One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that finding your passion truly has to come from within. This was a struggle that I faced for quite a few years and it wasn’t until someone I truly admire and look up to took 30 minutes out of his day to visit with me and said, “Eileen, what is your passion? What drives you and excites you every single day?” Here I was face to face with a guy who has known me since I was a small child, has known my family for decades and currently the President of a major fortune 100 company asking me what my passion was. Wow. That’s a great question and it allowed me to do a little bit of soul searching from there on out. And today, I couldn’t be more thankful for Jeff looking at me and whether he knew it at the time or not, he changed my life. He emphasized the need to find my passion and follow it.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a “Jeff”, and I understand that, but what you do have is the internal drive to make your passion come alive and make your dreams come true. You have the ability to change your own life, to change the lives of others around you and live life like there’s no tomorrow. For those that are closest to me learn pretty quickly that I’m a “glass is half full” kind of person and it’s because of this that some people ignore me (and that’s okay) but it’s because of this that I’ve surrounded myself by positive minded people, friends that have a passion and friends that love what they do.
As an avid “ag-vocate” for an industry that I was born into and truly love, I’m often reminded that not every day is good, but there is something good in every day. For the past 48 hours I’ve had the privilege of spending time with friends that have become my family over the years. It’s these moments that I would love to freeze in time because it’s weekends like this that help remind me of what I do and more importantly why I do it. It’s weekends like this that remind me that farming isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not for the weak minded and it’s certainly not for those who don’t care about others. It’s an industry that is filled with passionate people. It’s a dream that every farm kid has but not everyone gets to make that a reality. These friends I visited this weekend are making their passion come alive despite the challenges they face every day in an industry that is oftentimes against them. Cows are unruly. Equipment breaks. Neighbors aren’t always neighborly. Milk price is terrible. Beef price is at an all-time low. Mother Nature doesn’t listen. The risks are heavy. The anxiety is sky high and the pressure to do well is unlike any other.
So why do it? What keeps these guys going? What drives them? These are questions I ask myself of them and ask myself internally every day. It’s passion. Just like Jeff told me 9 years ago, “Find your passion.” These guys have found it. They may not see it. They may not realize it. But the passion is there. It’s an internal feeling and it’s an internal drive that keeps you going day after day. Soon after meeting with Jeff, I changed my outlook, my path and my driving force that helped me appreciate life every day and today, it’s these friends. These friends that continue to stand by my side, allow me to ride in the tractor whenever I show up, answer my ignorant questions (that might seem endless), allow me to take pictures and capture moments, memories and stories. It’s these friends that literally open their doors for me. It’s these friends that help my passion come alive.