Farmers put in long days and you should too.
Well done marketing connects with the intended audience. Like a good earworm, the message, the imagery and the brand find their way back in to your thoughts and dreams. That connection hit me like the best shareable appetizer during the cheesiest of times…the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 47 in 2012. Black and white photography took over the tv screen. A welcoming yet rough voice started in, “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.” Paul Harvey continued pulling on heart strings by speaking of the early mornings, grueling work, unending responsibilities and unplanned circumstances from his “So God Made a Farmer” speech at the Future Farmers of America convention in 1978.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps; who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, and then pain’n from tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours”
The instinct, drive and grit of a farmer is not too far removed from each of us. It’s a parent. It’s a grandparent. It’s a distant relative who, themselves, were farmers. Their work was their life and their life, their work. It was (correction: still is) physically draining. Mentally draining. Emotionally draining.
Am I a farmer?
Do I have what it takes, deep down, to be a farmer? I’m not so sure. Might I buy a Ram Truck because of that commercial? Also, unlikely. But I do get to the office every morning before the sun rises. I keep myself up on Saturday nights thinking through Monday’s problems. I take on more work than I can (sometimes) mentally handle. Some say it is unhealthy. Others that it’s not sustainable. And yet others say, “Why are you doing this, Bill? It’s just a job!”
I think back about the farmers in my family tree. Those who didn’t bat an eye at one last unexpected, painful task before the sunset. Those who knew the blood from their hands and sweat from their brow, so aptly depicted in that Dodge commercial, were the lifeline of their family and the soul of their community. Those who hastily hit their head to their pillow night after night with not another ounce of their mental or physical being to give.
Will you be a “farmer” with me?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate with my education, insightful mentors and professional endeavors. As a result, I can choose not to break my back and dispense all my physical energy toiling for hours on a farm. But I’ll be damned if I don’t extend every waking minute to learn more, experience more and do more while I have the chance. Please don’t question that choice. It’s one that I make it every day. It’s not about preventing regret. It’s about laying down my own head at night, not because of physical pain, but knowing I have no mental or emotional energy left to give. And that tomorrow, because my cup is overflowing with opportunity, I can challenge myself again.
I’m certain there will come a day of rest when I smirk as I look at the fruits of my labor. The smirk will come because I can see the delighted expressions and “pain free” moments my users experience because of my efforts. After all, my work is the lifeline of my family. But, unlike farmers, it may not be what stitches communities together. Those farmers, their work, the life had meaning. A higher calling, if you will. And what I have is the closest I can get to a professional higher calling.
And as I pass down that commitment and ethic of those before us to my daughters, that smirk will turn in to a smile. Because it is that which makes a humble, charismatic and hard working individual. And if my example leads them to be great people with those characteristics, I have done well.
So I ask you…are you a farmer?
From the author
I’ve never walked away from a discussion feeling good about myself if all I did was talk about what I believed to be true. Similarly, I didn’t write this post believing I know everything about the subject matter above. Instead, I want all involved to learn, including myself. So please comment and share feedback on this post, write me on Twitter or send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.