Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner Reflection

Yesterday evening, I had the honor of attending the Iowa Ag Leaders dinner hosted by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey. Agricultural business leaders, commodity group members, legislators, FFA members, and Iowa State University representatives gathered for a night of networking and inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with friends and mentors during the reception. 

Photo Credit: Katie Klaes

As we savored a delicious dinner served by The Machine Shed, I was encouraged by talks from Abrah Meyer, FFA President for the state of Iowa, Bill Northey and the keynote address from former President and CEO of Heifer International, Jo Luck. There were so many good things mentioned about the enthusiasm of young agriculturalists, and the leadership of Iowa in the industry, but I wanted to share a couple things from Ms. Luck's speech in particular. 

In order to have achievement, you must possess VISION. This is how she described VISION:

V- Values. Know what you value and write it down. Everyone should value caring and sharing.
I- Important. Know what is important to you. (and probably many of the people around you) Family, love, health, faith, justice, community, education, etc.
S- Senses. We learn about 5 senses from the time we are young-- sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing and it's great to use and appreciate all of those, but there are 5 more sense that are also essential-- sense of direction, sense of pride, common sense, sensitivity, and sometimes the hardest to remember, sense of humor.
I- Interdependence. Teamwork, harmony and balance are all key components of achievement. No matter how independent you may be, we still impact each other. There is a Kenyan saying that means "Together we can do it."
O- Ownership. There must be a local (or personal) belief, want, need, and value for the goal. Luck shared the example of Dr. Tererai Trent, which is a story that will have to wait for another blog post.
N- NamJai. A Kenyan word translated "living waters of the heart." Compassion is so important in everything you do, from a smile and thank you to a hosting family, to taking time to walk in someone else's shoes. 

Simply put, never compromise your core values, remember what is important, use all your senses, be sure the right people own it with you, and don't forget your NamJai... ever.

Finally, I want to leave you with one last quote I found particularly inspiring. It went something like this, "You never know when you are influencing someone who will change the world."

As you pursue your goals I challenge you to keep your VISION in mind. Thanks for reading!

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