The Every Day Leader: The Simple Leader

Corrie Ten-Boom, A quiet, everyday person willing to do what she thought was right.  She never saw herself as a person of influence – yet she had a huge impact on the lives of many, simply by speaking from her heart. I have been fascinated since High School by the life of this every day leader, who never knew the legacy she would leave.

Corrie Ten-Boom, along with her family, hid Jews from the Nazis during the war and was later captured and ended up in the concentration camps.  Despite all she endured, she always took the high road.  She loved others, no matter what they had done to her.  She forgave.  She kept the right attitude, even during the worst of it all.  She remained thankful in all things, even in a concentration camp!

She was as simple a leader as you could get. It wasn’t about what she looked like, what she wore or even saying the right words. She understood that life and people are a gift and often that is all we have. It is our choice how we manage that gift that has been given to us.  She also knew that she could sit back and do nothing and be safe or she could jump in and do something and make a difference in the life of another.

Corrie Ten-Boom.  Simple.  Quiet.  Obedient.  Everyday Leader.  Lasting Impact on the Lives of Many.

What about you? Each of us is given a sphere of influence, what are YOU going to do with yours? Are you willing to be all that you can be and make a difference, never knowing what legacy you may leave behind?

This every day leader wants to live like that!

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The Every Day Leader: Intentional Generosity

A child does not naturally care for others around them. I recently watched my little granddaughter as she so carefully cared for her sister who wasn’t feeling well.  Even though she was only four there was something in her make up that  knew to share what she had, to love and to care for her five-year-old sister.  It wasn’t just because she had a fever. Sharing, caring and loving is something she knew and has had modeled for her.

Intentional leaders are very much the same way, somewhere along the way they paid attention to someone modeling everyday leadership before them. Somewhere along the way they capitalized on one of the greatest opportunities of another leader’s generosity to share their knowledge. If we are willing to share with others what we know, to share what we have, and to be willing to work with others our entire outlook is different.  As we intentionally model this way of life, we teach others to do the same. The term collaboration takes on a whole new meaning!  It is not about what we can get out of it, but rather what we can offer to others.

Generosity not only makes us better leaders, it makes us better people. When we selflessly give of our time, talents, and resources expecting nothing in return we change those around us and we change ourselves. And through these efforts organizations take on a more intentional way of doing things and relating to their staff, customers, and all they encounter. We gain a new perspective and understanding of doing life together.

As an Executive Director of a medium size nonprofit I have learned that my role is not to just care about my organization or even the people working for me. Without fail the times that I have intentionally shared my knowledge and collaborated with others in the community, the more my organization is helped and the people we reach. Generosity always comes back to you in greater ways than what you gave.

Take a chance, be BOLD… look beyond your own place of influence and see what happens when you live the life of an INTENTIONAL LEADER.

The Every Day Leader: The Script

Everyone has one, though we may not talk about it, we may not acknowledge it is there, but we all know and have seen the effects of that script in our head.

Who wrote yours?

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The messages slip in almost unnoticed.

they creep…slowly…quietly…steadily…

The words come from trusted sources: unkind words spoken from a friend, the mistreatment from a spouse or loved one, and disrespect from a boss.

The words come from being out of work for months and the rejection of the job search. They come from the loss of a loved one and the rejection from a divorce.

The script plays over and over in our head, and we buy into the lies it spreads. We begin to wonder…

WHO AM I?

Do I Matter

Does My Life Count?

We question and find it hard to believe that there is a God that could really love us enough to send his son to die on a cross for us. We question if we are valued enough for His death. We think if I were the only one would He still have come to die?

We keep our wounds and continue to hurt inside, we stay disappointed, disillusioned, and continue stuffing the feelings further down – believing the script in our head must be right.

Is a $100 bill any different in value if it is crumpled?  Image

We know the value is unchanged in money whether, it came from the pocket of our jeans or from a bank drawer, and yet we refuse to see our lives or the lives of others in the same way. We think that if our lives do not look nice and or feel nice that somehow OUR value has changed.

No matter what we have experienced, no matter what we look like, no matter how we view ourselves the truth of the matter is our value is still the same and Christ would have still come and died for us.

It is time we rewrote the script in our head with the words of truth from our creator:

You are treasured

You are chosen

You Matter

You are loved

You are made in the Image of the Giver of Life

Jason Gray, a popular Christian artist, wrote a song called Remind me Who I am for those times that we struggle to remember:

When I lose My way,

And I forget my name,

Remind me who I am.

In the mirror all I see,

Is who I don’t wanna be,

Remind me who I am.

In the loneliest places,

When I can’t remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to you.

Who I am to you.

Tell me must I forget who I am to you.

That I belong to you.

The Every Day Leader: The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of who we are, the message is the same no matter where we live, the color of our skin, our backgrounds, our social standing, or our financial standing. We as humans really want to know from the rest of the world and from those around us:

Do we matter?

Does someone care about us?

This simple yet profound point was driven home to me not to long ago when I recently helped one of our clients. This gentleman comes to seek our assistance at least once a week. While it’s a struggle for him to get out of the car,  he still comes. He comes not necessarily for what we have to offer in material things, but he comes seeking the companionship, to be acknowledged, and to know that someone cares about him. I have seen the loneliness in his eyes; I know he has no family and no real friends. I have heard him wonder out loud if God has abandoned him.  He is no different from many others I have known over the years.  Does my life count?  Does anyone care?  Where is God anyway?

If as business owners, nonprofit directors, and leaders what if we intentionally made an effort to do everything with this message that people do matter?  If we truly lived and lead like this, would our lives and those around us look differently?  Would our businesses or organizations look differently?

People matter more than:

 Tasks

Processes

Life issues

The high stresses of the job

The deadlines

 

As leaders we don’t have the choice to say that I will put people first WHEN the business is successful or the organization has reached its goals.   We have to decide in the beginning that people matter, that they matter more than anything we will do in this life. When we choose to put that kind of emphasis on people and relationships we will soon see that it is in those moments that our own lives begin to take on a whole new meaning.

The little things we do today can and will leave a lasting impact…

 May we NEVER forget that EVERY MOMENT matters!

 

The Every Day Leader: Living Life Intentionally

The innocent acts of children can teach us so many valuable lessons. I sat on the bed the other day and watched my beautiful little one and half-year old granddaughter struggle to dress herself. She insisted she could “do it herself”, no help was needed nor would she take any. I leaned back and smiled and watched her as she was so intent on accomplishing her task.

Are we any different then this precious little child as adults? Do we not still not insist on doing things ourselves and being so very independent? How often have these same thoughts run through our minds that “we don’t need anyone else?” How many times have we followed this line of thinking to the point of even shutting others out of our lives, even at the very times we need them the most? We deliberately choose to walk the long road of our journey alone instead of allowing others to come beside us and help carry the load. As I watched my granddaughter I wondered if this is really what God had in mind when He made us?

The Bible is full of references to: fellowshipping with one another, the importance of breaking bread together, the power when two or more are gathered in His name to pray, and the relief one gets to know that there is in fact someone coming along side them to help carry the burden.

Even as Christians we justify our actions of independence and act as if these very same scriptures do not apply to us.  We even take it a step further and become the king and queen of pat answers as we say we are “fine” or “all good” when asked how we are by a passerby or someone who cares and we quickly walk on or change the subject making sure that the “road closed” sign stays in place and we walk alone.

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The problem with a “road closed” sign is that life is messy and the road is often bumpy with more twists and turns then we ever wanted.  We know we desperately want someone to share the road with us but we have guarded ourselves so much that not only do we not know how to reach out; our pride often prevents the “road closed” sign from coming down.

On the flip side of this scene is the people who are so busy that they have developed tunnel vision to the hurting that are around them. They breeze through their agendas, their schedules, their to-do lists, and their day and never look up to see that there are others in this world who desperately need. They need them to be engaged, to offer a hand that helps, a listening ear, a smile, a hug, a phone call, or even a letter or card letting them know they are seen and are cared about.

It was not that long ago that we lived so very differently. Our front porches were our living rooms filled with neighbors who we knew by name. We sipped our sweet teas and lemonades and we caught up on each others day. We knew the intimate heartache of each other and we never shied away from offering a shoulder to cry on, a soothing word, a hand that helped, and we never expected anything in return.

Today we live in our perfect houses and our porches are super clean from lack of use. We drive in and out of our garages shutting the door and keeping the world at bay. We live our lives, oblivious to those around us, never even knowing who are neighbor is, their name or even who is in their family.

Being independent is not always a bad thing but when it shutouts the world, a world who desperately needs us and one that we desperately need, then it may be time we reevaluate our position and what independence really is.

Life was intended to be lived intentionally with others.To be walked side-by-side and shared with those around us, with those who care, and with those we encounter.

May we strive to live out Galatians 6:2 with all those we meet. May strive to be intentional on not shutting out those who care and love us the most.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ