Success is made up of many failures along the way. I believe you need to have a great sense of humour or you could die of embarrassment in the midst of a failure. My first experiences in the face of failure would leave me with negative emotions and a sense of worthlessness.
Over time I realized that most failures are minor mistakes that are instrumental in perfecting my skills. I learned to treat my failures as friends and not as foes. In my career, I ensured I trained all to embrace their mistakes and learn from them.
To bring this to our day to day experience on the farm. Five months into this journey, we are building knowledge with Google information, Facebook pages, blogs, magazines and even acquiring knowledge from fellow farmers. We don’t want to fail.
No matter how much we learnt, nothing prepared us for the day we lost our neighbours’ Friesian steers. Last summer we weren’t ready to place cattle on our property so we used it as agistment. Our friendly neighbour, who we consider as our ”mentor” on farming matters, agreed to allow seven of his steers to roam in our field. We had one paddock closed off due to poor fencing. As the grass became scarce, we thought we may need to open the gate to that particular paddock. The neighbour came with us to inspect the fencing and gave us his opinion, which was favourable. My husband, still unsure, thought it best to buy a cheap solar battery operated electric fence energizer. Finally, we opened the gate, the steers went in as they pleased.
Daily my husband would check the energizer. To our dismay, it kept failing. A new battery was sent to us, but with no improvement.
We noticed that the animals weren’t keeping to the boundaries. They had no fear of an electric fence that didn’t work.
One day we came home to an empty paddock. No steers left. We knew the neighbour was planning to remove them imminently so we weren’t surprised. When we saw him next, we asked him about it.
Yes, he had taken them back, but we were surprised to find that he’d found them wandering the neighbourhood. Thinking they were from another farm, he began herding them towards it. A few minutes later, one of the steers turned around and came towards him and licked him. It was a strange reaction for the animal to do that unless it was one that had been bottle-fed, hand raised by him. After further inspection of the herd, he realised they were his steers. They had escaped from our property. That day five we’re found. The other two appeared a couple of days later.
How embarrassing! What an epic fail in our agistment business. A few laughs, a reprocessing of the event, and more laughs. If we can learn from our mistakes, don’t buy the cheapest thing out there. Ensure it will do a good job. In this particular instance, just fix the fence.
Lesson learned. We are ready to move on.