Today, I’m going to share some lessons from the farm. I always enjoy bringing you Mornings with Mark and this one has really hit home. Recently, as I was thinking about how I respond in difficult situations, I realized something that I want to share with you.
Growing up as a kid, I worked on the farm. No, that’s not sexy. And no, it’s not brutal. It was ugly. I picked strawberries. I don’t know if you’ve ever picked strawberries, but it’s hard work. The strawberry picking season would start right after school let out in June and through mid July. Every year, the bus came by to pick me up about 5:30AM. Oh, by the way, I was about 12 years of age. It would pick me and a few friends up and take us to a strawberry patch where we joined hundreds of other kids and adults.
I don’t know who would ever pick strawberries all day long. About 3PM in the afternoon, I would get back on the bus and go home. I remember the very first day, almost every year. It was brutally hot and muggy and just plain, yuck. On the bus ride home, I would tell myself, “that’s it, I’m not coming back. I’m not doing this again.” Then, I’d get home and tell my dad that I’m not going back.
His response was always, “No, we’re not even discussing it. You’re going to be on that bus tomorrow morning.” My father would not allow me to use any excuse to get out of picking berries. He told me I would do it. That is how I spent the first half of every summer growing up as a kid and every year would start off the same – me complaining. But every year, my dad said, no, you’ll do it.
It was very interesting, because the first couple days of strawberry picking, the buses were full. However, as the season wore on, there were fewer and fewer people getting on them to strawberry pick. So many dropped out because it was hot, ugly work. By the end of the season, though, I collected a lot of cash. More importantly, beyond the money I earned, I gained discipline – a discipline to stick to it.
Today, I can’t help but think about that experience and how it has shaped me. It has helped me through life. Many times, I’ve found myself in situations that I just want to quit. I just want to give up. On many occasions in college courses, I wanted to walk away and say, screw it. I told myself I would just drop it and take the course later. Every time, I heard my father telling me, “no, you won’t quit.” His voice in my head has pushed me time and time again and kept me going. Even nowadays, while in the middle of a hard situation with a customer, I sometimes tell myself I just want to screw it because it’s not worth it or the customer is not worth pursuing. Then, I hear my father’s voice.
As a kid, I learned discipline and boy, has it stuck with me. It has stuck with me my entire life. Stop and ask yourself this question: how do you respond in the face of adversity? For me as a child, adversity was unbearably hot weather, getting sunburned, and a lack of water. I mean, you talk about every labor law violation. Yes, but remember this was many, many years ago. Man, my elbows, knees, everything was sore. I hurt all over from bending over, picking up strawberries, and dragging myself through the dirt – all before the discipline it taught me. I gained a great deal of self-discipline from those many summers.
Where do you get your reaching back to make it happen? How and where do you get to the point of telling yourself, “Ok, I got to find a way to make this work. I can’t quit. I can’t bail. I’ve got to go. This has to work. We have to find a way.”?
Right now, I want to challenge you to stick with it. Discipline yourself to not give up but endure even when it’s unbelievably hard. I look at several things throughout my life that I stepped away from too early. Oh, doggone it, I remember one thing my company did probably like 15 years ago that was very cutting edge related to the Internet. We didn’t get fast results, so we walked away. Wow, if only I had heard and listened my father’s voice in that moment. I wonder how successful I would be today.
It’s all about discipline. We can’t have enough of it in our lives. Discipline is what keeps us focused and on track, because it plays to the core of who we are. Yes, I’ll never forget those strawberry fields at Ward Farms outside of Tenino, Washington or Yelm, Washington. I don’t know exactly where. Not only did I make money while working there, I learned how to be disciplined and that has taken me much, much further in life. I’m glad I learned it. Thank you, Dad.
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.