The Every Day Leader: PEOPLE over Tasks

I drove down the long dirt road and I looked at the farms along the way, such a peaceful setting, so calming, this will always be home.

To me a farm is the most beautiful setting that I know…yet, I also know that it means chores that have to be done each day, whether you feel good or not or even if you feel like it or not.

I remember the quiet, with an occasional interruption by the sound of the mourning dove singing it’s song. The farm provided such safety to me as a child, what I remember most was that life was simpler back then.

There was work, but there was fun. We also had time for fun when the neighbor stopped by or it was time to gather as a family. As I grew older I learned that sharing and working together was more than just sharing my dolls and playing house. It meant sharing a car, combining trips into town to save on gas, it meant helping out when needed. What I really learned was what mattered most…

people

People matter to every day leaders. They matter more than things or money or our jobs. Today we have many things competing for our attention, many things competing for that first spot of what matters most in our lives.

What are you choosing?

Are you more concerned about what house you live in, what clothes you are wearing, what status you have with your job?

I don’t want to just be busy. I long for the simple life where people are what matters.

Every day leaders intentionally choose. They choose how to spend their time instead of just being busy. They choose people over tasks knowing that life should never be to busy to not invest in another.

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The Every Day Leader: Handling tough days

We all have had one of THOSE days. Songs get sung about them and even children’s books get written about them. It is the day that nothing seems to go right and you wonder why you even bothered to get out of bed and how soon you can get back in bed.

Maybe your day started with your kids not wanting to get up for school and they missed the bus and made you late for work.  Maybe it was a day that you had to deal with difficult people, more projects than time, a team that does not do what they were suppose to, poor communication that cost delays, or a disgruntled client. It could be any of these or all of these or something totally different that caused your “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”.

In the kid’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day by Judith Viorst,  Alexander reckons the best way to solve his terrible day is to move to Australia.

 Sounds good to me!

 There are days I am ready to runaway. There are days that Australia does not seem far away enough!

But in the middle of my feet being half way out the door, I stop. I realize…

Leaders don’t run. 

 Leaders know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  They know that the hard days are just that.  HARD.  And in the midst of the hard days we are being refined in our character. We are being refined in our commitment. And we are modeling to our circle of influence how to navigate through the storms.

 What about you?  Are you having one of the terrible, horrible, no good very bad days? 

How are you managing through it?  Are you walking in such a way that others see you and learn how to handle those with grace?

When we as leaders model grace and commitment others begin to see that the hard days don’t last forever, and that solutions can be found in the midst of difficulties.  They see things do eventually get better.

Leaders take each day as they come, knowing that it is all part of the journey.  We know that HOW we respond to the day and what others see  DOES matter.

The every day leader knows that we don’t have to allow those hard days to define who we are and how we respond, we can use them to refine our character.

We can have joy in the midst of the circumstances. We can show grace to difficult people because we too have been difficult at times. We can face the tough day and know that it is only temporary.

I want to be the every day leader that when a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day happens I don’t run, because bad days happen even in Australia!

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Who are YOU?

 

One of the most important aspects of being a leader is to know yourself.  Know without a shadow of a doubt: what you value, what your passions are, how you see life, how you see others, and who you are. 

Knowing yourself is the foundation of leadership.  If you don’t know who you are, if you are not firmly rooted in your beliefs, your values, etc, how will you be consistent to live them out?  Why would others follow you?    

If someone asked you today what is it that you value the most, would you have to think about it or could you immediately respond?

 Are you living your life in such a way that it reflects who you are?

 

One of the greatest ways to influence is to model what you believe before others. Be the person you want others to be. How we live each day stands out more than:

the words we say

more than the things we do

more than the accomplishments we have done

 Our actions ALWAYS speak louder than words. Living our life out loud is how we influence others. What do you want others to see in your life?

One of the greatest ways for leaders to live is to lead  a life that reflects love.  A life that has a mindset and attitude of loving others is powerful.  When we lead with love we are…

generous

kind

Others know that we value them

We put others first

We become servant leaders

Every day leaders know themselves.  They know who they are, what they value and how they want to live their lives.

 

 

The Every Day Leader: What do you SEE?

What do you see?

For some of us, we see a door closed. 

We can go no further.  We see it as the end of the road, thinking that perhaps we were meant to stay where we are on the outside.  Maybe it creates fear of what is behind.  If so, then we can convince ourselves to leave it closed.  It may even motivate us to look for other doors or opportunities – maybe one that seems easier to open!

For others we see a door to open.  We may wonder if it will be stuck from the paint, but we will turn the handle and try. We may even tug and pull, put one foot on the wall to give us extra leverage, simply because we wonder what is behind the door.  We are unwilling to give up until we can get the door open.

We are all made differently.  We all view life differently. 

Leaders know how they view life and they recognize that there may be different perspectives.  When we know how we see things, we know this allows us to be confident as we lead others.  When we recognize there are other perspectives, this allows us to be able to work with others. 

Have you ran across any closed doors lately?  If so, how are you viewing it?  Are you ready to work on opening it, or do you feel more comfortable to leave it closed and stay where you are?

I am firm believer that God provides opportunities for us each day.  We, as everyday leaders must be willing to take advantage of those opportunities, open the door and step in.  We have no idea just what that opportunity will lead to!

 Everyday leaders, taking advantage of opportunities to make a difference.

The Every Day Leader: Team Work

Growing up on the farm one of the first lessons I learned is that it takes all of us to work together when something needed to be done. Each day we all had our own chores we were responsible for… It was a way of life.

It was never an option to join in, you were expected to join in and do your part.

One of the best examples was during sweet corn season. When the corn was ready to be picked the day started early. Some of us were a part of the picking and filling up the back of the pick up. Then it took several of us to shuck the corn…it was hot and the flies were awful, it was never an option to bow out. This was the longest and least fun of it all! There were others inside the house, in the hot kitchen without air conditioning, cutting the corn off the cob and cooking it. Finally it was cooled, bagged up and ready to put in the freezer for the coming months.

It was a job that was virtually impossible for one or two people to do alone. It took all of us and still took all day! I don’t ever remember saying I don’t want to do this or I have something else to do today. You knew it needed to be done, so you did it.

Each person on the team was valuable – the young to the old!

That’s the way teams work, pitching in to build success.

You think in terms of the we instead of me.

We all have opportunities to work in team environments. As everyday leaders we know that each person is a valuable part of the team, and that it takes the whole team to make things happen! We know what it means to be a team player, offering input, but buying into the team decision.

As the everyday leader we know that we have the ability to influence those on the team whether we are the leader by position, or a participant, we have a whole group to influence.

We can model what it means to be on a team. We can encourage and have the opportunity to instill value as we work together. Our thoughts and our actions can impact the others.

We know that how we respond, the words we speak, the attitude we display, the work ethic others see, trust that is demonstrated, a caring spirit and our character overall is how we influence.

What teams are you on? Are you a person of influence to the others?

We all have the opportunity to lead and influence for good or for bad.

Every day leaders, making a difference on the team. Being intentional to be a team player and influencing those around us in positive ways.

The Every Day Leader: Footprints on a heart

“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”  Billy Graham

Our days are numbered.

It is something we all know, but struggle with really knowing how to make that concept come alive in the midst of our busy lives.

 How can we possibly be concerned with leaving a legacy and making our days count, when often we are simply trying to survive and get everything done that we need to?

 Many times we think that leaving a legacy means that we have to be older and mature or having done something great to be able to pass on.  I love what the quote above says:

“The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives”

Age doesn’t matter.

 Experience doesn’t matter

 Knowledge doesn’t matter

 What you own doesn’t matter

 The amount of wealth doesn’t matter

 Your accomplishments don’t matter

 

What matters is how we intentionally live each day to make a difference.

 We all have the opportunity to begin leaving a legacy today.

It is in the how we live. 

We as every day leaders choose to invest in the life of another through what we model, how we love, and how we walk each of those numbered days. It is daily that we can make a difference in the lives of others.  It may even be a difference  that can impact generations. 

This is how we make each of our days count.  This is how we leave a legacy, the legacy that is not based on your age, your experience, your knowledge, your possessions or wealth, or anything great thing you have done but instead based on…

How you live.

 Your legacy is the footprint you leave in the lives that you touch

Everyday leaders know that our days are numbered. This is why we intentionally live our lives and take advantage of every opportunity God gives us, to leave a legacy.

Intentionally making each day count.  Touching lives.  Making a difference.  That’s what everyday leaders do.

The Every Day Leader: TIME OUT!

 

The empty bench. What stories it could tell.

The bench can symbolize loneliness or time alone, moments of relaxation or contemplation.  Regardless the reason, taking time away  is a powerful tool, one that is almost always needed.  This is true especially when we go through hard times or need time to replenish.

Have you noticed that there seems to always be a bench nearby?  When was the last time you took advantage of a bench and took some time away? The hard times of life that we go through seem to affect us the most.  Those circumstances can have a positive or a negative affect on us, but rarely leaves us untouched.  I have met many people on my journey that have been through hard times and are still positive with an incredibly joyous spirit. 

On the flip side, I have also met many other people who have been through the tough times of life and are still holding on to the hurt, resentment or even bitterness.  Instead of letting the hard times make them stronger they let it define who they are and who they have become.

                      In both situations the hard times have left an impact.

How is it that people are affected so differently? Going through the tough times and coming out better requires us to be intentional in our behavior and attitude.  We must consciously think about how we are and how we will respond.  We can’t just leave it to chance or do nothing.

We must be intentional to decide and to do something.

 Will you respond by being bitter or better? 

This is a phrase many of us have heard before.  The difference between the two is being intentional to choose how we want to live, think and speak.

Oftentimes it means taking the time, time we don’t think we have,  and getting away to reflect.

Taking time alone is vital to who we are as leaders.   Time away to reflect or contemplate renews us.  It is during this time that we think through the circumstances and make conscious choices.  It is also a time that we take care of ourselves. We cannot give to others what you don’t have.

It is only in those quiet alone times that we get renewed. It is making time to sit on that bench for a personal retreat, whether it’s a few hours or a whole day. It is intentionally saying I can only be at my best when I plan to take time away, to surround myself with things that feed my soul and spirit, that energize and inspire me or to make decisions about the things we are facing. We are more creative, more understanding and patient, and are better leaders when we take a time out and invest in ourselves.

 Everyday leaders long to be at their best.  We know that life can be hard and is messy.  We know that life is unpredictable.  Yet, we also know that God has given all of us the ability to choose how we will respond to those circumstances.

Everyday leaders, choosing to be better instead of bitter, even in the tough times.  Intentionally planning personal retreat time and investing in ourselves so that we can be better for others and make a difference.