The Every Day Leader: ENTANGLED!

There are so many life lessons we can glean from nature if we just look around.  In the south Kudzu grows rapidly, 60 feet a year! Kudzu takes over everything in its path, choking out any kind of life that it encounters. Grown forests become “ghost towns” of memories past.

Our lives are very much like this vine. Little by little we allow things to creep in. Things that SEEM okay at the time.  We often don’t realize just how damaging they can be over time.  These things can be draining and begin to pull on us.  They can come in the form of habits, relationships, even our words.   As everyday leaders that are seeking to live intentionally, we want to become aware of what it is that is weighing us down, entangling us and pulling at us. What is draining the energy, resources, creativity, and life out of us?

Do we have the habit of working too many hours?  Once a good thing, may now become something that is choking the life out of us and stealing our time away from family.  Maybe even costing us our health.

Perhaps we are simply trying to fit too MANY things into our schedule.  These things may all be good, but have become so much that we are pulled in every direction. Being intentional with our schedule means saying NO to things that might be good so that we can say YES to those things that are great.  It means being able to yes to things that match our vision and purpose.

What about  the habit of joking around?  Have our words, once in fun, gotten out of hand?  Are we too concerned about material things, vacations or having success that what was once a dream has now become a burden as we stay driven for more or strive to maintain what we have?

Are we entangled in a relationship that we shouldn’t be in?  Have we compromised at work and allowed questionable practices to take place?

Being intentional means taking the time to cut down the vines that are choking things out.  Once free the plants begin to thrive again.  Before you cut out those things that entangle you, first evaluate what is good or bad, what needs to be trimmed back.

The process is painful but the rewards are great when we take the time to evaluate and trim back those things which entangle us, allowing new growth to help us thrive.

The Every Day Leader.  Living an intentional life.  Being the best you can be.

 

 

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The Every Day Leader: STAND OUT!

Ever pick out your favorite colors in M&M’s when you eat them?  Are you drawn to a particular color?  Statistically, the company puts the highest number of blue in each container…in fact 24% in each bag.  Can you guess the least amount?  Yep, brown, an average of 13%.  Any guesses as to why blue is favored over brown?  I don’t have the answers, but have my own theory.

Blue stands out

We are drawn to people for the same reason. We are often drawn to those people who stand out. It may not be because they are loud or outgoing, or because they are some great leader by position, or because of their following or even their money.  It might be because of their gentle quiet spirit, or maybe it is how they consistently love people.  They may stand out because of their guidance and leadership to those around them.  Whatever it is, we all see it.  They are different.  They are the everyday leaders around us that stand out because of who they are and not for what they do.

These every day leaders are leading and influencing those around them in powerful ways.  Perhaps it is by mentoring another.  Maybe they are influencing someone by tutoring a high risk child.  They may be the leader in a ministry or a business,  leading a few or leading many; regardless, they are making a difference in the lives of others.

Go ahead try it…Stand out. 

We are drawn to those who stand out  by how they behave, how they think, how they respond, their integrity, their words, and their discipline. We know we  can trust them, they have a servant heart and model it. We can count on consistent decisions and a strong confidence.

 We are drawn to their character.

Just like the blue M&M’s stand out, I long to be that everyday leader that people are drawn to because of my character.  I long to be someone who people can count on,  someone who influences the people in my life.  I want to make a difference today.

What about you?  Are you willing to settle to be among the brown M&M’s or do you have the courage to stand out and be bold like the blue M&M’s?  It is never to late to be the best you can be.

Start today.  Stand out. 

Be the Every Day Leader living a life of intention and make a difference.

 

The Every Day Leader: Thinking of Others

She pulled at my hand begging me to come out to the porch.  As we walked outside my sweet little four-year granddaughter had given me a gift.  Not just any gift, but a gift of her expression of love.  She had picked some flowers from the garden and carefully lined them up on the porch to look “beautiful” for me. 

This was a simple expression of thoughtfulness and love through the eyes of a four-year old.

 

I smile as I think of that gift. I smile because it was done in love. I smile because she was thinking of me and I smile because I felt loved.

Each of us needs those kind of gifts.  Each of us have the ability to give those kinds of gifts to others.  These are simple expressions that show we care about those around us.  They don’t have to cost us much, sometimes just time and effort and making the choice to do it.

Thoughtfulness takes time.  It starts with getting to know those around you.  Each of us have someone in our life that we, as everyday leaders, have been entrusted to influence.

Whose life are you influencing right now?

Have you taken the time to get to know those people, not just on a name basis, but really know them?  If we take the time to learn about those around us, we gain new insights into them and their lives. We hear what they are dreaming about, we hear what they struggling with, sometimes we simply offer the gift of much-needed laughter.  If we are intentional we have the opportunity to learn so much more than just a simple good morning and how are you!  Even in our personal lives with our own family members, how often do we get so busy that we don’t know what is really going with them or what they are thinking?

What about those that you work with or that work for you?  How much do  you know about them?  How about our neighbors?

When was the last time you took time for a cup of coffee to check on a friend?  Are you the leader of a group?  How much more would those who work for you thrive if you took time to invest in them?

Simple ways to express you care and show others that you value them:

  •  A simple  phone call
  • Send a card
  • Meet for coffee
  • Schedule a lunch
  • Help them accomplish a dream
  • Surprise them with something they would never do for themselves but would love to do
  • Practice active listening

For those who are team leaders or managers, here are some ways to show you value those who work for you:

  • Keep an open door so people know you are approachable
  • Take time to say hello to each person in the morning
  • Surprise them with them with something thoughtful
  • Write a thank you card and express your gratitude for their hard work

We all need to know that others care about us.

Today, think of those in your life that you touch.  Maybe there is someone you have meant to reach out to but simply haven’t taken the time.  Don’t let another day pass, take the time today to do something thoughtful.

Be thoughtful.  Value another.  It is an intentional way of life that can truly make a difference!

Everyday leaders.  Living a Life of Intention.  Giving the gift of thoughtfulness.

The Every Day Leader: The Hands of a Father

I grew up seeing these strong hands fix so many things on the farm. They were the hands that were always there to help when I needed him.  These hands were hands that gripped a strong cup of coffee as he talked with a neighbor. They helped out in the community and comforted others.

These hands, these very special hands were the hands of my father, gentle yet strong.

I admire my father; this quiet man lived his values out and modeled them every day. He showed us what integrity looked like, how to be trustworthy, what it means to have a strong work ethic, and how to build a strong foundation in your life.

He showed us that people always came before things and that being a person of your word should be valued above everything.

Who I am today is due to a large part of my father’s influence and what he modeled to me growing up. The life lessons have never left me and have shaped me and made who I am.

I won’t be with my father this father’s day.  We live over a thousand miles apart, yet I pray he always knows the impact that his life has had on me.

My father, an everyday leader, making a difference and impacting lives.

 Happy Father’s Day! 

May all of  you fathers be an every day leader to your family and those around you.

The everyday leader.  Choosing to live a life of intention.

 

The Every Day Leader: Indecisiveness is a killer

There it was.. a squirrel lying in the middle of the road. Lying on his back with his little legs sticking straight up. 

It was as if he was caught totally off guard….

How many times have you seen a squirrel lying in the road?  Fairly common isn’t it?  We have all witnessed them stopping suddenly as if they are paralyzed for that moment of crisis when they see the car coming at them…trying to make the decision which way they should go.  What I have noticed is the ones that actually make a decision are usually the ones that make it.  Those that waver in their indecisiveness often don’t fare as well!

Making decisions is something we all have to do, some of us struggle with this more than others, simply because of the way we are wired.  In the end, as everyday leaders it really DOES matter how we make our decisions. What we don’t often realize is the effect of NOT making a decision in a timely manner. Being indecisive can catch us even US off guard with unexpected consequences. Just like the squirrel in the middle of the road, our indecisiveness can have devastating effects on our own personal lives, those we lead or the ministries or businesses that God has entrusted us to oversee. 

Taking time to think through and act wisely is indeed important.  Taking too long can be disastrous, just as much as making a rash decision without thinking it through.  How are you at making decisions?  Do you drag your feet?  Are you afraid of making a wrong move?  Are you someone who thinks more of pleasing others than making the hard choices? Do you simply make them quick to get it over with without really looking at all aspects?  Don’t be caught off guard!  Take the time to look at the big picture – but don’t stay there, waffling.  Be the intentional leader; be wise in how you respond to situations.

What are you facing today?  Is it something in your personal life that may be affecting your influence on others?  Is there something that you are facing in your organization?  As you look at the decision facing you, may you first think about how you, as an everyday leader make decisions.  It is never too late to improve how we do things.  Choose to be a better leader!

The Every Day Leader:  Living a life of intention.  Making a difference in the lives of others.

The Every Day Leader: Determination is YOUR strong Foundation

Have you ever seen massive tree roots coming out of the ground, roots so big and thick you could almost build your own little fort in them? Tree roots come above the ground looking for moisture, often times of severe drought has brought them originally to the surface. While the tree roots would generally grow down in search of water, it will do what it needs to, It has a natural instinct to find what it needs.  It is determined to survive.

Determination is the runner that gets up each day and trains.  Determination is what the child has as she climbs back on her bicycle without the training wheels for the hundredth time, trying so hard to learn to ride without them.  It is determination that sets us apart from others. 

Our goals are accomplished through constant determination. First, we must know what those goals are. Secondly, we must have a plan and be willing to carry that plan out to meet those goals.  This often requires a discipline and our will to make it happen no matter what.

It is a choice we make.  This choice sets us apart from so many others who would rather just settle for a life of mediocrity. Every day leaders make intentional decisions to make something happen and to are willing to carry it out, this enables them to have an impact on the world they live in.  Just like the tree in the picture.  It is a huge tree that provides shade and has been around a long time.  The roots sought the moisture it needed and did whatever it took for their growth.

What are you determined to do in your life as an everyday leader?  Do you have a goal set before you?  We must know what we are working towards.  We must have the end result in mind and the discipline and determination to carry it out.  This is what produces a lasting impact. 

Know where you are going.  Be intentional.  Have discipline and determination to get there. 

The everyday leader Making a difference in the life you lead.

The Everyday Leader: Being in the right place

I planted ivy on a hill in my front yard several years ago.  It wasn’t the first thing I had tried.  Every other thing planted just did not make it and the dirt  would wash away each time there was a hard rain.  While it has taken some time, the ivy has now taken off.  In fact, it seems I just go out and trim it, and it creeps up on the porch.  It is incredible!

The ivy thrives where it is.  In fact, it is so thick now; soil washing away is never a problem anymore.  It is amazing when you have the right plant in the right place what happens.  In many ways, it is a lot like people.  When we are in the right place we thrive.  When we have the right people on our team our team is more likely to be successful. 

Just like the ivy, even if you are in the right place but the conditions are not right it is hard to thrive.  We eventually will burn or die out.  It is essential that we provide the right environment for our volunteers and staff.   Being an intentional leader means taking a hard look to see if you are in the right place.  Is it a good fit?  Are you in an environment that provides all that you need?  Are you doing your part to cultivate that environment?

What about the people you are responsible for?  Do you have the right people in the right place?  If not, what do you need to do to get them there?  What about the conditions they are working or serving in?  Are you intentionally taking the time to make sure it is a positive environment?  Is it a place where they can continue to learn?  Are you as a team working together or is everyone doing their own thing?  Do they feel safe to be themselves, to grow, to learn, to make a mistake? 

No matter what we are doing, whether we work alone or in a group, it is essential to be in the right place with the proper support, care  and healthy conditions we need to flourish…no different than the ivy.

The everyday leader intentionally looks at the details, even when we are busy.  We take the time to evaluate, to make the changes when necessary. 

It means being intentional to have the right person in the right place.

It means being intentional to be the leader our people need us to be.

I want to be that everyday leader.   Willing to be intentional.