Author: Emily Courtney
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” -Hal Borland
The only difference between December 31st and January 1st is the date. It’s an arbitrary marker; nothing really changes. We make new plans, new goals, new budgets, but for the most part, it’s all in the context of the same life circumstances. We don’t really start over. When midnight struck on New Year’s Eve, we didn’t leave behind the problems that plagued us in the past year; they accompany us into the new year, indifferent to the date, just as the coming of the new year doesn’t automatically bring about the resolutions or changes we set for ourselves.
It’s not an opportunity to start over, but an opportunity to keep going.
There’s nothing wrong with reflecting on the past twelve months and acknowledging progress made or goals achieved. It’s nice to reminisce on memories of good times with family and friends. We had a wonderful year at Nature’s Eye. It was productive, we learned a lot, hopefully passed some knowledge onto others, and we managed to enjoy ourselves along the way. My first thought about writing a summary of 2014 was to list out some numbers of how many acres we managed, how many new clients we acquired, how many trees we planted, or duck holes we dug. While we are proud of the work we’ve done and all we’ve accomplished on clients’ properties and at the Showcase Farm this year, that isn’t what it’s about for us. When we reflect on 2014, we see so much more. We see it as a year when our family grew. Many new members joined the team, such as franchisees, pro staffers, and corporate partners. One of our team members became a father to a beautiful little girl. We see it as a year where we learned a lot about ourselves and who we want to be as a company, and who we don’t want to be. We gained wisdom from advisers and mentors, and shared some of our knowledge and experience with clients, and even others we’ve never met, through this blog and other social media outlets. We built relationships, personal and business. Yes we built roads, and dug ponds, and planted food plots. These habitat improvements are the services we sell and how we keep the lights on, and most companies determine the success of a year by its sales or profits. While profits are certainly necessary and a goal, and we’re certainly grateful and proud that we’ve made some, we tend to measure our success more by the impact we’ve made on conservation and on people. We want to influence people through the work we do, and share the knowledge and experience we have with the masses. Our hope is that these things will have a ripple effect, leading to a global impact on conservation.
These goals may seem trivial in light of all of the things that have happened in our world in the past year. Our society has faced, and continues to face, some incredible challenges. Those kinds of problems are inevitable and an unfortunate consequence of living in a fallen world. However, the greatness or strength of a society is not based on avoiding these issues or problems, or the ability to keep them from arising, but the ability to overcome them when they do arise. We look forward with the hope that we can contribute to society in such a way that will further the rising above. We hope that through our relationships and how we conduct business every day, that we exhibit love and acceptance over hate and intolerance; encourage the sharing of wisdom and knowledge over the spreading of ignorance; display humility over pride; and instill the idea that we all have a responsibility and an opportunity to make a difference. These are goals that we can all embrace. Regardless of what your vocation is or how you make a living, we all have a greater purpose that transcends whatever our individual calling may be. As we go about our days being farmers or doctors or biologists, we should strive to do so with that in mind, or better yet, as our motivation.
We carry this hope with us into the new year, going on in the continual grind to make our mark and make things better. We have so many exciting things in the works for 2015. Just to name a few, we have numerous habitat projects that will get underway, we will be launching our YouTube channel to expand our educational outreach, and we hope to develop some new partnerships with other companies and organizations in the industry. We can’t wait to share all of these things with everyone, and hope that you will continue to accompany us as we journey on.