The tools of the trade

A few months ago, my friend Kelly (@kmrivard on Twitter and you can find her website here) suggested this topic to me as an idea for a guest blog post. I’ve been holding on to it and realized I can’t hold out anymore! So here we go! (And, yes Kelly, I’m sure we’ll come up with another awesome idea for your blog when that time comes!)

For the past six months or so, I’ve been experiencing Mac envy really badly. See, I’ve been struggling with my Dell that I’ve had for four and a half years that was dying a slow painful death. Viruses, crashing hard drive, hardware falling apart in places–you name it, the Dell was experiencing it.

Beyond the painful death part, the Dell also wasn’t able to handle some of the work I really want to do. I love playing with web design and want to get better at print design/photo editing. My Dell really wasn’t up to being able to handle Adobe Creative Suites and other similar software, so I wasn’t able to get better at some of those things I really like.

Well, two weeks ago my laptop finally went to its grave (after being backed up that morning, thankfully) and I got a brand new MacBook complete with orange case and keyboard cover 😀 It works great and I love learning all the new things I can do with it.

My new MacBook and the struggles with my old laptop drove me to look at a question that many of us must ask: Do I have the tools of the trade to be successful?

Now, for me this revolved around something physical–a real tool, so to speak. But, for all of us, the tools of our trades are more than just equipment–they’re rooted in the skills and abilities we possess. Are you a strong interviewer? Can you have a conversation and build a relationship with someone in order to make a sale? Can you understand a situation in order to write a story that people can’t help but read? No matter what profession you go into, these are the types of ‘tools’ that will truly make the difference for your future.

In agriculture, the ability to tell the stories of our livelihood is a tool that we all MUST have in our toolbox. Other tools like social media, newspaper articles, interviews and conferences will give us an arena to share our stories, but we have to know what to share–and understand that we have to share–before we can utilize those outside resources to their fullest potential.

Are you a college student? Farmer? Businessman? A mom? What tools do you have (or still need to get) in order to be successful in your chosen field? Where did you obtain those tools? How are you helping others to build their toolbox?

I’d love to hear from you!


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