View from the Summit

Leadership Lessons From A Farmer

Posted by Aaron Walker on Jun 25, 2014 8:33:00 AM

Will your blind spots kill you?

AaronWalkerBlindSpotAfter my wife and I were married we moved to Goodlettsville on the outskirts of Nashville, 15 miles north to a community of 30,000 people.

Our next door neighbor, Albert McCarroll was the caretaker of a 130 acre farm for our local judge. Albert and his wife Dude, maintained this farm for more than 50 years. Every time I was in a bind, needed common sense or a voice of reason, Albert was my go to guy. I kinda adopted them to be my surrogate grandparents.

Robin and I tried our hand at cattle and that was a miserable failure. Once Albert told me to sharpen my mower blades, I wondered how he knew they hadn’t been sharpened for 3 years? Albert said when the tops of the grass turn white it is an indicator that I was “ripping” and not “cutting”. Albert helped Robin with our garden, he had all the answers and I’m glad because I despised working in the dirt. Albert taught me how to grill steaks, “get the coals just right before you start” he said, “there is just the perfect time, not to early and not too late”. He showed me how to cut trees and make them fall exactly where you wanted. He wore long sleeve shirts in the summer and used his built in cooling system to keep his body just right. He always drank room temperature water to avoid those annoying headaches. Albert and Dude were country people, blessed with a giving spirit and a great heart that had many valuable life lessons to offer a young couple. I learned a lot of great leadership lessons from Albert. Lots of good ones but there was a tough lesson Albert would teach me I’ll never forget.

Stubbornness – Albert’s blind spot.

For years and years everyone pleaded with Albert to wear his seat belt and get a roll bar while operating his tractor. He said he knew that farm like the back of his hand, and he did. But one day while spraying for weeds the water shifted in the storage tank, rolled the tractor and pinned Albert underneath, killing him.

We can’t avoid all accidents and we all have an appointed time with death, that goes without saying. But stubbornness was Albert’s blind spot and it cost him his life.

What is your blind spot?

Are family and friends trying to warn you and you’re too stubborn to listen? Are you too rough on the kids? Are you mean spirited to your peers? Are you simply unwilling to listen?

Be smart, take a moment and ask others where they see your potential blind spots? If not, we may find you one day “underneath the tractor” pinned down by your own stubbornness.

Topics: Life Coaching


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