As we look around our society today and review our economy, with its rising interest rates and higher inflation, a lot of people are caught in a trap – one known as FEAR. Actually, it is an acronym for – False Expectations Appearing Real!

I’m sure you can relate, whether it’s the potential threat of your business partner wanting to be bought out during these challenging economic times, your vendors putting extra pressure on you to stay current or your banker commenting that his or her auditors are really scrutinizing their bank advance rates on lines of credit…

We probably all tend to overreact to these types of thoughts or comments, but I believe Author Marilyn Ferguson summed it up best when she stated:

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”

So, what can we do when we run into fear? Realize, as my Business Coach Dan Sullivan, co-founder of the Strategic Coach organization, stated, “Obstacles are the raw material for your success.” Instead of running from these items that you fear, do the following:

First, Set Your Objective. Then, define your Why, the reason you absolutely must achieve this goal. Once you know your Why, as I’ve said previously, your How becomes much easier to identify. You can then list all the obstacles and determine ways to overcome them. This process will keep you moving forward toward your ultimate objective.

Please allow me to provide you with my own business start-up as an example. I didn’t make this change just for more money. That was simply one of the rewards for doing a good job with Clients.

I started by asking myself the question, “How can I do this?” Asking that question made the process more difficult. However, when I started focusing on my Why, positive things started to happen. I started by asking Why, and then realized that I wanted to run my own business. I was fatigued with the demands of Corporate America, and realized that if I didn’t start to set my own course, I’d be stranded on someone else’s agenda. I wanted the freedom to travel with my Family.

When I actually identified my Why, positive things started to happen. I landed Clients, found plenty of long, enjoyable work hours (which never hurt anyone), and discovered plenty of new opportunities to consult, speak and write about. Did I have any fears at the beginning? Of course, I did, but overcoming them by realizing that those fears, while possible, didn’t necessarily have to happen.

By identifying my Why, those fears got lost in the “rear view mirror,” and you can do the same exact thing with your fears, too!

Can I assist you with this process? Be on the watch for some upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops in the Fall.

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

My Business Coach Dan Sullivan, Co-Founder of the Strategic Coach organization stated, “Your eyes only see, and your ears only hear what your brain is looking for.”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? I have a client who regularly reminds me that, just like Johnny Cash, “He is a worried man…” He is usually joking when he says this, but what are the implications of this type of thinking?

If all our thinking is negative, focusing on the potential pitfalls of our every move, guess what? Your brain will definitely find them. Why subject yourself to this junk? It will be much better to recognize the challenges at hand, look for potential solutions to those problems, and then focus on the implementation of them.

If you focus on the positive outcomes that are possible, you can begin to set some challenging, yet attainable, goals. As I have said previously, identify why you want to achieve your goal, along with what that goal clearly is. Then, the steps needed for how you can reach the goal become so much clearer. Knowing your why will help your mind to clearly focus on the steps necessary to your success.

Should we just ignore the potential negatives, the challenges you may face along the way? No, because they always seem to challenge you during the process. With my clients, I suggest that they develop what I call a “Disaster Agenda.” Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? However, after setting their objectives, I ask them to think about the worst three things that could happen and, more importantly, what their potential response might be to such events. I do not like to dwell on these negative challenges, but I feel the benefits of recognizing them are twofold.

First, if one of them does occur, you will be better prepared for it with a solid response. Second, if something even remotely similar happens, you will be better prepared to overcome that hurdle, too.

One word of caution for you. We should not ignore these negatives, but make your primary focus on the objectives you want to achieve. Let your thoughts dwell on these, and I will see you at the finish line!

As author Leonard I. Sweet stated, “The future is not something we enter, it’s something we create.”

Can I assist you with this same process? If so, be on the watch for some upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops.

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

These are tough times. Our economy is scary in some sectors and best characterized as shaky for a lot of people. However, please let me share some good news with you. The key is to focus on Success, not Failure!

The primary reason for this is that if we spend all our time focusing on failure, we can become fearful. Fear is like a weed. It grows without any help and can pop up unannounced, often catching us off guard. However, faith in a better outcome must be sown. How do you do that?

I’m glad you asked. Faith can be sown by focusing on your goal. I call it a “six-inch challenge.” That is because 6 inches is the approximate distance from our left ear to our right ear. Our mind is in that same 6 inches. In other words, whatever you fill your mind with, that will be where your focus remains. The real problem with this approach is that it can get you “down,” and then you never get to the steps necessary to break free from your current challenges.

My suggestion is, despite the current economic challenges, decide What you want to achieve (i.e., “The Goal”) and then be specific about Why you want it. At this point, do not worry How you will achieve the objective. The reason for this is that if your Why is strong enough, the How becomes much easier.

Once we’ve identified Why you want to reach a goal, we can outline the How as follows:

  • Decide what you want & why you want to attain that goal, i.e., what level can be achieved?
  • Define it clearly in your mind, e.g., $300,000 Net Income.
  • Clearly outline Why you want to hit this target. Remember, your Why is far more important than your How.
  • Next, we start laying out the How. What steps do you need to take to reach your objective? What do you need to change? Let’s also identify the potential hurdles you will have to overcome.
  • Start laying out the steps you must pursue to overcome these challenges.
  • Start implementing these steps, realizing that some factors will change as you proceed forward. This can create new obstacles or, on a more positive note, it may eliminate some other ones.
  • As I’ve said many times before, track your results because if you measure something, you can understand it. If you understand it, you can control it. And if you can control something, you can most definitely improve it. That, my friends, is what success is all about!

As Napoleon Hill stated, “The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.”

Can I assist you with this process? If so, please let me know and be on the watch for some upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops to help you with this process.

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

During the past six months, I have noticed a new trend in the way people try to overcome the challenges they are facing in their businesses. They cancel previously scheduled meetings with their Nutritionist, CPA, Attorney or other Advisors. I think it can best be described as “ignoring the problem, hoping it will go away.” If you ever observe this scenario with a neighbor or your brother-in-law (assuming it never happens at your operation), here are a couple suggestions about how to overcome it.

Suggestion #1 – The challenges you face are not likely to go away if you ignore them. In fact, they could compound and become even more challenging.

Suggestion #2 – Cancelling one of these sessions, especially at the last minute, can throw your professional’s schedule off. My biggest concern is that if you urgently need them later, will they be in a position to step in, particularly on short notice? Will they even be motivated to do so?

As I suggested in my last blog, let’s focus instead on the Solutions, not just the problems. Along that same line, we should always remain open to meet, to learn, to develop new objectives and adjust our course as needed, because no one is immune to items changing.

This is all part of what I call “Working on the Business, Not Just in the Business!” It will lead us to complete the following tasks:

  • Answer the question of “What will your business look like in 10 years?”
  • Will you personally be fulfilling the same role or doing different tasks?
  • Who will your competitors be in the future? Sound silly? Consider the impact that products such as Almond Milk or Oat Milk may be having on dairy supplies. Will it become even greater in its future impact?
  • What obstacles do you see in the short term or over longer time periods? What’s the impact of higher inflation, rising interest rates, or increased industry regulations?
  • Keeping these factors in mind, have you begun developing a roadmap for overcoming these hurdles?
  • Are you pursuing your objectives or those of your banker, your industry or someone else? These are all key points to consider.

Can I assist you with this same process? If so, be on the watch for some upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops.

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

I recently listened to an excellent podcast from motivational speaker Brendon Burchard about how to deal with “tough times.” Life in America has historically been good, but I know many people are concerned about things like inflation, rising interest rates, government decisions and, of course, the rising stress levels associated with all of these challenges.

Here some solid suggestions from Brendon on how to deal with these challenges, especially since we don’t always know when they might arise:

  1. Raise Your Ambition Level – This is a key element of being on your “A” game, essentially “showing up!” I believe that when we actually raise our ambition level, we become more focused and benefit from additional clarity. While your competitors or those providing you with this “challenge” are still developing their game plan, you can be one or two steps ahead of them, already having considered numerous “What If?” scenarios. Many challenges come from bureaucrats, and I have found that they hate nothing more than someone who is “prepared for them…”
  2. Reframe Doubt – Brendon emphasizes that we need to overcome pessimism. As he states, “Doubt is calling you to rise, not stopping you!” Everyone has doubts. This is normal, so take a closer look at the situation and consider how you might handle it differently than just having doubts. For example, if you were having success in this situation, what would have to have happened? Trust me. The more you practice this process, the more it will become natural for you and the more you will meet with greater success levels.
  3. Reset Your Habits – Challenges like we are facing today require us to boost our Daily Focus. Just as I wrote in my prior blog, better habits and increased discipline will take you a long way toward achieving your objectives. Again, the best way to overcome bureaucratic obstacles is to succeed in spite of them. That, my friends, will take you to the Next Level!

What challenges are you facing today? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Rest up, if necessary, and then Show Up! Face the challenges head on. You can overcome them!
  2. Doubts are normal. What to do? Think your game plan through and move forward. That’s what progress is all about.
  3. Focus – As Mr. Miyagi said in “The Karate Kid” movies, “Focus, Daniel son, Focus!” This is always good advice and something we should strive to implement.

You will likely find new solutions, refine your processes and make additional, positive improvements. I’ll look forward to seeing you at the finish line!

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

I recently read a fantastic blog by my friend Peter Diamandis, best selling author of Abundance, Bold and numerous other great books, within which he describes the three-step process Sir Richard Branson follows in developing and running his businesses.

Peter describes those steps as: 1.) “Being passionate and committed to fun. 2.) Experimentation. 3.) Risk mitigation.” These steps have served Branson well, as he has developed 500 different businesses to date.

The first of these revolved around having Passion for the business being developed and keeping the process fun. Do you utilize Passion & Fun in your business? Passion is what helps you to get up in the morning and hit the ground running. As Peter Diamandis explains so accurately, “Fun matters because Branson employs it as a strategy for thinking at scale – both as a fuel (i.e., a way of harnessing his passion) and as a first principle, assuming that if something is fun for him – like an airline that makes you say ‘Wow!’ – then it’ll also be fun for everyone else.”

How about Experimentation? Do you experiment with your business and then adjust course, as needed, or do you only implement changes because others in your industry are doing something? Given the large number of variables you are constantly facing, try some experimentation and then adjust course, as necessary. I think you’ll be more excited (passionate) about your level of progress.

Finally, on Risk Mitigation. You can be bold in your level of risk taking, but also be equally bold in your risk mitigation. In all agricultural markets, you can use options to offset your level of price risk. More specifically, if you are running a dairy, you can use programs like the Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) or the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) to put a floor under your prices and maintain a positive margin. I highly recommend that you check out these programs. They are worthy of consideration every year.

I hope you find Richard Branson’s three-step process helpful in your business. If I can assist you with this process, please contact me. It’s a process that I use with my Clients on a regular basis. If you want to check out Peter Diamandis’ writing further, please visit

Please allow me to leave you with this: Are you being passionate about your business?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

I recently read an article that discussed a trend in the U.S. I don’t know if it will actually come to fruition, but I certainly think it’s worth consideration. What the article suggested was that we will all be facing a trend called “the Great Resignation.”

I feel we are already seeing it, to some extent, these past two years with increased employee turnover at many businesses. Unfortunately, it’s being compounded by COVID-19 and government handouts, also known as “subsidies.” Early and mid-career workers are starting to look at their jobs and ask: “Is this what I want and how I want to work?”

If this trend continues, we are going to witness a lot of turnover, upward pressure on wages, and a movement toward shorter hours & greater benefits. If you need an example, just look at these current trends in California. They have already started…

Most importantly, what can you do? I see three potential options.

  1. Train your workers better. Why do we assume that every new employee knows how to do every task and that it’s “cost prohibitive” to teach people how to do even better at their tasks? I remember talking to a manager who stated that margins were tight, and that there was nothing worse than training people and then having them “leave for the competition.” I suggested that there was one thing that was worse, and that’s not training them & having them stay!
  2. Introduce more automation. We are seeing this more with robotic milkers, automated feed pushers, and “catch pens” used in conjunction with collars on dairy operations. These may look expensive, but what is the alternative, shutting down due to an insufficient labor force?
  3. Prepare for more turnover. This option isn’t very attractive, and, frankly, can give most of us serious heartburn… Remember, it may look like the least expensive route, and initially it may be so, but there are many hidden costs to this approach, such as the cost of regularly having to hire new people, constant training for the same jobs over & over, the cost of taxing your managers, and these are only IF you can find replacement employees. What if you can’t?

Finally, why participate in the “Great Resignation?” You may have to pay more, but why not invest in your best people and help them to grow and succeed in their roles? Bear in mind that turnover of employees is costly. Let’s be proactive and side-step this destructive trend.

So, think about this question: Are you prepared to overcome this Great Resignation?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!


I so enjoyed a recent podcast by Tyler Dickerhoof, as part of his ongoing series entitled the Impact Driven Leader. If you haven’t listened to his December 17, 2021 podcast, I highly recommend that you check it out. It has some excellent points!

My favorite point that Tyler shared was that, so often, “We can get so caught up in what we don’t know, that we are afraid to share what we do know.” This is so true for many of us. As Tyler explains, “Who loses when we do this? Everyone around us.”

Please allow me to provide you with some real-life examples from my own consulting work, where this principle really was exemplified:

  • One of my Clients was accused of overstating the numbers of heifers in his herd by 200 head. According to the bank’s appraisal staff, he was off by this amount. Of course, this “raised a red flag” with his lender at his loan renewal… We chose to speak up, and guess what? When they recounted the heifer numbers, we were right, but what if we hadn’t shared what we did know?
  • On another Client’s loan renewal, I had completed an Annual Budget that showed a relatively solid profit for the year we were projecting. Did I know with certainty that the Client would be profitable? Of course not. It was 12 months into the future. However, I did know will almost certainty that he would not lose $400,000, as projected by the bank. I found a huge error in their calculations, and voiced my concern. After realizing their mistake, the loans were approved, and the business moved forward successfully. What if I’d simply accepted their projections?
  • For quite some time, I’ve recommended that Dairy Clients consider milking their fresh cows 4X for the first 21 days of their lactation. This typically results in cows achieving higher peak production and then attaining higher levels of milk production throughout their lactation. Did I understand everything about this process and how it worked? No, but what if I hadn’t shared it with several of my Clients? It would have impacted their milk sales and resulting profitability.
  • For years, I’ve worked on getting Clients, particularly in the dairy industry, to diversify their operations. This has resulted in Clients expanding into Almonds, Pistachios, Wine Grapes, Olive Oil Production, Various Dairy Products and, most recently, Methane from their Digesters for Energy Production. Did I know that every one of these projects would succeed? No, but after extensive analysis and knowing that they could potentially benefit, I shared with them what I did know about the positives of diversifying their operations.

So, to answer the question above: Are you sharing what you do know, or are you so caught up in what you don’t know, that you’re afraid to share what you do know?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

I was recently reading an article by Joshua Becker within which he described being out for a walk and then seeing a line of ants crossing the sidewalk that he was traveling on. He stated, “As I was watching, I noticed one ant carrying a leaf. And then I noticed another. And then another. The ants carrying the leaves were walking the same direction, and seemed to be keeping up, but the longer I watched, the more I noticed they were walking a little slower than the others… All I noticed was that some of the ants were walking peacefully while others were carrying a heavy burden. And it reminded me a little bit about life. Sometimes we walk peacefully. But other times, life requires heavy lifting.”

So, I’d like to ask you one question: Who’s doing the “Heavy Lifting” in your operation, and have you thanked them recently?

There is so much “buzz” today about the benefits of automation and the impact that will have on your labor force. I agree that it is clearly the wave of the future, and its benefits are astounding. But what if you can’t automate some functions in your operation or what if you feel you cannot afford to automate, i.e., it appears to be cost prohibitive?

In that case, you need to identify an alternative approach. Find those people in your work force who are an excellent example of what you want in every employee and use them as a model. If they have skills that you wish all your employees had, use them to teach the others by example. This process will improve the overall skill set of your Team, AND you will definitely build that employee up by literally recognizing his or her superior skills.

Likewise, the next time an employee comes to you asking for a raise, provide them with a check list of skills and ask them if they can do each and every one of those tasks. If they cannot do all of them, have them learn how to do the new tasks. Again, two things will happen. Your work force will be better trained, and they will then be worth more to your operation, allowing them to boost their income.

Do you know the future roles of your employees? Are there opportunities to grow and/or be promoted? This is huge for employees. I know you’ve been focused on your next expansion or banking issues, but remember that, just like a dog sled team, “The scenery only changes for the lead dog!” Help them define a clear path forward. As Luke Miller, DVM, recently stated at the Western Dairy Management Conference in Reno: “If you can’t trust your Team, it’s your fault, not the employees. You either hired the wrong person or provided them with no training, both of which are the fault of the employer.”

I suggest, while you are studying ways to automate your operation, think about the development of your best employees, as outlined above.

I will leave you with one final thought: Who do you need to thank for “doing some heavy lifting” in your operation?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!

Author Andy Andrews, in his book entitled The Traveler’s Gift, explained that taking responsibility is the key to all success. I’m sure you’ve heard of the 3 R’s – Reading, Writing & Arithmetic. I consider “Responsibility” the 4th R!

Andrews suggests that the best path to a brighter future is to accept the responsibility for the problems you face. He added, “If I allow myself to blame these uncontrollable forces for my lack of success, I will be forever caught in a web of the past.” Instead, we should follow the famous Harry Truman mantra – “The buck stops here!” We are responsible for our own success.

Now, in all fairness, I don’t have any idea how much success you’ve enjoyed or the amount of pain you’ve endured in the process, but I do know one thing for sure. As Les Brown stated, “Wherever you are in life, you made an appointment to be there.” In order to take full responsibility for our lives and the related success, we need to stop & consider what to do.

First, build a plan. I’ve developed a successful consulting business over the last 23 years, and you know what? Clients and prospects still haven’t run out of challenges & problems to solve. Let’s face it. Problems are just part of life. However, back to the “plan” for your business & life:

  1. Determine where you want to go.
  2. What are the pluses & minuses of this idea? Anticipate the challenges you’ll face.
  3. Consider your “Why!” Usually, when I ask someone why they want to do something, they’ll respond with, “To make more money…”
  4. I’ll ask, “But why do you want to make more money?” To which they might respond, “To stay in business!”
  5. To which, I might say, “Why do you want to stay in business?” Now, getting somewhat frustrated, they might state, “because my son is in college, wants to come home & would represent our third generation on this farm.”
  6. Finally, I might ask, “Why does that matter?” Then, they will exclaim, “Having our son return and be successful as the third generation on this operation would make my Dad very happy, and, as hard as he has worked during his 85 years, I think he deserves that from us!”
  7. Guess what? While this process can be emotional and even somewhat frustrating, we have now identified your “WHY!” If you know your “Why,” the process of determining your “How” becomes so much easier.

Identify your “Why” and then determine your Action Plan, for as Andy Andrews states:

“In the future when I am tempted to ask the question ‘Why me?’ I will immediately counter with the answer: ‘Why not me?’ Challenges are gifts, opportunities to learn.”

I will leave you with one final thought: What is your Plan for next year?

Let’s take your business to the Next Level!