When bad things happen…

Farming is a fickle business. I spend a lot of time coaching, advising, and encouraging new farmers to identify goals, draft a plan and make informed decisions. And then, in spite of it all, something happens which changes your life forever.  Most recently it has been the flooding caused when Tropical Storm Irene elected to make her way up the Green Mountains. Before that it was unprecedented lake shore flooding that left fields (and homes) under water for weeks. But it could also have been a tornado, a fire, a tractor rollover, or even a food-born illness that turns customers away. Whatever the tragedy, everything you worked so hard for can be taken away through no fault of yours.

Doing everything right does not guarantee success. So why spend the time? Why bother going through all the steps when  something completely out of your control can wipe out all of your hard work?

Pete's Greens is a great story of loss and recovery. Follow the story at http://www.petesgreens.com/

It may seem like small comfort at the moment of crisis but careful planning will help you down the road as you transition from crisis, to recovery and eventually to rebuilding.  Your plan will be a guide as you begin the journey back. Even if the actual document was destroyed you will remember some important aspects– the vision, the purpose and some of the details will come back to you.

Five important things to keep in mind

  • You will never have all the information. Set a deadline, do some homework, and choose the option that ‘feels’ best to you.
  • Give yourself permission to mourn the loss. It is a critical step in moving forward.
  • Avoid premature problem-solving. Take the time that you need –rebuilding is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Be an optimist. Even if it is not your nature force yourself to find opportunities, look on the bright side, and remember there is always someone in a worse situation.
  • Remember you are not recreating your old life; you are building a “new normal”. What has been lost cannot be regained but life will be good again…maybe even better.

About Mary Peabody

Working with beginning farmers since 1994.
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