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Embrace the process


By Jennifer M. Latzke

In the course of my work I attend a lot of conventions and functions with speakers of every shape, size, and topic.

Occupational hazard, I suppose.

And occasionally a luncheon speaker says something that sticks in my mind long after the rubber hotel chicken entrée has been consumed. Such was the case at the Kansas Commodity Classic on Feb. 13 in Manhattan, Kan.

Our lunch speaker was probably not the typical name one would consider for a meeting of farmers. But Mitch Holthus, the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, made quite a few good points that made the connection from the football field to the wheat field.

Especially one in particular.

Holthus talked about “embracing the process.” He told the growers assembled that the process of hard work, dedication, commitment and perseverance will all lead to success if we stay on the path. But all too often, even in rural communities where you wouldn’t think it would be a problem, people get caught in the trap of going straight to harvest and forgetting about planting and fertilizing.

“Have you ever noticed everyone wants to be there, but very few want to get there?” Holthus said.

But that process, that journey to the top, brings more rewards than just a trophy. There are traits that you earn on your way to the top—traits like leadership, integrity and honor. You only learn those when your mettle, your stick-to-itiveness has been tested by fire.

You can’t get them by osmosis. There are no shortcuts.

Holthus’ message stuck with me. We’ve all had shortcuts offered to us at some point, but there’s no shortcut to success. Whether you’re a quarterback or a corn farmer, putting in the time is how it works.

We can’t minimize the process in the hope of avoiding the tough times. Sometimes the lows give us lessons that we couldn’t learn any other way. Whether it’s a lost playoff game or an inopportune storm right before harvest, we take those challenges, and by overcoming them we build our future.

Think about it this way. We all tend to celebrate the beginning of things, but do we give as much thought to the end of things? Holthus said it’s like that million-dollar wedding celebration, but few give a thought to the daily work that goes into a marriage and reaching the 50-year mark.

The same could be true for our farms and rural communities. No amount of shortcuts can replace the daily work, the blood, sweat and tears that go into improving the farm and the community. What we do today affects the future generations that will inherit our land and our rural towns.

Would you want those who would inherit to have integrity, leadership and honor developed by following the process? Or would you rather they have benefitted from shortcuts, never having been truly tested by the tough times?

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

Date: 3/3/2014



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