I had an opportunity to see awesome personal values at work, especially taking heart to the values of being curious, collaborative and humble. I’m excited to share my story and how we can always take different experiences and apply concepts in our daily lives.
Sitting in a buggy powered by Bonnie the horse, riding through remote roads of Shipshewana and Middlebury, Indiana, I reflect on how peaceful it is, and the last time that I really took the time to savor personal and private moments – unfortunately it’s been a while. There were miles of open land, free of skyscrapers, homes tucked far away from town, and lone back-road businesses locally referred to as Shingle shops that have minimal advertising and only accept cash. Visiting Amish country was on my bucket list, and this was the perfect opportunity to take time off to physically and mentally regenerate. I wanted to understand Amish culture and learn some of their life hacks. After observing their lifestyle and speaking with a few locals, I realized their hacks are nothing different than what we should all be doing, except they are intentional. The Amish are deep rooted in their values and proactively practice them in their culture and lifestyle. There are a few points to share, which are obvious actions, but this experience became my breakthrough moment in approaching my professional and personal life.
1) Take pride in your talent and share it with the world – The Amish are known for their made-from-scratch country cooking, and they did not disappoint. From comfort-food dinner plates and German Chocolate pies to butter caramels, cheese, honey and jams, I can taste the true ingredients and knew that it was different than any other. The ornate carvings in Amish woodwork were made with hand tools and patience, and each piece was unique. It is evident the Amish take pride in their work. Sharing and educating others is their gift to the world.
2) Authenticity is Key- While everything is home-made, some Amish communities do leverage modern technologies and processes. There is a governing body that assesses how the technology or process benefits the community while ensuring the beliefs and goals are intact. I saw packages in the local market that had printed labels, and as I was checking out, asked about it. The store owners have a non-Amish friend that helps them out with marketing and online orders, as that approach does not go against their values. They find ways to continue making a living and utilizing modern tools and techniques yet stay true to their beliefs. Some Amish communities continue to stay with hard-core traditions, but it was interesting to hear some communities embrace other ways of integrating into the non-Amish culture.
3) Take time to slow down, for yourself and loved ones – All Amish businesses are closed on Sundays, to decompress from the work week and spend quality time with family and friends. Regardless of their economic status, this is one belief that is consistent throughout the Amish communities. Every family member has a functional role during the week, so the day off allows kids to be kids, and adults to interact socially with others.
My time in Amish country was very short, and I would love to visit again to fully immerse in the experience. I love experiencing new cultures. I have a newfound appreciation for the Amish culture, people and lifestyle. It was heart-warming to see a young couple picnicking in the grassy area of Taco Bell with their bicycles nearby. It was cute to see horses and buggies sharing the road and parking lots with cars in town. The Amish experience gave me that ‘A-Ha’ moment to soul-search and be proactive and intentional in my daily life. By taking pride in our talent and sharing it with the world, we can make a positive impact to others – because that’s who we are. Being authentic is key to being successful and finding ways to leverage talent through others will help us advance to the next level. Lastly, taking time to slow down is the secret sauce to transforming ourselves into a better quality of life, mentally and physically. What is your breakthrough?