Fighting Swine: 3 Ways to Keep Your Pigs in the Pen

Fighting Swine: 3 Ways to Keep Your Pigs in the Pen

For a scrawny nine-year-old kid, nothing will challenge your confidence like coming boot-to-hoof with a filthy 600-pound hog.

It was a late South Dakotan spring, and it was time to clean out the pen and put down fresh bedding for the herd. My dad entrusted me with the duty of guarding the open gate to the hog pen while he tediously scooped the hog yard with a big green tractor.

After a few minutes of watching the tractor go back and forth through the gate, an enormous, filthy sow swayed up to me.

Mud caked both of our legs up to the knee. Mist twirled out from her nostrils, and a string of frothy drool connected her slimy jaw to the muck below.

She looked me straight in the eye. No concern. In fact, she looked like she was trying not to laugh at the scared, tiny boy in front of her.

Sweat poured down from the seam of my Charlotte Hornets cap and into my eyes.

A nine-year-old’s first line of defense is to throw something. I scanned the mud around my boots for a rock — or anything — to convince the giant pork queen to remain in the comfort of her pen. Nothing.

Plan B was to run. I attempted to step back . . . and heard a thunk as my right foot popped out of its rubber boot. There I was, marooned in an ocean of mud, standing on one leg like a sad pink flamingo.

After regaining my balance and slipping my foot back into the safety of its mud-caked boot, I looked back up to find the enormous muddy rump waddling slowly behind me — and away from me — into the freedom of the barn yard.



That nine-year-old didn’t grow up to be a farmer (and Charlotte doesn’t have an NBA team anymore) — but I’ve come to believe that we all deal with open pens, soul-sucking mud, and giant hogs.

Poor time management. Terrible drafts. Mis-strategized campaigns. No coffee. I could go on and on. These metaphorical loose pigs trample all over the fulfillment you expected to receive from your toils.

Sometimes, you need to be a pig.

I don’t blame that hog for wanting to be free. Had I known my scrawny body wasn’t big enough to convince her to turn around and go back into the pen, I would have shut the gate ahead of time.

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is essential for many aspects of life — especially for good inbound marketing.

Pigs aren’t always malicious, but it’s generally a good practice to keep the gate shut.

Sometimes, your boots will get stuck in the mud.

You may not be able to control the environment around you, but you can still keep an eye on your pigs.

Corral your own pigs in the pen by setting SMART goals. This is especially valuable for those of us who collaborate with other professionals on a daily basis. You’re expected to have your own pigs in the pen.

Having a focus on SMART goals will help you focus on what’s important, so you can keep yourself from getting stuck in the mud.

Sometimes, you need to build a better pig pen.

Pigs will always try to get out, but you can build a better pen.

Creativity thrives within boundaries of space and time. Setting boundaries and adhering to a predetermined schedule helps me do important, challenging things.

Setting boundaries and looking ahead is actually quite easy. If I can shut the gate on my metaphorical pig pen like this, it’ll be even easier for you.

By properly empathizing with the needs of your audience and setting goals for progress, you can accomplish remarkable things both for yourself and for that audience.

I happen to work with a team of talented individuals who share my challenges. We value empathy, set goals, and build amazing things. We believe you can, too.

Keep Your Pigs in the Pen with Facebook Ads

Our team at 9 Clouds has been squealing about Facebook ads for quite a while, and we now have a great new video series to help you roll in the mud, too.

Check out our first-ever video series on 9 Clouds Live.