Blog Post

Take your own advice.

Make your list, check it twice, but don’t make too many resolutions – Even this list is too long!

Take your own advice.

I never think of myself as particularly swayed by remembrance, nostalgia, or special dates – I can eat birthday cake anytime within a week of my actual birthday, for instance.

However, Christmas & New Year’s Eve likely create the most profound internal feelings: a sense of momentousness.

Christmas is my heartwarming family time. Kids are back from college; in the past, we’d created Christmas magic with Legos and stuffed animals. Family games and meals make it a cozy time of year.

New Year’s Eve is something different. More than a birthday, it is, for me, a landmark in time. It combines the well-lived year’s closure and the New’s dawning.

I love “Best of the Year” Podcast review episodes. You get the top bits from dozens of podcasts. I love the “Year in Review” shows & “Best of New Tech” and on and on, recapping all we accomplished, created, and shared.

We have been running so hard since 2020 that I haven’t looked back to list our accomplishments at the farm, maze, & winery. Once I did, I realized how much this team has done in 4 years! (A highlight list is included at the bottom.)

Internally, I never slow down, never pause to look. If I keep busy enough, I’ll never have to – maybe that’s what I’m thinking? It’s the internal dialogue that brings me to writing today.

Take your own advice.

It was a video that came across my feed from (I think) a minister/speaker. He was speaking to a group of women when he asked them if they wanted to know how to find their ideal man. They eagerly agreed, so he said, “Take out a pen & paper and write down exactly what you want in this man of your dreams.”

He encouraged them, “Think about what he looks like, how much he makes, how he treats you, his manners, how he gets along with his family, think of everything!”

After minutes of the crowd’s furious scribbling, he said, “Re-read your list. Picture how good this man will be; now, if you want him to be like this, take your list and become everything on this list you want in your future husband. Get in good shape. Work on having a great relationship with your family. Be independent yourself. Be kind and use good manners. Dress nicely and look your best….”

Take your own advice.

Now, this story’s point is not what men or women want. It’s not about getting a spouse. It’s about your willingness to become what you think you want in other people.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. Am I, when dissatisfied with an employee’s performance, demanding they organize their work schedule better, demanding their on-time arrival, am I also demanding that of myself? Am I modeling the behaviors I want?

If I’m doling out parental advice about screen time, hard work, and living life to the fullest, am I also putting my phone down and being engaged in family time?

How many times do I think I know best how someone (else) should step up at church, gossip less, lose weight, stop drinking, be present… and on and on and on… yet I’m not looking honestly in the mirror, first.

I’m not taking my own advice.

This is resolution season, but making resolutions is tricky business. It’s like goal setting in that a Harvard study showed only 14% of people even have goals, and incredibly, only 3% of people write them down. Aren’t resolutions really goals in disguise?

Most resolutions are merely wishes. A passing thought of “I’d like to be in better shape,” but the thought passing through your brain is much different than making a resolution. When you resolve to do something, it’s final; it’s permanent.

So here’s the deal. Before you can take your own advice, you need to figure out what advice you most often wish for other people, tell other people, or whisper about other people.

  1. Write down a list of what you wish for most in other people. Try to get ten behaviors you want to see more often in the world.
  2. Stand in front of the mirror, yep, actually stand in front of a mirror, and say the list of your wishes for other people, “I wish people would use good manners when they wait in line at…”
  3. Back at your desk, write down next to each item how you will model the behavior/actions for each item. “I will stop swearing around my staff by substituting something silly, such as “Holy Sweet Moses!” in place of “Holy Sh*t!” [Repeat for each item]
  4. Post your list on the frig so your spouse and kids know what you are doing and can hold you accountable.

I work with people who work on goals a lot, and the toughest part of this process? Posting it on the frig. It’s accountability. It’s living out the resolution in place of merely dreaming and wishing.

Sure, not all of your list should go on the frig, BUT the list needs to be somewhere YOU can see it regularly. You need to be in touch with the actions you resolve to take to become the change you want to see in others. (I know, that sounds like the old Michael Jackson song.)

The Bad News. Parents, managers, advice-dispensing people all over the world, I have some bad news:

You can’t make anyone do anything.

I know because I’ve tried!

  • You can dish out great advice.
  • You can punish non-conformance to your rules.
  • You can fire offenders.
  • You can make it very appealing to comply.
  • You can threaten, admonish, rant, yell, nag, and remind.
  • You can pay people more to entice them.

…but you can’t make anyone do anything.

The only person in the world you have any control over is staring you in the mirror each and every morning.

So… release your desire to control people. I’m totally serious. When you feel the urge to plan out someone else’s life, to think through how she should be living, how he would be better off at this job or that job, how if your mom could only see how irritating she is when she says… Just practice letting all of that go.

Then… take your own advice. Make this year about fixing in yourself the behaviors you’d like to see in others, your staff, your kids, and your parents.

Along the way, remember that I said, “practice.” This isn’t something you get right once and forever, but the practice of releasing control of others and exercising positive change in yourself will bring more peace into your life all year long.

Happy New Year,


PS Here’s the highlight list of accomplishments since Jan 2020. I don’t share these to brag, but to encourage you to zoom out your perspective from immediate problems to see how far you’ve come over time.

Your homework – Make your own highlight list of accomplishments since Jan 2020, even send it to me after you share with your team! (I had to have the team help brainstorm the list of stuff we did.)

  • 5 Drive-Thru Festivals
  • Square online ordering & order fulfillment for Drive-Thru festivals
  • PPP Loans
  • Federal & local grants
  • Created Pricing Strategy Boot Camp, then raised prices every season
  • Figured out TicketSpice for online ticketing, time slots and pre-purchasing
  • New roof on packing house
  • Solar panels to power the farm
  • New orchard tractor
  • New boom lift
  • Added shade for.hay wagons
  • Wall Ball Games
  • Planted lavender field
  • Held lavender festivals
  • Fresh-squeezed lemonade
  • Upgraded cider slushy capacity
  • Planted Crimson Crisp, Pixie Crunch apples
  • Re-planted cherries
  • Sunflower vendor days
  • Added many more sunflower props & fall signs
  • Replace & customized new jump pads
  • Sand monster
  • Amish trikes
  • New wines from partners
  • New front desks
  • Check-in step stools for short employees
  • State Fair mini-donuts
  • New floor in coffee bar
  • Coffee bar espresso machine
  • Rebuilt coffee bar from old shed boards
  • Tore down old shed
  • New soda walk-in cooler
  • Snack bar new floor
  • kitchen wall expansion
  • Kitchen equipment & food flow redesign
  • New freezers
  • Market & Winery Harvest tent
  • 2-seat gator & 4-seat gator
  • Expansion of Miner Max building into the Outpost
  • Rebuild of mining sluice
  • Invented Mega Slide
  • Added 2nd lane to Mega Slide
  • Launched Super Mega Slides to the industry
  • Learned to import from China & unload containers
  • Learned to Freight ship palletized orders
  • Learned to outsource freight shipping
  • Life-sized battleship game
  • Planted 20 Maple trees in new attraction area
  • Rebuilt the train track
  • Wheelchair lift to back of red wagon
  • Added REAL bathrooms
  • Built Big Barn
  • Expanded Corn Box
  • Created defined benefit plan
  • Kept JH Wilson Farm in the family
  • Increased staff pay each year

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