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The Radke Report: Iron sharpens iron

Amanda Radke
The Radke Report
Radke

We are officially a couple of weeks into a brand new calendar year.

How is 2023 treating you? Is it “new year, new you,” and all that jazz? Or is it more of the same frustrations, but just a different year?

Have you, in fact, “tried your free trial of 2023 and want to cancel your subscription” already? Or are you excited and hopeful for the goals you have set and how you’re going to achieve them?

With any new beginning, we often see it as a fresh start, and any challenges to the clean slate we have set for ourselves, we can quickly find ourselves feeling defeated and slipping into old habits that keep us from growing, learning, and striving.

If you’re in that boat, you’re not the only one.

I had big plans to kick off 2023 and get things off to a great start. In the odd twilight zone between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, where the days kind of blur together and you’re subsisting on leftover Christmas treats and cheese, my husband, Tyler, and I sat down to have a business strategy meeting.

It’s something we should do more often, but rarely do we find time for just us two, with no kids underfoot, to discuss our goals for our beef cattle operation and what we want to focus on in the upcoming months.

So it was on this rare occasion, that I, with pen and paper in hand, excitedly wrote down our big plans and goals for the upcoming year. We were going to hit the ground running in January, and with grand notions in our minds, we happily said “goodbye” to 2022 and awaited the year to come.

Well, I’m not sure the best analogy for how we actually started the new year, but I would liken it to watching a barn cat accidentally fall into a stock tan in the cattle yard. It was a slap back to reality as we faced many obstacles, albeit trivial in the grand scheme of things, in the first week of the year.

In the first week of 2023, we received more than two feet of snow on the ranch. That type of weather quickly derailed any other plans we might have had as the focus was entirely on digging our way out of the mess, scooping feed bunks, feeding cattle, opening up frozen waterers, bedding animals, and just staying on top of the mountains of snow in the feedyards.

During that stint of massive snow fall, that’s when things really took a turn for the worse. One of our tractors broke down, and, of course, the parts won’t arrive for two weeks. In another tractor, the glass door randomly shattered while feeding hay. Then the trusty ranch pickup blew up, and for good measure, so did my oven and my office printer.

If it wasn’t so costly to fix all these issues, one would laugh, and we did eventually find the humor in the chaos as we worked together to navigate the week. To add insult to injury, the kids picked up a flu bug. Laundry piled up. And sadly, our best cow lost her twin calves, born two months early.

If it could go wrong in the first weeks of 2023, it sure did! But isn't that life? We can have big plans for what we want to accomplish, but life has a funny way of throwing us curveballs and humbling us in our pursuit of success. I truly believe these challenges are meant to strengthen us, just as iron sharpens iron. And it's how we respond to adversity that matters most.

All this to say, if you're experiencing a rough start to 2023 - take a deep breath! This too shall pass. Dust yourself off. Reset those goals.

Anticipate road blocks up ahead, and take things in stride when your best laid out plans go sideways.

Don’t take your stress out on your family members. Remember you are a team, through thick and thin, and don’t forget that it can only go up from here! Right?

Oh, and if there's one resolution we can all stick to, it's this: EAT MORE BEEF!

Amanda Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural communications, education and leadership, Radke is a blogger for BEEF Daily blog.