Black Ink: Look Back Better

You just never know where your growth might lead you.

Sometimes my mom leaves behind boxes of memories at my house. They come in the form of trinkets, pictures and random notebook pages, a few decades old.

Mom has been cleaning closets lately, and the results of that provide all kinds of laughs—pictures of 13-year-old me and my friends—and things that catch a little, like the cards I wrote, but never sent, to people who can no longer receive them.

As I recently went through a left-behind tote, I came across a small box of notes that were no doubt recovered from the deepest of corners. Always a writer it seems, I even scribbled out letters to myself on occasion. They often detailed exactly how it felt when I encountered some big change in life, such as my best friend moving away in fourth grade, or when I faced something that felt really monumental. (Like trying the sport of basketball and pretty quickly finding I was no good at it.)

Most of these memories only surfaced now with hidden reminders, but at the time I penned the words? They felt huge. They caused me heartache and angst.

Nobody likes to hear this in the middle of a trial, but it seems often true in life and business: the thing that feels so hard now, won’t always feel hard.

What felt nearly impossible to my junior-high self, I wouldn’t think twice about today.

That’s the beauty of continued growth. You learn, make improvements and then build on those.

Maybe you got your first set of carcass data back and it was just average, but you want to make your herd elite, to earn premiums that brighten your bottom line. It feels like there are so many decisions that go into that final report card, and balancing all the competing demands is tricky.

Maybe you’ve got the best set of calves you’ve ever weaned in front of you, but you’re trying to market them with extra information. It’s a new process that feels more cumbersome than your usual methods.

Growth is uncomfortable. It can be uncertain as the outcome is not guaranteed. It’s flat-out hard work, but if you ever take a moment to look back and see how far you’ve come—that’s where the reward is.

I hope you top that auction or see huge year-over-year improvements in your data. I hope you find solutions to your biggest challenges, so they become mostly distant memories.

I’m still no great talent on the basketball court, but I certainly don’t feel bad about that now, because the next year I found cheerleading. And I kept writing. You just never know where your growth might lead you.

Next time in Black Ink®, I’ll talk about the past and its rightful place.


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