Happy hens – a question of ethics

 

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I recently read The Circle which I note is being released as a movie later this year. You can find Margaret Attwood’s review of the book here  .

I am also watching ‘Conituum” on Netflix – not exactly riveting television but definitely  some very interesting reflections on ethics and what the future could look like depending on the decisions we make in the here and now .

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” …… Alice Walker

We are being asked to make many of the decisions now that are being played out in The Circle and Continuum and in movies like Eye in the Sky 

The Happy Hens caged egg scenario is the current example. Its a tough world out there for the hen whether she lives in a cage, a barn or gets to graze on pasture.

Life is risky for her.Being in the situation where I do know the stats – there are genuine reasons to house hens in cages – lets not beat up the farmers who do this well.

Are caged hens happy – would you be happy living in a cage?. Your kidding you say yet lots of us do live in “cages” in fact we probably all do.  We have many restrictions on our everyday lives and everyday those restrictions increase and others are making our decisions for us.

For me its time to stop demonising the farmer and the system and get comfortable about the choices we make everyday. Most of the time there are no right and wrong choices just the best choices at that point in time.

The future isn’t a place we just get to go – it is a place we get to create.  Together.

Leadership is not for the faint of heart

Over the years I have written a number of posts on leadership and from the robust discussions that followed the vocal majority in agriculture seem to prefer the notion leaders are born not made.

I am currently attending a number of courses/events that pitch themselves as Leadership Courses

It will be hard for them to trump one of the best experiences of my life yesterday which was attending (with 1500 other people ) the Simon Sinek “Start with Why” Leadership forum .

As Simon quite rightly shared with us

“how can we aspire to be a leader when we cant all agree what leadership is?”

Donna Digby who bought 18 women in the agriculture sector a combined 20,000 km to Melbourne to hear their hero Simon speak is the perfect example of the definition of leadership Simon promotes.

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As the motivational speaker and author explained, it really boils down to three things: selflessness, empathy, and an ability to manage anxiety on your team. Here is a look at each trait, and why it is so valuable for you to cultivate. 

1. Selflessness

People like to be around people they trust–it’s as simple as that. “Humans are constantly assessing people and organizations around them, and if they feel they’re selfish, they’ll keep a safe distance,” said Sinek. On the other hand, people tend to want to associate with people and brands characterised by an element of selflessness. Creating that human connection–building trust-is key, though it does take time. Just remember: You’re responsible for setting that tone, Sinek warned. “When the environment is one of a leader who [will] sacrifice, the way people respond is by sacrificing in return. Being a leader is a lifestyle decision; it means you’re willing to take care of others.” 

2. Empathy

Speaking of taking care of others, Sinek added, “the more we do good for each other, the more we want to do good for each other.” He recounted the time he picked up loose papers for a man when he saw them slip out of his bag. The man was grateful, but Sinek said his actions went further than that. They motivated someone who saw them to do something kind. Kindness begets kindness, Sinek went on. It’s holding the door for someone, making a new pot of coffee, and letting someone into your lane. Putting others ahead of yourself-“that is the practice of leadership,” he said. 

3. Grace under fire 

Stress and anxiety are enough to make people dishonest and to sabotage their performance at work. When your body is flooded with cortisol, or the chemical that produces anxiety, “you biologically restrict empathy and trust,” Sinek said. Don’t be that kind of boss–if you’re the one inducing fear and anxiety in your employees, you’re never going to have their trust. The solution is clear: Work on managing your own stress and “be the leader you wish you had,” he said. Your team will appreciate it.  Source 

Simon compared being a leader to being a parent.

‘You accept the responsibility  for the growth of another human being, often  making many thankless sacrifices. Leadership is a hard gig and its not for the faint of heart.’

Wonderful #sketchnote summary of Simon’s talk by the very talented Matthew Magain

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As I watch a lot of the current nastiness on Twitter particularly in the dairy industry I am so saddened to see far too many people creating a toxic environment where people don’t feel safe and the bullies rule. Its time for us all to become leaders and see our role as nurturers of others  and get our buzz not from the hurt generated but take pride in the growth and confidence building of others. Its time to get high on watching others thrive

The TED talk that made Simon a legend

Change, change your life, take it all

As anyone who reads my blog knows 2017 is the year I have chosen to put myself on the top of my To Do List.

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As is typical of me I have risen to the challenge I have set myself in an over zealous  fashion  with the result being I am now an expert in ramifications of grade 3 hamstring injuries and rehabilitation 

The less physical aspect of my investing in me To Do List involves a number of personal and professional development courses. 2016 finished with me getting a scholarship to undertake the  Women in Advanced Leadership program.

The feedback from my mentors was “awesome Lynne but do you want to do a Women Only course”. I wasn’t sure. But what I found when I attended the first face to face workshop was women are pretty special  people. The was a strong focus on soft skills   and giving every opportunity for the participants to share their story .

What truly resonated with me was the women who had phenomenal personal and professional development challenges  who made the decision early on to decide whether they  wanted to either to sit around and blame the rest of the world or see their journey and all its hardships as  a character building learning platform. It was so inspirational to be surrounded by so many women who had made the decision to not be a victim looking for hero to save them.    

Mastermind is on the back burner but getting ready for it and having a major setback has only inspired me to find a personal trainer and get the rehab I deserve.

Investing in me is turning out to be an “interesting” journey

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Putting yourself at the top of your To Do list

I am have never been much good at the work-life balance thing. Nailed the work side but always struggled to get a life. When I made 2017 the year I invested in me and signed up for a diversity of personal and professional opportunities I was starting to feel very comfortable I might start to nail  ‘get a life’

When Zoe Routh invited me to be part of her new Mastermind program I jumped at the opportunity not just because I am a big admirer of Zoe, the Larapinta Walk component was a huge incentive to get fit. I approached the getfit thing with great gusto. I loved it and the places it introduced me to.

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Serpentine Gorge Larapinta

Three months down the track I now find myself with a very serious hamstring injury  (grade 3 with avulsion), with surgery and a brace looking more likely every day and Larapinta definitely off my agenda. Whatever I have done my scans have peaked the interest of the medicos and I am having no trouble getting into see the experts fast. But enough of the negatives.

When fitness becomes a high priority you rethink everywhere you go and are always looking for opportunities to get some training  in and do it in beautiful places of which Australia has many and it has certainly opened my eyes to how wonderful life can be

Let me share with you some of superb places I have been as a result of my get-fit campaign

Let’s start with the Bombah Point Eco Cottages. In January I had the great pleasure of being the MidCoast region’s Australia Day Ambassador. I had spent almost zero time on the MidCoast and knew very little about the region. So out of respect I decided to take a week and drive up and explore the region.

My first stop was the Bombah Point Eco Cottages  an absolute gem recommended by my business coach. The cottages are located 2.5 hours north of Sydney (4.5 hours drive from my bit of paradise) nestled in the Myall Lakes National Park between Seal Rocks, Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens & Bulahdelah.

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My little cottage

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was located adjacent to the entrance to the walking trails and how good were they. So good even the day it got to 46 degrees as soon as the temp dropped 10 degrees and it started to sprinkle I was out there soaking up the atmosphere and providing fodder for endorphin release

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The Eco Cottages are a new venture for host Duncan and his wife Suzie. As the former environmental manager for Cotton Australia, Duncan has a special affinity with native vegetation and the importance of biodiversity  as central to Australia’s cultural identity. Duncan is determined to get it right using a combination of protection and rehabilitation of remnant vegetation and traditional knowledge transfer. Its clear there is no shortage of passion, commitment and vision.

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Everything about Bombah Eco Cottages is designed to make your visit a lifelong memorable experience, with access to the vegie garden and freshly laid eggs from the chook pen .

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The chook palace

and when you visit don’t forget to take the ferry ride and

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visit

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and

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 the Tea Garden’s Boatshed

My 1st, 2nd and 3rd courses where sooooo divine

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sit and soak up the atmosphere

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From here I headed to Forster where the locals describe it as God’s Country….. mmh I could certainly see why they could lay claim to that. Stay tuned for my pictorial of the Forster Region

In the meantime I am taking inspiration from this quote

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Little vs Big Agriculture – are objective views lacking??

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Foodies I need help.

The Picture You in Agriculture team has paired up with the Intrepid Landcare tribe to create and deliver a program that builds on the success of the Art4agriculture initiatives – The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions to help young people in schools get their heads around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and take local action

Schools participating in the Kreative Koalas program ( note landing page only at this stage)  will partner with Young Sustainability Ambassadors (Expressions of Interest open here  ) and investigate and reflect on seven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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We are finding ‘Responsible Production’ tricky. Coming from generations of primary producers that these days would be seen as Big Agriculture, my mission is to show the Little vs Big Agriculture story is not a binary argument – Good vs Bad or Romantic vs Reality or Sustainable vs Non-Sustainable or Non-Sustainable vs Sustainable but a continuum. I am looking for objective views and some great cases studies on both Little and Big Ag.

Landline is an obvious choice for content but no-one has yet identified OZ food bloggers/journalists of the likes of  Tom Philpot from Mother Jones, Nathanael Johnson from Grist  and  Helena Evich from Politico for me

Do we have food journalists that write level-headed assessments of Australian agricultural systems in plain English?  If the answer is yes – please share them with me

HT Richard Heath and Dr Heather Bray

Nobody is perfect – least of all me

I am a big fan of Will Marre and look forward to having the opportunity to participate in person in one of his seminars.

My post today is a section of his latest newsletter. Its good advice for me and I hope you enjoy it too

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Nobody is perfect . . . at least not by our personal standard of perfection. The most we get in life in anything that we seek is 80% of what we believe we want.  If we are getting 100%, it won’t last. But 80% is a lot.  It’s all we need to be happy and loving.

When we fall in love all that we see is the 80% that we are crazy about.  We ignore the other 20% of annoying habits.  We create the illusion that we have found the perfect person. This wonderful illusion drives us to constantly ask ourselves what can I do to make this person happy. We become faucets of kindness, patience and thoughtfulness. We literally create an ecology of love.

But over time, when the love-fog caused by dopamine and serotonin lifts due to the realities and challenges of life, it is common to start focusing on the 20% of the perceived flaws, faults and imperfections of our beloved.  It isn’t that they have changed. Rather it is how we view them that has changed.  Instead of a faucet, we become a drain.  The whirlpool effect is caused by either silent or vocal judgments, impatience, and criticism.  And what was once sacred can become profane.  Instead of asking “What can I do to make the person I love happy?” we focus on what they can do to make us happy.

Love is verb.  It is what we do that creates love.  The feeling of love is the outcome of a choice to be irrationally positive about the people you deeply love.  Nobody wants to be viewed realistically.  We all want to be valued.  We all need people in our lives who see our highest and best self. And we need to see the highest and best of others. Committing to love someone’s 80% of their best self, and choosing to ignore the 20% of their unfinished self, is a sacred choice.

One last thing.  Finding someone who is 80% perfect for you as a friend or partner is neither easy nor simple.  There’re many people who aren’t even 20% perfect for you.

So, choose carefully.  But as John Legend sings someone’s imperfections are likely to be perfect just for you.

Be the love you seek.

Will

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