September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Keeping life in balance

Brown presents during WI Ag Women's Summit

By By Krista M. Sheehan- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

MADISON, Wis. - Over 300 women gathered on March 15 and 16 for the Wisconsin Ag Women's Summit in Madison, Wis.
During a breakout session on March 15, professional speaker and agriculture advocate, Jolene Brown, presented, "The Balancing Act: Improve the Quality of Living for Your Home and Career."
"It's hard for us to pause and celebrate for just a moment," Brown said at the beginning of her presentation.
There are three benchmarks of balance, Brown said. The first is knowing the state of one's health.
"How do you know the state of your health? Go to the doctor and get a physical," Brown said.
However, health is more than physical bodies, she said. Mental health is important, too.
"There's lots of depression in women," Brown said.
Brown wanted women to become more aware of how they're living and seek help if needed.
The second benchmark of balance is the state of relationships.
"How do people know they are important to you," Brown asked the audience.
Many people responded that you tell them; however, Brown said not many people have expressed this to the people they should. One way Brown wanted the women to let others know they were important was to write them a hand written letter.
The third benchmark of balance is the state of realized dreams.
"Is there something you still want to do?" Brown said. "Make a bucket list."
It's OK to say no every once in awhile, Brown said. It helps create more balance in work and personal life.
"We need to pause once in awhile to renew ourselves so we can keep going," Brown said.
She went on to explain ten ideas to help the women renew themselves. The first was develop mini breaks. Suggestions Brown made were to relax while at a red light, and be grateful for your age when looking at the reflection in the mirror.
The second is to take a vacation.
"It doesn't have to be grand," Brown said.
Vacations and time off actually make people more productive, Brown said. It's also good for family life.
"The eyes of your spouse and children will light up (when you tell them about a vacation) because it's saying, 'You are as important to me as my work,'" Brown said.
The third way to renew is by engaging in worthy work. Brown said this is why many people are in the dairy industry.
"It's work that puts a fire in your belly. Why do you do it? If it doesn't seem worthy by your heart and gut, then that work is taking up your time," Brown said.
No. 4 was demonstrate appreciation. Brown said take the Harvey McKay approach by handwriting a note to someone each day who you appreciate.
"There's something that happens to people ... when you're appreciated," Brown said.
She also suggested keeping a gratitude journal, in which people could write down three things they are grateful for at the end of each day.
Random acts of kindness are another way to show appreciation, and it sets a good example for children to help others, she said.
Renewal idea No. 5 is to clarify necessary documents.
"Become a business-first family," Brown said. "You honor the family so much, you need to get it in writing. If it's not in writing, it does not exist."
Although many families might see this as untrustworthy, Brown said this will save many headaches for situations in the family in the future.
The next renewal idea is to grow your confidence. Brown said this can be done by setting goals.
The seventh renewal idea is to make decisions based on two tests.
"Is it urgent? Does it involve blood, guts, gore or damage to people or property? If not, approach it in a different state of mind," Brown said.
The other one is the ethical test.
"There's not a right way to do a wrong thing," Brown said.
She suggested asking three questions to know if it is ethical: is it legal, is it OK for my family and friends to know, and would it be OK if it appeared in newspaper headlines.
Build support is the eighth way to renew. Brown said to seek out professional advisors, develop personal relationships and create a board of directors.
Brown also said to keep learning, which is renewal idea No. 9.
"If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always done," Brown said.
She suggested attending seminars to learn new information. Having peers around is also important.
"You need to have people to support you and cheer you on," she said.
The last renewal idea is to celebrate, which Brown stressed is important to do.
Brown said. "At the end of the day, there are only three questions you need to ask: Did I live? Did I love? Did I truly make a difference?"
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