11 lessons in 2011

Typically the new year brings new hope with a fresh chance to take on the world. It comes with empowerment, determination and an enthusiastic winning attitude. Always talk of what we plan on doing better in the new year. While I am thrilled about this new adventure I am going to take some time for reflection of the things I learned in 2011.

#11 God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason

You clearly learn more by listening than by talking. Tis a far, far better thing to do. And not the fake nodding and not paying attention, really listen to people, apply the information in the questions you ask them and remember what you took away from the conversation. Listen, it gets you a long way with people. This is a skill I have worked on all year, and it’s come along way. Not perfect, but much better.

Here’s me at a shop talk, taking notes and listening to what farmers and ranchers have to say.

#10 Good things do NOT come to those who wait, good things come to those who initiate.

2011 was a growing year for me at NDFU. The membership team reignited the young producer program and we came up with Tomorrow’s Ag Generation (TAG). My partner Terri Lang and I have had great success with the incredible young people on the TAG team. We have discovered that young people do care and make incredible contributions, they just have to be asked to join and given the right opportunity. Initiating TAG was an incredible step forward for NDFU. If you want change, initiate it and be willing to work to achieve it.

#9 Social Media is very important, try it

I began blogging and actually utilizing my twitter account in 2011. I even created a LinkedIn,thanks to a class I took from Scott Wild in Bismarck. It has really expanded by horizons and I have met some fantastic people, as well as learning recommendations for places to shop and visit. Social media has changed the entire realm of communication, and if you’re not in it, my advice would be to start exploring because the possibilities are endless. You never know who you will meet with common interests from around the world, or even right in your neighborhood.

#8 Stand up for what you believe in, it’s a whole lot better than just thinking it

I have always been a woman power person, we are incredible organizers, thinkers and fighters, among many other things. Domestic violence, sexual assault, affordable access to birth control, inequality in pay, unequal access to health care and women being under represented in public office are all concerns that I have always wanted to address in the future. 2011 was that future. I became involved in several organization, AAUW, ND Women’s Network and Safe Shelter. Through these organization I am able to make a small difference on these issues. Plus they provide me hands-on experience in dealing with these issues. ND has incredible potential for women in leadership!

Here’s the NDWN Equality Walk at the Capitol

#7 Owning a house is a wonderful idea, it is also a giant pain

This past year I had to rip out some sheetrock in my laundry room that had molded. I mean it was ridiculous. So my roommates Josh and Kirby helped me rip out all of the sheetrock and the floor, carry everything out, haul to the dump and replace the walls. As I begin on my wallpaper adventure in my bathroom upstairs it is only going to continue. At least the mold is gone!

#6 Home time is VERY precious time

Working for NDFU I did LOTS of traveling this year. I do love traveling across the state, meeting members, having shop talks, young producer events, county annual meetings, TAG events, women events, the list goes on and on. My time at home is limited. I’ve learned to spend it wisely, channeling it with friends, family, organizations I have a passion for and exercising. Weekends at home are now spent with the sister, nephew and our pets, and those are clearly the best. Sometimes being home all weekend is the best treat in the world because I’ve been away so long.

#5 At the age of 25 you can’t eat like you are 20 anymore

This has been a sad, hard lesson for me over this past year. A 25 year old metabolism does not work like my once college-age metabolism worked. Now eating more results in bigger pants and skipping an exercise results in bigger pants and having that second piece of cake results in bigger pants. Cutting back and exercising more often is something I will have to continue to work on in 2012.

#4 A please, thank you and smile will get you everywhere

This goes to say that along the way I have clearly forgotten my manners. As my sister is teaching them to the nephew, the lesson is being passed all the way up. I’ve learned when you treat people with respect, by just using the word please, suddenly they are much more cooperative and open to your ideas. A thank you to boot along with a smile, people may actually like working with you.

#3 Take the trip of your dreams, there’s no better time than now

Ever since I was a little girl who read an article about Yankees player Roger Marris in my Weekly Reader I have been a yankees fan. My love of Sex and the city sparked a keen interest in NYC as a whole, what a fascinating place. So many things to see, do, explore and take in, all is such a small area. This year I went to NYC for a week, took in a Yankees game, saw incredible sights, ate their $1 giant slice of pizza and found out I loved the city I had grown so fond of as a child and young adult. Best vacation ever.

#2 Persistency is important

I found the perfect magnet for my office when I was in NYC it says “Never, never, never give up” – Winston Churchill. If that isn’t something I had to remember this year. Alot of changes happened very quickly in my life, new position, new people in my life, old friends leaving, and many new challenges in my roles in various organizations. Some days it felt easier to quit everything and stay home to watch Netflix. However, at a steak fry fundraiser for the Dist. 12 Dems in June Pam Gulleson gave a speech about how important it is to remain and keep fighting for what’s important. Stay involved. Fight for what you believe it. It’s so important to have a seat at the table, because if you don’t you’re on the menu.

Pam speaking at the steak fry

#1 Goodbyes are inevitable

No matter who is important in your life, there will come a moment when goodbye must be said. My last remaining grandparent, Grandma Patsy, died in January of 2011. She was a hoot, a grandparent I had gotten a chance to develop a true bond with as I became an adult. I remember how proud she was when I was voted homecoming queen, and how excited she was to come see me graduate from college. We always teased that she’d outlive us all because she smoked about 2 packs a day and that’s typically how it goes in our family. We said goodbye to her, but I remember reading on facebook someone has posted this poem to offer comfort “Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are the the end. They simply mean we’ll miss you, until we meet again.” I’ll see you one day Grandma. We sure do miss you here.

So here’s to bringing the lessons from 2011 into 2012. Who knows what I’ll learn this year. Happy New Year everyone!


1 Comment

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One response to “11 lessons in 2011

  1. Wow, of course #1 made me cry, 2, 4 and 10 in that order also struck me, but all in all, they were all great points. I want you to look at the post by Tom Basson titled “The First Thing You Should Do in 2012.” Good stuff. I sure hope this year is better, or that at the least we don’t have to say any more permanent good-byes this year.

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