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So, God Made a Farmer: A Thanksgiving Tribute

By Jim Whitt On Thanksgiving Day most of us will sit down to tables covered with more food than we can say grace over. The late Paul Harvey delivered a speech at the 1978 National FFA Convention entitled So God Made a Farmer. I want to share a very short and powerful video with you that includes this speech as the narrative accompanied by footage of people I know and have worked with that are responsible for producing that food. Meat, milk, eggs, vegetables and bread do not magically appear on grocery shelves or on our dinner plates in a… Read More

November 20th, 2018 at 12:43pm

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Experience

By Jim Whitt Monday through Friday I usually post an inspirational (or sometimes humorous) quote online first thing in the morning. For example, here’s one I posted by Oscar Wilde, “Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.” It was only after I launched this quote into cyberspace that I connected the dots between that quote and the date on the calendar — it was my birthday. Marking the anniversary of my 66 years on planet earth gave me pause to consider the significance of Oscar Wilde’s words. It made me think of the Farmers Insurance commercials that feature… Read More

November 7th, 2018 at 4:24pm

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Is what you do important?

By Jim Whitt I was on a conference call as part of my preparation for speaking at a staff development meeting for a trade association. The CEO and a couple of senior staff members were on the other end of the line. My parting question was, “What’s the most important thing you want your people to take away from my presentation?” The CEO didn’t hesitate, “I want each of them to believe that what they do is important.” To drive that point home in my presentation, I decided to share this story about my friend Kent Stroman. Kent grew up… Read More

August 13th, 2018 at 3:18pm

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What does the Flag mean to you?

By Jim Whitt My friend John Teeter shared a story with me that is appropriate as we celebrate Independence Day: “When I was 23 years old I worked in the parts department at Teeter Irrigation. It was a hot summer day when R.D. Floyd, one of our longtime customers, walked into the store.  This was not unusual as R.D. came in frequently to pick up parts. What was unusual was that he was carrying a tattered and torn American flag — the flag, which until a few minutes earlier, flew outside our store. R.D. was a man of few words… Read More

June 14th, 2018 at 8:53am

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What a dog can teach us about customer service

By Jim Whitt After picking up the mail Charlie Mitchell and I were on our way out of the Post Office when a man pointed to Charlie and asked, “Is that a service dog?” Before I could answer he added, “If he’s not you can’t bring him in here. I might get sued.” “Are you the postmaster here?” I asked. “No, I’m the station manager,” he replied. I stuck out my hand and said, “My name is Jim Whitt.” He reluctantly took my hand with a limp grip but didn’t offer his name in return. “I’ve done a lot of… Read More

June 9th, 2018 at 4:53pm

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The Perfect Place

By Jim Whitt There’s a story of a man who wished for a world where people wouldn’t have to struggle. It was unfair, he believed, that for all the progress humanity had made throughout history that so much of the world’s population still struggled just to survive. He roamed the world searching for the solution and while traveling in the Middle East encountered a beggar in the streets. He was not an ordinary beggar, however. He knew what the traveler was searching for — the perfect place. The man followed the beggar who led him through darkened streets to an… Read More

February 16th, 2018 at 3:50pm

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Giving what is most difficult to give: What Doc Lunsford taught me about Christmas

By Jim Whitt The following story about Doc Lunsford was published on December 23, 1991. It remains one of my favorites. So much so that I decided to make it a tradition and share it with our subscribers each Christmas. At a time when Christmas seems to have lost much of its meaning in our hectic lives, it is my sincere desire that this story about Doc would remind us of what we are truly celebrating. Have a Merry Christmas and a Purposeful 2018. We called him “Doc” – Doc Lunsford. I never knew how he came by the nickname… Read More

December 18th, 2017 at 10:36am

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A lesson in race relations

By Jim Whitt There was one summertime activity that dominated all others growing up in my little hometown of Shidler, Oklahoma — baseball. And no one loved baseball more than my father. It would be hard to count the boys who grew up playing on teams he coached. The first league he coached in that I can remember consisted of two teams — the Mules and the Frogs. As I recall, my brother Marc played for the Mules. A few years later Dad coached the town team Marc played for and I was the batboy. The team won their league… Read More

October 5th, 2017 at 6:03am

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The future is a foreign country

By Jim Whitt There’s a monument in Liberal, Kan. that reminds me of how different the world looked like 30 years ago. It’s easy to miss because it lies flat on the ground like a stone marking a grave in a cemetery. And in a sense, that’s what it is. It’s a concrete slab upon which once stood a Purina feed mill. I used to ship feed out of that plant when I was in sales with Purina. When I left the company in 1987 that mill was running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It was idle… Read More

August 15th, 2017 at 6:03pm

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The 7 levels of leadership

My friend Kathy Wright has written an article entitled The 7 levels of leadership that is required reading for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to be an effective leader. I want to share the first two levels with you because you’ll learn what it takes to be an ineffective leader. Leaders at Level 1 typically work in crisis mode because they tend to attract and focus on problems. They have no real plan for where they are going and communication skills tend to be poor with no ability to inspire or motivate others. They tend to have… Read More

June 22nd, 2017 at 9:19am

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