A tale from Johnny's childhood on the farm and what you can learn from ploughing a field...
Inspired by driving through the Shropshire countryside at various times of the year (not so much in January to be fair!) and seeing the tractors busy in the fields and at the risk of sounding like an ‘olde tale from a man of the land’ I am actually going to relay a true story from my youth…
I was brought up on a farm, and like everyone around me, I learnt to drive a tractor long before any of us were anywhere near the legal driving age, and I also learnt how to plough.
Ploughing is something of an art, and my older brother, Marcus, was my tutor and he showed me what to do by ploughing the first furrow.
Off I went, concentrating hard, following his instruction and keeping my front wheel in the straight furrow he had laid out for me whilst also looking behind to make sure the depth of the plough was perfect. When we got to the end of the field, we surveyed my work.
It was pretty abysmal. It looked like a drunk had been behind the wheel.
For the next go, Marcus suggested I do as I had done before, keeping the plough at the right depth and focussing on keeping the front wheel in the previous furrow, but this time, also focus on a point in front of me on the horizon. Unsurprisingly, (because it would be a rubbish story otherwise) this time, the results were much better – the furrow I ploughed was straight and steady.
And so it is in our lives and our businesses – or should be anyway. Keep an eye on where you want to get to – maintain a focus on that goal (the horizon), and diligently deal with the day to day (the furrow).
All too often though, we get bogged down with the reality of the ridges and furrows of everyday life to think about the end goal – and lose sight of that point on the horizon. Or we focus obsessively on the far off goal and ignore the proximate pressing issues affecting our business.
What to take from this story:
So, now at the start of the year, it might be a good idea to task ourselves with some goal setting. And then pick a point on the horizon!
And then take a good close look at what’s right in front of us so we stay focussed on doing things right in the short term – so we keep the wheel in the furrow!
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
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