Holistic Ranching: Creating your own success

The desire for success is universal. Our definition of success may vary but deep down we would all like to feel that we are successful. Success is very personal. Each one of us must develop our own definition of success. That is the success I suggest you strive for. Don’t strive for society’s definition of success. Live your dream, not someone else’s.

I feel that I am an ordinary person and yet I feel that I have achieved a very high degree of success. I have been living my dream for many, many years. I want to share some of the things that have helped me achieve success. My hope is that the same or similar ideas may help you achieve success.

The first requirement for success is to know what you want. This requires having a clear goal based on your values. Once you know what you want you must take concrete positive steps to achieve your goal.

Five Suggestions for Success

  1. Believe in yourself.
  2. Believe in your spouse.
  3. Find and follow good role models.
  4. Do the necessary thinking and planning.
  5. Work hard.

Believe in yourself. Believing in yourself is essential. I am reminded of Henry Ford’s saying, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” Your basic thoughts about success tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have always had a high degree of self-confidence. If something needs to be done I am confident that I can figure out how to do it. I give credit to my parents for helping me develop my self-confidence. They always believed in and supported me. That made it easy for me to believe in myself. I am reminded of the time that I wanted to disperse our cow herd in the 1980s. My dad’s comment was, “Do what you think is best, I believe in you.” What do you think that kind of support did for my self-confidence? If you are a parent I encourage you to tell your children (don’t assume that they know) that you offer them unconditional love and support. This applies to our children at all stages of their lives (birth to death). There is nothing like parental support and approval to help us succeed. At this point I feel pretty confident and am well on the road to success. From time to time my self-confidence may waver. It’s at times like this that I turn to my second point.

Believe in your spouse. Bev and I, like most married couples (I think), have lots of small things we may not agree on. Fortunately when it comes to the big things Bev offers me unconditional love and support. When I turn to her and suggest we should make some major change in our business (sell the cows, buy our hay, or borrow a million dollars) she says, “Do what you think is best, I believe in you.” What do you think that kind of support does for my self-confidence? I encourage everyone to strengthen their marriage and relationships. Together you can do so much more than you can do alone. At this point I am even further along the road to success. Even with this kind of support my self-confidence may still waver. When that occurs I turn to my third point.

Find and follow good role models. I have been blessed with good role models my entire life. When I was young it was my parents, my family and their friends. You may have heard the statement “it takes a village to raise a child.” I feel I was raised like that. As I grew I was always able to find good role models no matter where I was or what I was doing. This included my university years, my veterinary career and especially my ranching career. HM has given me the wonderful opportunity to continue to be influenced by good role models. When I was about 50 I realized that I knew people who could really help me grow, increase my knowledge and skills and become a better person. This personal growth appealed to me. I phoned some of these people and said, “I’d like to get to know you better and learn from you. Would you allow me to come and spend some time with you?” Amazingly people always said yes to my request. The result was I set up a flexible program of learning. I spent as much as a day a month for up to six months with some of my mentors. I drove as much as eight hours one way to invest in my learning. The result was rapid personal growth that resulted in a higher degree of success. Another interesting thing also happened: these people became lifelong friends.

I encourage you to look around. Is there someone you might learn from? Why not set up a personal mentoring program with that person? Your first reaction may well be “I can’t afford the time.” My response would be “can you afford not to invest in yourself?”

As I look at my life today I am confident that no matter what situation may arise I will know someone I can turn to for love, wisdom, guidance and support. What do you think that kind of support does for my self-confidence?

By now I am feeling confident and capable. By moving to my fourth point It won’t increase my self-confidence but I will increase my chance of success.

Do the necessary thinking and planning. Before making any major decision or change it is vital to “work it out on paper.” If you can’t make it work on paper chances are it won’t work in the real world. If it works on paper chances are it will work in the real world. I suggest planning out for a minimum of one year. If you are making a major change projecting out for three years would be even better.

At this stage we have good self-confidence and a workable plan. Now it is time to move to my fifth point.

Work hard. Hard work is the last step in achieving success. Hard work, determination and commitment will help our plans bear fruit. Hard work is like the icing on the cake. It allows us to savour the fruits of our self-confidence and planning. Remember “working will, where wishing won’t.”

These are some of the key things that have helped me achieve what I consider to be a very successful life. As I examine my life closely I realize that most of my success has come from the wonderful people I have had the privilege to know and to learn from. This gives me a sense of humility and a deep sense of gratitude. My desire is to help other people achieve success as others have helped me.

I invite you to use these points in any way that may be helpful to you. I believe we can all be successful. We are surrounded by unlimited opportunity. I sincerely hope you achieve the success you desire.

About the author


Don Campbell ranches with his family at Meadow Lake, Sask., 
and teaches Holistic Management courses.


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