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Thanksgiving Message from Machinery Pete

November 23, 2016


A bit of Thanksgiving advice from Machinery Pete.

I know a lot of chatter about how family Thanksgiving get togethers this weekend could be spoiled by emotionally charged political talk. I say scrap that. In place of talk of politics I’ll offer up my annual Turkey Day plea to the young farmers in our Machinery Pete audience in particular. Please, take advantage of the situation, your extended family and friends all together like this.

Ask your grandparents questions. Ask your aunts and uncles questions. Heck, even ask your folks questions. Ask and then listen. Listen and learn.

Ask your elders who farmed what it was like to pay 19% interest on tractors and land back in 1980. Ask them what they remember about growing up on the farm when they were young. Ask them about their best year, and the worst year on the farm. Ask your grandpa what his dad and grandpa were like.

And as you’re asking Uncle Bob to pass the gravy, and ask him what the best advice he ever got was.

Ask and then listen.

Understand what is assembled in your midst as you gather with family and friends….the largest collection of deep knowledge, experience and life lessons you’ll ever have access to. But you have to ask if you want to learn. Oh, and if your cell phone rings or you get text dings while you’re talking to grandma…just leave the phone off. Listen to grandma. Listen closely.

And be so thankful that grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, siblings and close friends are with you around the Thanksgiving table. Be eternally thankful. Every day truly is a gift and a blessing. But let’s not be passively thankful. Let us be actively thankful. You have grandma and grandpa and the rest of the family around you. Talk to them. Heck, use that magical cell phone we ALL have with us day and night and record a little video of you talking to grandma or grandpa, mom or dad. Ask a question and record their answer.

Years from now, trust me, you will be thankful you have these little simple cell phone video clips. Being able to hear dad’s voice, grandpa’s voice. See the twinkle in grandma’s eyes as she teasingly talks about your mom or dad.


And I’ll leave you with the truest life lesson I know, from painful yet powerful and beautiful personal experience. Learning the art of Asking questions and actively Listening is the one of the most powerful life skills you can arm yourself with. Game changer. How do I know? Because it completely changed my life.

Yours truly, Machinery Pete, was about the shyest young boy in the history of the world. Trapped in a shell it what it felt like to me, growing up in the small farming town of Benson, MN back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I was aware of my issue, yet struggled to find my way forward talking and interacting with people. This was all through High School into early college years. I just didn’t talk much. I turned away, to myself. Too painfully shy. Talking to girls….oh my God….how could I ever? I had so much to say, but….

My lifeline….prayer. I knew I had to change but didn’t know how. But I had someone to talk to about it, someone to ask for help. Sometimes answers and help come right away. Other times we have to wait. And my way forward came in my early 20’s when I stumbled up something. A truth:

Even if you are shy, particularly if you are shy, asking questions of people and then really truly listening to them is super powerful. Everything opened up for me when I learned how to do this. I loved learning whatever I could learn from folks I’d talk to. Ask them questions. Listen. Ask another question. Listen. Smile. You just made a new friend. Even with girls…a shy guy like me could ask questions, then listen as my soon to be bride Jacque would tell me about her day, her classes, her friends, her life. 27 ½ years we’ve been happily married now. I try my best to listen every day. We can all strive to become better listeners.

Truth: people like it when you ask questions. It shows you are interested in them. Look them in the eye when you talk, when you listen. They notice. Always. Always.

And the things you can learn. My god….there is nothing you can’t learn if you ask and listen. Repeat. Repeat. And as we sail towards 2017 and another profit challenged year, all looking for any new slight edge or new or different way of doing things, different way of thinking about things, to save a few $$’s, to be slightly more efficient….how can we possible do all this?

Ask and listen. Really listen. Truth be told, this is really the founding principle I’ve built my Machinery Pete biz on all these years. Ask and listen. Repeat. Beyond powerful.

I wish you and yours a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember….Machinery Pete says, “Ask & Listen”.


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