Have you ever been stuck in a routine? Maybe it’s the routine you go through each morning at the start of your workday.

Or maybe you eat the same thing for lunch every day. If there isn’t any pressing reason to change, you might keep that routine.

It can be like that in farming, too. If you start to become comfortable with a certain level of success, you might just keep doing things the way you did them last year and the year before and the year before that.

But when the environment changes, what created success for you in the past might not be the same actions that are required to win today’s game. A farmer we recently met comes to mind.

His farm has been successful the past four years. He has what it takes — he’s a smart, self-aware farmer.

Over the past four years, he invested into his operation heavily. He upgraded his equipment line every year.

He grew the size of his operation by buying land and cash renting more ground. Doing the same thing each year was working, so he stuck with it.

But this past year, we saw a very different cycle happen, and what he had been doing didn’t work out like it had before. He said he realized he’s looking for a different lens — a new perspective — on what he will need to do now to be successful in his farm business.

The farmer said that even though he knows his farm’s financials and knows where his breakevens are at, he wants someone else’s eyes on them, too.

Like I told you, this is a self-aware farmer. He knows a lot about his operation, not only from a production, but also a business and financial standpoint.

But he wants a closer look. He wants to make sure he’s including everything that he needs to calculate his true breakeven and to know and understand his machinery costs. He plans to partner with an ag finance specialist for regular, forward-looking financial reviews of his operation.

Also key in this is the fact that his son is transitioning into the operation. The farmer told us that he thinks having a third party helping with the financial side of the farm will set his son up for success.

His son will have the chance to understand — in a transparent way — the finances of the farm. He can start participating in decision-making and prepare to lead the business.

It would be easy to just stick our heads in the sand, cling to our routines and ignore the changing world around us. But the reality is that the ag world is changing. What worked in the past to create success isn’t necessarily what’s needed to win today.

The farmer I told you about said he has to remind himself more and more to take off his “farmer hat” and put on his “business hat.” With potentially shrinking margins and volatility on the horizon, wearing the “business hat” in all your decision-making will be a must for farm success today.

As I’ve been talking with farmers this winter, many say they want to take their farm to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start.

Maybe you’ve felt that way. Your farm has grown in recent years, and the numbers and the decisions you make each day are bigger than in the past.

Maybe you have employees now and are figuring out the best way to manage and lead them. All of a sudden, you have a lot more on your plate.

Working with someone from outside of your farm can help you decide on a place to start. They act as a coach for you and your farm business, walking you through a plan you’ve agreed on, step by step.

A “coach” for the farm brings a new perspective and helps you identify gaps and areas of opportunity in your operation.

They not only build your skills, but work to grow and develop you as a person, too. They help you imagine the future of your farm and encourage you to make the greatest impact as a leader right now.

What would your farm be like if you decided to take it to the next level? Consider seeking out someone who acts as a coach for you and your operation.

As they learn about your farm and your hopes for the future, they work with you to map out a clear plan to make your vision a reality.