The Every Day Leader: Not Quitting

Did you see Penny Palfey, who at age 49, was attempting to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys?  I was amazed at the incredible drive and endurance she displayed even though she wasn’t quite able to make it the entire distance.  As I saw clips of her swimming hour after hour I wondered just how she did it. 

 

There are days when everything seems to turn out much differently than planned. 

Life gets messy.  On those days there is a fleeting thought that…

I just can’t do this

I am ready to quit

 If we are honest with ourselves, there are probably many times that many of us get discouraged on the journey we each face.  There is the unpredictable of life,  we may be hurt deeply along the way, life just wears us down and entangle us at times.

Finishing the race feels overwhelming

Everyday leaders know that quitting is not an option and neither is running away

 We know that there is purpose in going through the journey of our lives.

 We know that even on the hard and long days we have the chance to make a difference. 

Where are you on the journey? 

Are you in the middle of one of those long and hard seasons of your life? 

Are you wondering if you can make it?

Hope is an incredible thing.  When we hold onto the hope for tomorrow we are renewed.  We can take that extra step, we can run a little farther, swim another mile, knowing that each moment offers a new beginning.  Each moment is a new opportunity.

 Don’t give up 

Hope for tomorrow 

 The Every day leader intentionally makes a difference. Intentionally chooses to keep going and to hold on to hope.

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The Every Day Leader: Finding Meaning

Work. We all have to do it; in fact most of us will spend 35-40% of our day working. I recently read a quote that read: “life without meaningful work is meaningless”. I have been thinking about this quote all week, it has made a huge impact on me.

Are you just going through the motions each day?

So many people work at jobs that they are not passionate about. Can it still be meaningful? Can any job be meaningful?

No matter where we are or what we are doing we can intentionally choose to find meaning. As we do this we are not only impacting those around us as an every day leader, but we are also enhancing our own lives! We begin to embrace every moment that has been given to us. Our lives take on a new meaning because we know we are being used to make a difference. This happens in our jobs, at home, wherever we are.

As every day leaders I believe that when we are intentional we begin to think differently. Our eyes are opened to the many places and ways that God can use us to make a difference.

It starts with us.

It starts with a willing heart and an attitude of wanting to make a difference, to make our lives count, to have purpose in each day.

The Every day leader chooses to find meaning in their work and have purpose in their lives. Living differently, seeing life differently, choosing to make a difference.

The Every Day Leader: Inside Out

 

Remember getting cotton candy?  It smelled so good you could almost taste it before you ate it.  It was such a treat for me as a kid.  It only came around one time a year at the county fair.  I always looked forward to it!  But every time I got it, I was almost always disappointed because it would disappear so quickly.  Sometimes it seemed to disintegrate before it even made it to my mouth!

How about biting into what you thought was a chocolate chip cookie, but turned out it was raisin? 

Clearly, what is in the inside does count!

Have you ever heard the saying “it’s what ‘s inside that counts?”

Have you ever met someone, who as you got to know them, you discovered that they are not the person you thought they were?  Much like the chocolate chip cookie!   It  may seem to be someone who cares on the surface, but when the time comes when you need help, they are nowhere to be found.  Perhaps they speak some great words, but like the cotton candy, the words come across empty – nothing more than hot air because their behavior doesn’t align with their words.  

What are you like on the inside?  Do your words match your actions?

Everyday leaders  are consistent.  They know that who they are on the inside is important.  They know to be a leader of influence means that people can trust WHO they are as a person.  It is not their position, their money, or any other thing.  It is because who they are on the inside matters.

How would someone describe you?

 Are people surprised when they get to know you? 

An everyday leader lives a life where the inside and outside are the same.  They know that being your best self matters, so that you can make a difference. 

Everyday leaders lead a life of consistency,  choosing to live intentionally as they invest in the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Serve

Growing up on the farm, I saw serving as a way of life that was modeled before me every day. There were chores to be done, animals that needed caring for, and it took everyone in the family doing their part to make sure they were completed. We all had to take care of the garden, help with the canning and whatever else needed to be done.

Today, at age 79 and 82, my parents still model servant leadership. My mother still cooks and serves at the local soup kitchen, while my father makes the giveaways for the farm shows that reach out and build relationships with the local farmers.

Today we hear a lot about servant leadership, it seems to be the latest buzzword. It is a concept that people talk about as if it is something that we need to learn. While I am 100% for this concept, I am often amazed that we have to be taught this. As leaders this should be a natural outpouring of who we are. We should always be thinking of, caring for and loving others.

Serving SHOULD BE in our DNA as people.

The Everyday leader knows that serving comes from the heart.

It is the real deal.

We serve because we care.

We as every day leaders know the difference caring makes in the life of another. Every day leaders intentionally serve those around them; this is what sets us apart.

I am thankful for my parents who modeled servant leadership before it was the latest fad. I want my life to model this to those I have the privilege to influence.

The everyday leader is a servant leader. It is about being the one who is willing to intentionally serve others. It is having a servant attitude and making a difference in the lives of those around us.

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Finishing Well

I have known my friend for years, full of life never without a positive word to say.  As long as I have known him, he has always lived  a life of intention.  The older he got, the more he longed to use his life to impact others.  He was not a leader by position.  He did not have money or power or even prestige. 

But, he was an every day leader that has had an impact on my life.

Today, he looked so different.  The life is gone and his body is struggling as he battles cancer.  Yet, I know without a doubt, that my friend has peace.  He has peace where he is going and how he has lived his life.  Did he make mistakes?  Absolutely.  Yet he did not let those mistakes dictate how he lived.  He understood the secret to learn from the past and celebrate the journey, but not allow it to define him.

Every day leaders must make those kinds of choices each day.  We are all given one life.  Each day we are alive we have the opportunity to make a difference, to use our lives in such a way that we can end the race knowing we have given it our best.  We will be able to say that we understood that every moment God has given us matters.

Moments matter

It is up to us how we choose to live them.

Have you ever met someone who had a great deal going for them in their life, but when you got to know them they were consumed with bitterness or anger or maybe even apathy?  Once you get to know them, you quickly learn that being around them is not something you want to engage in…at least for a long period.  They have not learned the secret of embracing life, running the race with endurance, and making the moments count.

We all have that choice to make.  If we are not intentional to make that choice, we will one day realize that life has passed us by and we really did make a choice.  It just ended up to be the choice of passivity, the choice of coping instead of choosing.  Ultimately it is the choice of living life or allowing life to pass by.  One day we will be at the end of the race.

What choice are you making?

I am thankful my friend chose to be an every day leader.

The every day leader, living a life of intention.  Making choices to embrace all that life has to offer and being intentional about finishing well.

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Learning to move

It sounds easy to be an every day leader.  We know it doesn’t mean that we are signing up or inheriting a long to-do list. It just means we are changing how we think and how we live.  We begin to see things differently. We begin to be proactive, to be a person of influence rather than sitting back and letting life pass us by. 

 All that is required of us is to simply start

start right where we are

Start today

 We often mean well, but we get sidetracked.  We think we are going to be intentional in how we think and live; we want to do something, yet we don’t. Instead, we let life get us busy.  Too busy.

To do anything in life we must first move. We must be willing to take that first step. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take that first step. Be willing to use the gifts and talents we have been given to make a difference.  It is doing what it takes to lead and succeed.

 

The first step starts with making a decision. It is standing up and saying, I am ready to do something to make my life count, to change the course.  It may mean to stop doing the same things as you did before, getting the same results that don’t work.

It may be to refuse to be stuck in the mud one more day.  It is not letting others dictate to you where you will be, who you will be, or what you will be.  It is standing up for who you are, believing that you have what it takes to succeed, and doing what is best.

Do you see the first step?

It all starts with a decision to move.  It means we don’t have to see the top, the whole picture, the end of the road, or anything else. We just need to be bold, make the choice and start somewhere.

Now is the time, now is YOUR time. Take that step!

 

Take the step:

when it is uncomfortable

 when it is unpopular

 when you are scared, do it afraid

 when others say you can’t do it

 Refuse to live where you are today.

 Everyday leaders lead where they are.  They intentionally take that first step, even if they can’t see beyond the landing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Olympic Team Work

It is estimated that over 3 billion people will watch the Olympics this year.  It is no wonder why we love to watch the best athletes in the world, cheering them on and cheering on our countries.

In a grueling re-match of last year’s world cup, the USA Women’s Soccer team beat Japan 2-1. They came to win and win they did… THE GOLD! This team had to work together, they had to overcome some BIG personalities,  and they had to work as a single unit.

 Alex Morgan’s face says it all after she kicked the winning goal.

The soccer team was especially dear to all the folks where I live in Georgia as our hometown girl was on the team, Kelly O’Hara.

Don’t we all wish the teams we worked with would have such discipline and dedication to work like the athletes of the Olympics?  The girl’s soccer team didn’t miss a beat; they set their sights on the gold medal and were not deterred.  If they did not work together – they wouldn’t have had a chance.

 As Every Day Leaders we know that a successful team is only successful when the team works together.  It takes discipline, dedication, and a leader that clearly is trusted and steps up to lead.  Just like the soccer team, when the team works together it is a beautiful picture.

Is this really realistic for the business world?

 After all, most of our teams are made up of very different people, with different personalities, skills, styles, and often times our teams are virtual and span different countries. 

 How do we get teams to move through our organizations with effortless strides?

A successful team always starts with their leader.  It is the leader that sets the culture of the organization that shows he/she values each member of the team and has that same expectation for the team members to value each other. 

 We show this by taking time and investing in our teams.  We develop a reputation that we can be trusted, that we know what is best for each team member because we know them. The team trusts the leader because the leader has demonstrated consistent behavior and words that they can count on.

 How is your team?

 There are countless books and training to help each of us as we lead.  It starts with us.  We set the stage as every day leaders.  This is true in any of our environments that we are a part of.

 Just like the soccer team, I believe it is realistic to have successful teams that don’t miss a beat.  It takes work, discipline and being intentional.

 That’s what we do as every day leaders.  Act intentionally.  Lead intentionally.  Set a culture of trust and value. 

Every day leaders, seeking to make a difference in the lives of others, setting our sights on the gold and getting it.

WAY TO GO USA WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM!