we jump at the shiny ring.  All that glitters is not gold.

As advisors, we’ve all experienced the situation where a client has all the information they need, including supporting data, charts, financial reports and detailed analysis that point to clear, predictable results—and yet they will not make a decision that any thoughtful businessperson would make. We’ve tried all our usual strategies, but for some reason this decision is tough for them.

In this situation the client is telling you they need an emotional reason to make the changes necessary to take this to approach.  This seems counterintuitive, but remember we tend to make most of our decisions emotionally, and then justify them logically. (Note: This is why Kohl’s department store provides a detailed listing of the savings on every single item so that the purchaser can easily justify what they spent to… whomever might need that information….)

Defeating Procrastination

For some unknown reason it seems that many of the clients I’ve worked with for the last two months have brought up the subject of procrastination. Often it was mentioned in the context of “asking for a friend…” and occasionally it was to address the issue with a family member or employee.

We all have an area (or more) where we procrastinate. Those areas tend to have one thing in common—they are something we really dislike having to do. Specific activities can be wide-ranging and might include:
  • Making a phone call to a person that is difficult to deal with, rude, negative or a particular type of person we dislike.
  • Activities we feel we aren’t very good at such as math, creative writing, documentation, detailed work, etc.
  • Tasks that we feel are unimportant or low priority like completing reports, filling out lengthy forms, cleaning up after a task that we do often (“It’s just going to get dirty again tomorrow…”), etc.
  • Dealing with conflict, having to give people bad news, or needing to have a difficult conversation with someone.
  • Anything that is far outside our comfort zone.

If you’ve been a consultant for very long, you’ve probably run into a few clients where they themselves or a family member tend to overreact to fairly benign situations, make unreasonable demands or feel seriously disrespected if they don’t get their way.   They might even be easily offended or inconvenienced and tend to be in the middle of any drama that erupts.
These individuals are expressing a low Emotional Quotient (EQ). EQ is a reflection of a person’s emotional intelligence, which is defined as a measure of their ability to understand how the emotions and needs of themselves and others shape their interactions, and then regulate their own responses accordingly.
Emotional intelligence has become a significant topic for professional development and mentoring as well as an essential trait for management and leadership positions.

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American Society of Agricultural Consultants (ASAC)

Traci Schermerhorn, EVP
PO Box 785
Ankeny, IA  50021
(515) 633-7993