Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to listen to motivational speaker Dr. Rick Rigsby as he encouraged a room of dairy producers to grow their influence in the industry in a way that makes an impact, not just an impression.

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

Making an impact today starts with being “the kind of professional dairy person that your grandmother would hire,” said Rigsby, a former Texas A&M University professor, football character coach and award-winning journalist.

As I’ve mentioned before, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house when I was young while Mom and Dad were busy with fieldwork, so there were parts of Rigsby’s address that resonated with me.

He said not only did our grandparents have common sense in spades, they were dependable, they told the truth, they talked the best of people, and they protected the integrity of doing business the right way.

Rigsby also pointed out three things that can be learned from Grandma and Grandpa that can be taken back to the farm: practice the basics, own it and have a growth mindset.


“If you don’t practice basics, you will never be great,” Rigsby said, pointing to professional basketball players who emphasized the proper way to tie their shoes so they never trip over their laces on a fast break and putting on their socks the right way so they don’t develop blisters.

One of the basics Grandma instilled in me was to always wash my hands before a meal, whether I thought they were dirty or not.

Proper execution of the basics sets a base that can be built upon faster than a weak foundation. Rigsby said his father told him, “When you execute the basics better than anybody else, you grow your capacity for that which you want.”

By owning it, he said our grandparents didn’t complain but did what they were supposed to do. They didn’t blame others or make excuses; instead, they figured out a way to get it done.

I don’t recall my grandparents ever complaining about the task at hand. They always just did whatever needed to be done.

A growth mindset imagines what could be and doesn’t worry about what you have or don’t have. Rigsby shared tennis great Arthur Ashe’s motto: “Start where you are, use what you got, do what you can.”

I heard that after my grandparents were married and farming with Grandpa’s family, they didn’t receive any money as everything they could need would come from the farm. Grandma began raising chickens and selling eggs to have cash on hand. Years later, living alongside the golf course, Grandma collected the golf balls that landed in her garden. She let us grandkids sit alongside the course and sell them back to the golfers that passed by. If we were lucky, she’d let us take our earnings to buy an ice cream cone. Instead of turning lemons to lemonade, it was golf balls to ice cream, and still a successful summer day for some kids.

Practicing the basics, owning it and having a growth mindset are simple things we can all do to make an impact in our businesses, our communities and the industry as a whole.

Here’s one way to put those into practice: Now is a good time for you to complete the basic step of renewing your subscription to Progressive Dairy. It only takes a few minutes. This is a responsibility you need to own every couple of years, so we don’t take you off our mailing list. Please return the subscription form inserted in this issue or renew online. I know you’ll want to keep receiving this publication to enhance your growth mindset.