Let It Burn

Last week I gave a speech about the economic impact an operation like mine has.  I went through some old pictures from when I started feeding cattle.  It really brought back some old memories.   It brought up a couple questions.  One, why did my girlfriend go through all that with me, and then agree to marry me?  Question two.  Would I go through it again?

Right now because of the drought many people are going through some rough times.  Those late nights where the worry keeps you up might be a good time to brainstorm on how to better manage for drought and any other adverse conditions.  And yes you could prepare better.  If you had done a good job prepping,  you wouldn’t be staying up at night.  This is something I know about.

Shortly after I started farming and raising cattle full time, we were hit with a drought.  It  caused a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights.  I was quickly faced with the reality that I was going to need to supplement my income.  Supplementing my income off and on was a regular occurrence in the beginning for me.   I tripped and fell on my face, which usually landed in a shit sandwich, more times than I care to admit to.  That’s life, and a lot of it was brought on by my own stupidity.

As I was putting the power point together for my speech I remembered all the tough times.  They made me who I am today.  Until about a year and a half ago I was not comfortable talking about it.

At the back door to our house I have a chair that I sit down in to take my boots off.  Some of the most important stuff that ever happened in my business happened in that chair.  I never realized it until last week.  I would come home after a really bad day.  Culling some cows due to drought.  Back in the days when I had a registered herd, lightning killed the “great bull calf that was going to get me discovered”.  Or my train wreck calves I blogged about before.  And I also mentioned in a previous blog there are family issues.  I remember baling hay on a patch that should have given me 70 bales and all I got was 13.

So here is the thing I want those of you who are struggling to think about.  I sat in that chair and cried.   That’s right.  I am admitting to the whole world.  I came home and cried.  And I mean like a little girl.  I cried so hard for so long I made a puddle on the floor.  I had, had it.  Life was too hard.  This cattle thing was to hard.  The deck was stacked against me.  All I ever wanted to do was raise cattle and it was to damn hard.  I was crying to quit.  Or so I thought.

My wife (girlfriend at the time) made supper for me.  I didn’t eat any of it.  We didn’t talk much on those nights.  Neither one of us slept much on those nights, even though she really didn’t have much of an idea what was keeping her up.

The next morning I made coffee, and laced up my boots once again and headed out the door.  I was to stupid to quit.  I was too stubborn to quit.  I was too proud to quit.  I WANTED IT TOO BADLY TO QUIT.

Last week I realized I wasn’t sitting in that chair crying to quit.  I was crying to keep going.  I was in pain.  My wife was in pain.  We spent numerous nights feeling that pain burn.  We didn’t know what else to do but let it burn.  If I had quit during those times, we would still be in pain.

Here’s the thing.  Pain is temporary.  If you press on it will go away.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe next year.  If you quit, it will stay.  So for those of you who are in pain right now, keep going.  You are already feeling the burn.  GET A REWARD FROM IT!

I wanted it too badly.  Raising cattle was all I  could ever think of since I was a little kid.  That and bullriding.  That is a long time to be focused on something, especially when you are young.  I will blog about focus in the future.  I also had a lot of desire, which I also will blog about in the future.  I will say this, desire is the starting point for all achievement.

So you are in the cattle biz.  You are struggling from this drought.  EMBRACE IT!  That’s right.  Embrace it.  Road blocks, challenges, set backs are there for a reason.  This is something I know a lot about.  The reason is to weed out the weak.  The posers.  The ones who don’t really want it that damn bad.

Have you ever listened to an interview with some rock star?  They ask him about his early days.  What shaped his career.  What was the motivation behind a certain hit song.  You seem to hear some story about living in some rat infested building with some junkie for a roommate.  Losing a best friend,  or something.  I’m telling you they let it burn.  They cried to keep going.  I talk to lots of successful business owners, and they all talk about their struggles from the early days.  Before they made it to the point of critical mass.  And I tell you they all have a passion you can see in their face when they talk of those struggles.

So if you are struggling from this drought.  CRY!  LET IT BURN!  Think about where you are and where you want to go.  Cry to keep going.  I’ll tell you something about this world we live in.  She has a funny way of making room for people that know where they are going.

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