Going One Step Beyond Defeat

John Ellsworth of Success Strategies

John Ellsworth

I often write about getting to the next level or overcoming defeat. One of my favorite quotes in this area comes from author Napoleon Hill who said:

“More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”

This was from a study of successful businessmen that Napoleon Hill had been commissioned to complete. Have you ever felt this way? I think we all have at some point. What to do? As I included in my last blog:

“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”  Garth Stein, Author of The Art of Racing in the Rain



What’s your “race?” What’s your potential success step that you need to take? As Napoleon Hill suggested, can you go “just one step beyond…?” Please think about it, and while you are at it, a word of caution for you. Please don’t get caught up in the euphoria and start to deny reality. Shrinking your cow numbers is not likely to be the answer to your success in the long term. After all, one can jump off the top of a ten-story building, but he cannot deny the reality of gravity. Even the optimist who said “so far, so good” as he passed the seventh story windows, would eventually have to face reality at the ground…

However, are there some “non-growth” possibilities if your operation is faced with constraints on growing your business to a larger scale? Some of my Clients are actually doing these things.

  • Can you sell dry, composted manure?
  • Can you “bank” excess water?
  • Can you use some beef A.I. bulls on the lower end of your herd to boost revenue from the sale of their calves?
  • What about installing solar power at your dairy?
  • Can you develop and market your own product? Remember, you don’t need to sell a huge amount, in comparison to what you’re selling today, when your margins are 5X to 10X larger.
  • Can you install a methane digester at your dairy to generate electricity?
  • Can you offer school tours or open a unique experience around an Air-BNB?

These all represent opportunities to diversify, but are there other ideas that you can pursue at your operation? As Napoleon Hill suggested, often success is “just one step beyond!” So, what’s your “one step beyond” look like? As we’ve all seen these past five years in the dairy industry, there are no guarantees of success, but as the character Gimli in the Lord of the Rings movies exclaimed when he was faced with a life-threatening challenge:

“Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?”

What action or learning do you need to undertake this week? What will you do differently, going forward? Think about it.

My related video can be found below:

Here’s a suggestion for you. Sign up for our new Success Strategies Business Navigator Program. If you are open to learning new concepts and discussing them with other producers, you should take a look at this new program that will start this fall. It’s completely online, freeing you from travel but offering you an opportunity to learn from industry experts in the areas of milk marketing, management, financial analysis & banking/finance. For the value of the milk production of one 85 lb cow for a month, you can enroll in this quarterly workshop program for one year. What have you got to lose? Check it out at:    


 You won’t regret it. I wish you the very best for a success-filled year!

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