I’m my own worst enemy

Columnist’s note: It is a special relationship that farmers have with their children. We live and work together side by side as they grow up. Often, we inspire them to follow in our footsteps, and they carry on the legacy of the farm afterward. My daughter, Anna, has chosen to take the lead to join us, and we all work together every day.
She has been participating in many meetings and conferences that are available for enlightening and educating us to be better farmers and better people.
Anna shared with me about her experience at her most recent conference, and she wrote the following for you as well.

A good friend of mine, Mark Misch from DCC Waterbeds, encouraged me to apply for the PDPW Cornerstone Dairy Academy. He said if I was accepted to the academy, DCC Waterbeds would sponsor me to attend. This is the second year he has invited me to attend. Last year, I had a scheduling conflict, so I didn’t apply. I thought I better take the opportunity. I wouldn’t want to regret not going, and, of course, it is the polite thing to do when someone is offering to invest in your growth. I was apprehensive to apply; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go.
I am a shy homebody. Home is where I feel most comfortable, and at times, I find it hard to perform tasks that require me to leave the farm. Besides the stress of not wanting to leave the farm,  this conference would also carry the stress of being the first of its kind that I would attend on my own. I applied and told myself I probably have a 50-50 chance of being accepted.
Well, I was accepted. Oh, no! Now, I had to face my anxiety and attend this conference.  
When I say anxiety, for me, it is a shallow, gnawing feeling that sits in my stomach for weeks ahead of the ever-approaching event. After I am worn out by the anxiety, then regret hits. I think to myself, “Why did I even apply for this? I knew it was going to stress me out.” The commitment subconsciously hangs over my head and weighs me down. I work myself into a depression. Worst yet is I couldn’t back out because I paid a non-refundable deposit to hold my spot. I don’t know why I feel this way about social events, but I do and always have.
A few days later, no sooner did I start to subside from thinking about the event and gradually start to relax, but I got a letter in the mail. It was from PDPW. It read that John Haag, a friend and fellow dairy producer who sits on the PDPW board of directors, had given me a membership to PDPW and a cash voucher to spend on any PDPW event. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely honored to receive the gift, and it meant a lot to me that he thought so highly of me. But now, not only did I need to attend the academy, but I was also a member and was expected to attend another event. For someone like me, this was a heavy load.
Later that week, I received an email from PDPW informing me I was selected to receive a scholarship that would reimburse me a large portion of my entry fee. I thought to myself, “What do all these people see in me that I don’t see in myself? I don’t feel worthy of all this acceptance. Surely there are more ostentatious young agriculturalists who would embrace this experience with open arms.”
The day came to attend the Cornerstone Dairy Academy. My cornerstone pillar was influential leader, and our first speaker was Holly Green. She is a behavioral scientist and experienced business leader who spoke to us about expanding our self-awareness and abilities to connect, influence and thrive. She talked to us about stress and methods to manage stress levels, methods for controlling our emotions and how to develop resilience. I took as much information as I could out of everything Holly said. Her speech was exactly what I needed to help me sort through my feelings of anxiety around social situations. I can now identify what triggers my anxiety and utilize mental tools I have gained from her talk to suppress those feelings.  
In addition to Holly, we also had Hank Wagner, a motivational speaker and dairy farmer, talk to us about how important it is to be grateful and the impacts of being a positive influence. We also learned fine dining skills and attended one day of the PDPW conference, which is full of great educational sessions.  
Overall, the PDPW Cornerstone Dairy Academy was outstanding. I had the most amazing time and highly recommend anyone in the dairy industry to attend. The academy was so great because I had so much room to grow. When I thought everyone had made a mistake in investing in me, I was wrong. I am exactly the kind of person who needs to attend this event. I am stronger and more confident because of it, and maybe one day, I will be a person who embraces these functions.  
I want to thank everyone again for believing and investing in me even when I didn’t. This event changed my outlook on life, and I am a better person for attending thanks to all of you.
    Tina Hinchley, her husband Duane and daughter Anna milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots.  They also farm 2,300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin. The Hinchleys have been hosting farm tours for over 25 years.


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