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Getting Ready for Change – Liz Genever

According to Dr John C. Maxwell, “There are the four times that people change.

People change when they hurt enough, they have to. When they see enough, they're

inspired to. When they learn enough that they want to, and when they receive

enough that they're able to”.

We want to Carbon Calling to help people see, learn and receive how they can

change their businesses to improve profitability, their farm’s resilience and their own


We are different to other organisations as we are helping farmers learn to self-reflect,

to develop the power inside all of us and be clear about what you want to achieve.

Remember no one is coming to save you. This life of yours is 100% your


We have to start asking ourselves questions:

- What do we care about? What gets us out of bed every morning?

- What are our concerns? Do we have any control or influence over them?

- What do we want our farms to feel, look and be like?

- What behaviours or attitudes need to shift?

- What systems and tools are needed to shift the environment?

- What does success look like? How will you measure it?

Nic and I are very happy to stand up here and talk about this, as we are doing this

work at the same time as you. We are asking ourselves these questions for our own

farms and Carbon Calling. We are focussing on concerns that we have control or

influence over.

When I work with people, I try and think where they are on the change curve. This is

an idea that was based on model originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth

Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process. Since then it has been widely utilised as

a method of helping people understand their reactions to significant change of

upheaval. So part of change is understanding where you are on the curve, and

where you are will vary depending on which change – could be loss of subsidy, could

be the discontinuation of the dark chocolate bounty, could be climate change or be

attitude towards glyphosate.

The farmers we have selected for the farming into the future meetings are on the upward bit mainly. They spoke about how they have moved through change, what decisions they took that worked and didn’t work, and what their plans are for the future.

So how we do get more prepared to deal with change……

As Nic suggested we started talking about different things a few years ago now, and we have evolved our thoughts due to the people we meet. In my old life, I thought we just needed to communicate differently or engage people more, but this is evolving. I am particularly interested in mental training at the moment, as it is area that has been identified as important at changing how we react to certain situations, aka our resilience. It is something that we could all improve.

It could be that as we put out electric fencing or drive around on the quad bike checking stock is that we take stock on where we are, think about where we want to be, and how we are getting on. I spoke to Holly from Focussed Farmers and her take home messages were that we need to calm the chatter in our minds to allow us to act purposely, and to turn up to our life. For me, this takes the chatter takes the form of my dad and basically tells me how impractical I am, how I will never make a farmer as I spend too much time faffing about.

Holly was also forthright about “feelings”. Temporary feelings are emotional thoughts flowing through our minds all the time. Even though we know this, we still make bold permanent decisions when we shouldn't. We always have a choice. We don’t have to react to our emotions immediately. Permanent decisions need us to be rational, calm and in control of what we can control. Part of the challenge in the past, is that we have made decisions based on temporary feelings – worry, anxiety, panic, powerlessness – and these decisions aren’t the best ones or the behaviour doesn’t change as we then eat, or sleep, or drink, and all is better.

Part of Carbon Calling’s future is to help farmers and others hold a “mirror” up to themselves and take account of what they see, and offer help and support to change.


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