About Cathy Berggren

Entrepreneur, Nonprofit Coach, Executive, and Idea Shaper

The EveryDay Leader: Dare to See Differently!

“Helen Keller may have lost her sight, but she never lost her vision”

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As I sat around the circle listening to the stories of the men and women in this group, I begin to wonder exactly what I could offer them.  I was there to share with them about finding purpose in life and the value of volunteering.  These men and women had walked a journey I couldn’t even pretend to understand.  They were all totally blind, legally blind or were on the way to losing their sight.

As I begin to share,  I was reminded that no matter what our circumstances…we all have a choice.

But first, we must see it differently. 

No matter what our circumstances, we  must  look for the good in it. 

No matter what our circumstances, we choose to have a grateful attitude. 

No matter what our circumstance, we find purpose in it. 

No matter what our circumstance, we choose to see it differently. 

This group of men and woman inspired me as they shared their stories.  They challenged me as they talked about caring for others, even in the midst of trying to cope with their own lives and their own pain.

What about you?

How are you seeing things these days?

See.

Choose.

Find the good.

Dare to see it differently.  It’s what everyday leaders do, knowing that when they do they are making a difference in the lives of others.

And we know that all things work together for good…”  Romans 8:28

The Every Day Leader: Simply Be Who You Are

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Remember the days of playing as a kid?

I love watching my grandkids play dress up.  There is no limit to their imagination!  If they choose to put five pony tails in their hair, add a pink hat and wear a red dress they do.  They can sing and dance and be the star.

They don’t worry about who is watching.

They don’t worry if things aren’t just right.

It doesn’t matter if the clothes don’t match.

They are not worried about who is watching and what they might think.

They are simply  enjoying the day.  Enjoying the time.  Enjoying who they are and how God made them.

When was the last time that you could simply enjoy being that person?

The person that doesn’t have to worry about if things are just right.

The person that doesn’t have to worry if your clothes are matching or the latest style.

The person that doesn’t have to worry if you measure up.

Or, if you have done all the right things.

Or  maybe, who is watching.

When was the last time you could just be yourself, relax, smile and embrace the moments?

Everyday leaders recognize that to influence those around us, we must embrace who we are and how God made.  We begin to understand that we don’t have to spend our time trying to measure up, to be someone we are not, rather we are better when are  who we are ourselves.

It is who we are that really matters!  Not what others think or expect!

Take some time.  Know who you are and embrace it.  Allow others to see the REAL you.  Knowing that as you do, as you are intentionally living an authentic life without pretense, you are modeling this to others.  You are making a difference in the lives of others around you!

Simply Be Who You Are!

The Every Day Leader: Time Out

I spent a couple of days at the beach not long ago.  There is just nothing quite like the sound of the waves, the sand between your toes and the peace I feel when I look at across the water.

As I walked along the beach noticing the shells scattered on the sand I walked by several shells that seemed to be all “stuck” together.  You may have noticed them too, but most likely walked right by them.

I finally stopped and picked one up.

The clump wasn’t all that pretty.

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The individual shells were so much nicer.

Yet, as I looked at the clump of shells there was something about it that made me think about us as people.

I was at the beach to take a little time away.   I had  been feeling the weight of life issues, family changes, and the pressures of work all weighing me down.

I realized that my life was beginning to look like that clump of shells.  I was carrying around the weight of  all kinds of things and letting it weigh me down.

As much as I thought I was managing….

The deadlines from work stuck with me when I came home.

 

The concerns for my kids and aging parents were big.

 

The struggles of relationships were wearing me down.

 

The crisis from the families I work with were hard to forget.

 

Trying to be there for everyone added another shell that stuck with me.

Turns out, I wasn’t really managing all that well.

I needed some time.

What about you?  What is your life looking look like these days?  Do you have all kinds of things stacking up on you that feel heavy?  Maybe some things you aren’t even aware of?

Are you needing some time for you?

Everyday leaders have to be aware of when we need time away.  Then we must  intentionally choose to take that time away, knowing when we do we are working to be our best selves to make the greatest difference in the lives of those around us. It is all about choosing to be our best selves, to make a difference.

Everyday leaders  work hard to take the time BEFORE the shells before to stack up and weigh you down – choosing to be our best selves!

The Every Day Leader: Walking With Confidence

IMG_2110Growing up in the middle of  rural Nebraska the view often looked like this.  Regardless of which direction you looked,  there wasn’t much to see but roads that appeared to have no end, with no houses in sight.

As a kid, I longed to live in town and be closer to other kids and stores and swimming pools.   Now as an adult,  I realize just how good I had it growing up in the carefree world of the country.  I love the wide-open spaces and would jump at the chance to back there.  When I return now and see the never-ending roads, I am reminded of the roads we travel in our lives…..and the perspectives we have when we are traveling.

There are times when it seems like the journey we are on is so terribly long and lonely that we are tempted to look for a short cut or maybe to quit altogether.  I think these are the times we forget to reach out to others and ask for help or encouragement along the way.  We somehow think we need to carry our load alone.

When was the last time you asked for help from a friend?

Other times, we simply haven’t prepared well for the journey.

Have we taken the time to care for ourselves?  Are we in shape physically?  Have we eaten well?  When was the last time you slept a good eight hours?  What about our family relationships?  How about spiritually?  Even financially?  Taking care of us, means EVERY area of our lives. It means being our best selves to walk our journey and not having to worry.

Maybe, we simply get discouraged because we have forgotten how to be thankful for all that we have along the way – we even forget to look out the window and see the beautiful view.  I am amazed at how different I am when I take the time to be grateful for all that God has done in my life!

What are you thankful for today?  List them!  Do this everyday.

What is going on in your life right now?  Are you on a journey that is exhausting?  Are you stuck somewhere and not even moving?

Everyday leaders choose to take time each day to reflect, making sure we walk the journey with confidence – knowing we are given a gift to influence the lives of others each day along the  way!

The Every Day Leader: Getting Back Up

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Remember what it was like learning to ride a bike?  You would fall over again and again.  Yet somehow, you managed to dust yourself off, bandage the knee if necessary and get back on the bicycle.

Until one day….

It worked and you got it!

Our lives are a little bit like riding a bike.

There are certainly times in my life that I have felt like I was never going to make it through what I needed to, or learn all that I should.

The task seemed too great. 

The situation seemed too hard.

The boss was simply too difficult. 

There wasn’t enough time.

Yet, somehow it all worked.  The task got done.  There was enough time.  I managed to make it through a boss that was difficult or a situation that seemed all to hard to master.

I made it through. One step at a time.  One day at a time.

Are you in one of those situations now?  Does it feel overwhelming?  Do you wonder if you will make it?

You will.  Don’t lose courage.

It’s what everyday leaders do.  We do it because we know that as we walk the journey that God has set before us; making it through matters not just to us – but to those around us.  God has given us our circle of influence; no matter how big or how small, it is still our circle to touch.

Go on.  Persevere.  Keep going.  Stand strong.  Get back on the bicycle.  Knowing that as you do, you are modeling for those around you to do the same.

Every day leaders-making a difference in the lives of those around us by getting back up even when it seems too hard!

 

The Every Day Leader: Tis the Season

The pile of graduation announcements sat on the counter, along with one for a baby shower and a wedding.  It is definitely the season once again.

The season of endings and new beginnings.

The season of change for many.

Two of those announcements are for my kids, one graduation and one baby shower.  This week I watched my son walked across the stage of his high school graduation, along with my parents in their eighties and my grandkids next to me in the bleachers.

It is a season of change for our family.

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I was reminded of how things sneak up and are gone before you realize it.  The days that can seem so very long are somehow gone in a flash.  It seems we blink and…..

our kids have grown up,

our body begins to age.

our parents have aged.

we have lost the windows we thought would always be there.

Everyday leaders know that time is fleeting.  So we intentionally choose to make our moments matter. 

We choose. 

Every day leaders know we must be intentional.  We choose to make the most of the time we are given knowing as we invest  we are making a difference in the  lives of those around us.

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The Every Day Leader: Keep on Walking

We just celebrated mothers day….I had a great day with my kids, talking to my mom on the phone, and enjoying the day.  It  was a day that makes me thankful for my family!

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Holidays and special occasions are also a time that can remind us that things may not always be as we have planned.  There are often subtle things that seem to jump out to say that life doesn’t unfold the way we expected it to.  This is true in my life – it has taken lots of turns that I never expected.

Maybe it is a broken dream, a broken relationship, things at work, or financial struggles; whatever it is…life is often unpredictable.

Our journey can be  filled with unexpected twists and turns along the way and the holidays often bring it to the surface.

What about your life?  Has it taken some unexpected turns that are hard for you to get past?  Are you stuck?

Like anything else, we have to intentionally choose.

We choose what we focus on.

We choose to see the positive instead of the struggle.

We choose to walk through the hard stuff, instead of run away.

We choose to keep going, knowing there is always an end in sight.

We choose, because we know that it is up to us.

We choose because we know that nobody else can do it for us.

We know that as we keep walking we are growing.  We are learning.  We are changing.  We keep walking to become better.

We choose.

When we choose, we know that with each step we take  it not only changes us, but it can make the difference in the life of another.

It’s the power of influence.  It is touching the lives of those around us.  It ‘s what we do as every day leaders.  Choosing.  Walking.  Growing.  Changing.  Impacting.  Even when the path has taken a different turn!

The Every Day Leader: The Art of Listening

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I watched her as she thought about just how she was going to convince her mom to allow her to have another piece of candy…before dinner.  After all, it seemed rational since we had an Easter egg hunt in the yard earlier and found eggs filled with candy.  Her eyes seem to twinkle as she approached her mother with her reasoning. I also really enjoyed watching her face as her mother took the time to listen to her  ‘why’.

I was reminded of the importance for all of us to see the other person’s perspective.  It may not seem to be the right perspective to us; but the bigger picture is the message of what transpires during that time of listening.

My little granddaughter felt heard.

For that moment, she felt important and valued.  It didn’t even matter if she didn’t get the answer she wanted, because the message she took away was that her thoughts mattered.

Her mother had the wisdom to understand that.

It’s what we do as every day leaders.  We understand the importance of not only listening to someone when they are hurting, but listening to them when they are expressing their opinions – even if they are different from ours.

By listening, we send a message that we value them.

Listening takes time.  Sometimes, time is hard to give.  Every day leaders learn the skill of taking the time, hearing and listening; but also the art of boundaries when needed.

Most of all, we learn to give the message that people matter. 

We show this not just by our words,  not just by our actions, but sometimes by taking the time to sit quietly and listening to them.  This is true, even if it is a crazy idea like candy before dinner! 

How are your listening skills?  Have you taken the time to listen to another’s opinion lately?  Do they feel valued?

Every day leaders choose to listen.  They intentionally choose to make another feel valued, showing them that their opinion matters.  Every day leaders choose to influence – making a difference in the lives of those around us.

The Every Day Leader: Renewal

re·new·al   [ri-noo-uhl, -nyoo-] noun

1.  the act of renewing.

2.  the state of being renewed.

3.  an instance of this.

Spring is a time of renewal…the grass is turning green, the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom, the world around us is changing.  When the heat of summer comes, does that mean that the renewal is over?   I never thought so.

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Renewal is one of those words that seems like it should be a verb…more of a process than an end result.  It is as if one may be in the midst of renewal, but not really ever fully achieves being fully renewed or fully changed. 

There is always more.

In our lives it is true.  Renewal requires continual growth and change. 

It means that as every day leaders we are intentionally mindful of the process of growing and renewing ourselves.  We know that in this process of growth and change we have greater opportunities to influence the lives of others.

It mean being willing to  learn.

It means being willing to accept change. 

It means stepping out.

It can mean being creative.

It means being intentional.

It can be uncomfortable and stretch us.

It means never being willing to settle or get stagnate.

It means thinking differently to make the most of the gifts and talents and opportunities we have been given to make a difference. 

It’s the process of renewal that matters.

It’s what everyday leaders do.  Live each day to be our best selves!

 

The Every Day Leader: Anyway

I listened to her share her story.  It was almost as if I could see the heartache. I heard the desperation in her voice.  I saw the hurt in her eyes.  As she finished she trailed off with the word…

anyway.

It was as if she was ended it with:  “it  is what it is” and none of it really matters in the end.  The anyway implied that perhaps there was nothing that could be done about it, and even if there was something that could be done with it, she felt powerless to be the one to do it.  It was the hopelessness in her voice that I picked up on.

The anyway spoke volumes.

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Are you at a place in your life that feels like one of those anyway places?  A place where you are tired, a place that feels hopeless, a place that feels that you must simply stuff it all down and keep going, because that is what you have always done.  Perhaps it is what you sense everyone expects you to do or to be.

Maybe you just feel too busy to take the time to even know where you are.

As everyday leaders we begin to understand the opportunities that we have within the spheres of influence that God has placed us.  We not only begin to understand our roles, we also begin to more aware of how we are too.  We know that if we are going to be people of influence we need to be emotionally and spiritually healthy ourselves.

Everyday leaders intentionally choose to be the best that we can be in order to leave the greatest impact in the every day moments that God has given us.