Because we’re lucky enough to have customers across North America, I travel quite a bit. A few Mondays ago, I made the drive from Gothenburg to the airport in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was supposed to catch a plane to Minneapolis, so I could visit with customers. Once I arrived at the airport, though, I found my flight was cancelled due to mechanical issues.
No big deal. I was already 2.5 hours into my trip, and I wasn’t going to call it quits and turn around. I climbed back behind the wheel and followed the interstate out of Lincoln headed north and east.
After all, that’s what those of us in ag do. We run into an obstacle, and we find a way. We keep going. We plow through—literally. I saw it over and over again as I drove. Throughout Nebraska, Iowa and southern Minnesota, I saw tractors in the fields. After the sunset, I saw their lights in the distance in every direction, like a constellation had floated down to earth.
Planting is seriously delayed for many in the industry, and those lights reminded me of the stress so many of us face getting crops in the ground. But we keep going. We find a way.
The only way out is through, right? When it comes to things you can’t control, that’s true. Weather, soil conditions and the effects they have on your schedule are some of those things.
When the pressure increases, it’s easy to let it strain the relationships with the people around you. It happens to all of us, and I’m certainly not immune. During tense times, I can act or speak in ways that I regret later. I’m trying to change that. As I’ve focused on that change, I’ve realized there’s one thing that eases the stress and helps me plow through without regret—someone who takes the time to listen, someone who gives me the time even when neither of us may have it to spare.
I guess that’s what my 1,200-mile drive reinforced: we all need those people, and we all need to be that person.
You can plow through tough times, but you can’t plow through the people around you. So if you know of someone who’s pulling 22-hour days, who’s running out of time or who’s facing other pressures, take the time to listen to them. Crawl up in the cab and lend an ear. And if you need someone to listen, just ask.
Seasons come and go. Crops go into the ground and come back out. Good relationships, on the other hand, are meant to persist. That takes as much care and nurturing as any crop. Probably more. So take the time to tend to your relationships. Make the time if necessary. You won’t regret it.
Eric MacPherson, Founder & Owner of Dawson Tire & Wheel