Growing, In More Ways Than One

I am painfully shy. I teach online birthing classes every week, and I love to do that, but the confidence to do so has been years in coming. I also think that I could get up and give a speech or teach a live class. I'd be nervous, but I could do it.

homesteading-booksTell me I need to call someone on the phone, however, and I want to hide in a closet. I get so nervous that I've taken to writing down my own phone number and address before I make calls, so I can just look at the piece of paper when I'm anxious and my mind goes blank. I'm so thankful for email, as it makes initial contacts a little easier, at least most of the time.

But one things I'm realizing is that if we want a real go at this homestead thing, and especially if we ever want to farm to provide goods in the community, is that I have to make connections. We don't really know how to do any of this stuff!

Books tend to be where I turn first, and for the most part, they serve me really well. I love Amazon.com simply because of the extensive book reviews. I can usually read reviews and know if a book will be what I'm looking for, or at least if it will get me part of the way to where I'm going. We've gotten some great books and I continue to get more as we start to broaden our horizons and look into other aspects of farming.

But there are times when real life experience and wisdom are helpful. And there are times when connections are absolutely required. I've found that I've been forced to go this way in my business as the same time as I'm looking at it for the farm, which is a blessing. The Lord knows what I need 🙂

I've been reaching out more and more to other business owners in my niche (pregnancy and childbirth) and I'm having to do the same here. We've got to get to know people to get a good dog. To decide if we want goats. To find the type of cow we want. There's a CSA down the road from us and I need to call them. Not only do they have kids, but they're doing permaculture work similar to what we want, right down the road. They're dealing with a really similar environment.

There's a lot to learn. I'm most comfortable with email and with forums, and there's certainly wisdom to be gained in those places. But I'm also having to stretch out of my comfort zone and find real connections in our community. Ethan on the Beginning Farmer podcast says to reach out to those who farm like you do, and to those who don't – there's something to learn from people who have been farming, even if it's not exactly how you decide to do it.

So here's to growing, in more ways than one.

Kristen

About the Author

Kristen

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

Alissa

Hi! I don’t know you, but I felt so compelled to post after reading this. I came across your blog in kind of a strange way. My husband and I are probably about 4 or 5 years behind you in our farming journey. We’re still at the “amassing knowledge” stage while he finishes up pharmacy school, so I’m in the process of building a large farming library. Quite by accident I discovered how fun it is to read the blog posts folks make about their own homesteading libraries that I find searching for “homesteading books” on Google images. Yours wasn’t the typical bookshelf full, but because I own all but the first aid book in your picture, I was drawn to it. And I’m so glad I was! I am EXACTLY like you!! I struggle with shyness and anxiety on a daily basis, and I HATE talking to people on the phone! Sometimes I fanticize about going back in time and somehow preventing Alexander Graham Bell from inventing it. And the writing things down that you might need for a call–totally done that too! I’ve always been like that. And like you, I always go to books first, but I also recognize my eventual need to branch outside them to make connections. It is one of the parts of farming that I dread the most and fear will limit our eventual farm venture to a hobby instead of the thriving business and teaching opportunity I want it to be. My husband is also very shy, which compounds the problem. I’m hoping that through conferences and farm visits we can spark some connections that turn into mentoring relationships.
Anyway, I know this is weird but I always feel an instant kinship to people that are frustratingly shy like me. I was bummed to see that you live in Michigan, as we’re over in Minnesota. Maybe in 4 years we could have used you as one of those “scary” mentors when the books just won’t cut it:) Good luck in your farming venture and in finding a great mentor!

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required