The Every Day Leader: Speaking Truth

“My best friend is someone who brings out the best in me” – Henry Ford

Have you ever had someone asked your thoughts on something and rather than answer politely you wanted to tell them what you were REALLY feeling? Yet, there is something in us that holds back.

Sometimes we hold back because we are simply reacting without thinking about it and realize it would be a big mistake to blurt out our reaction. Maybe we hold back because we are only filtering it through how it makes us feel. Perhaps we choose not to say anything because we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.

I am sure we have all had these experiences at least once in our lives. I would also venture to say that holding back is not always the best thing we can do. I don’t mean we should say whatever is on our mind without regard to the other person. Speaking truth in love is one of the greatest gifts we can give another.

The key is saying it with love. That doesn’t mean we say it nicely, soften it up and water it down, or tip toe around the issue. It means we speak truth to another because we care enough to take the chance. Speaking truth in love means we care enough to thoughtfully respond in love as an act of kindness.

I am a firm believer that being nice and being kind are two different things. The nice person skirts around things, never wanting to upset anyone. The kind person takes the time and invests in another – to challenge, to speak truth, to guide. It is what makes us better people.

It is a gift of a best friend.

It takes building a relationship of mutual trust and respect. It is what sets the every day leader apart. It is someone willing to be kind.

It is about speaking truth in order to make a positive difference – to speak truth because you care.

I long to be that person of trust and influence and am grateful for those who do this for me!

Every day leaders influence those around them. They build a relationship. They are kind and go the extra mile, they speak the truth with love first.

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Guarding YOUR heart

There are many things that can come from our heart.  We can try to hide things deep inside, but eventually they work their way out.  Bitterness, hurt, unforgiveness, hate…they are difficult to hide.

On the flip side the good things…love, kindness, joy, forgiveness are things that ooze out in a way that cannot be contained.

For those that know you, what would they say flows from your heart?

 Love?

Hate?

Kindness?

 Bitterness?

Forgiveness?

To be a person of influence Every Day Leaders need to know what is in our heart.  We need to know that we must be intentional to deal with the difficult things in life that cause heartache.  We also know all too well that left uncared for, these very things can fester and have huge consequences on everything we do.

Reflect. Search. Choose.  And know what comes from our heart is what can make a difference in the life of another. Every day leaders know that what is on the inside matters most.

The Every Day Leader: Courage

I remember watching the Wizard of Oz as a kid.  I was fascinated with the many different characters and the yellow brick road – the journey to Oz.  No one can forget what each character was in search of. What Dorothy was looking for made perfect sense to me, she simply wanted to go home.  Who wouldn’t want to get home? I can relate with her on most days!

What the others wanted was a little harder for me to grasp at such a young age.  Didn’t everyone have a heart and a brain? As a six-year-old, courage was the one that seemed a little different. I simply thought of it as being something you needed every now and then for the big things you  might face.

As I grew older I found those same things the characters sought are still things that many of us seek today.

 Many of us chase our roots, instead of home, trying to find where we really came from and how we belong.   Everyone has this innate need to feel and be a part of something.  If we don’t have that sense of belonging we continually search to find it.

Like the scarecrow, we know we need a brain and often seek after higher education – many of us becoming eternal students. 

How many of us search diligent trying to fill the emptiness we often find in our hearts?

For many of us we hope we have courage at the exact time we need it!

Courage is not just needed for big things but is really something we need each day!

If you are struggling, it takes courage to keep going

Courage is needed to take the first step

Courage is needed to hear your own voice in the crowd

Courage is needed to take a stand

Courage is needed to think and speak for yourself

Courage is needed to stand up for yourself and not listen to lies

Courage is needed to follow your dreams….

Courage is so much more than something needed in a time of crisis, and is required for more things than I could have ever imagined as a kid.

I now also realize that courage comes with understanding.  It comes with knowing who you are.  There are many times in our lives we have to be intentional to be courageous. 

It takes intentional courage to step our of our comfort zone.  It takes intentional courage to be a catalyst for change.  It is what we, as every day leaders, must be willing to pursue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: The Journey

I recently was asked to speak to a group about a nonprofit that I am an Executive Director at. As I looked out at the group of ladies I was about to share my story with, I realized the audience was much different then what I had anticipated.  Most of these women were all older than me, had managed through life’s issues and weathered the storms.  I quickly realized I would need to rethink just what I was going to say that could make a difference.  In a room full of wisdom, life tragedies, joy, heartache, families, and everything that goes with living, I wondered exactly what I could share that they may not have heard or known. What could I say that would impact their lives?

As I talked about watching my grandkids play and dream of their lives when they grow up, we all had the opportunity to jog down memory lane for just a moment and remember those days of dreaming …what will it be like?  As we laughed together I was reminded that even with all the different paths we all take, the human spirit is incredible.  The will to overcome hard times, the celebration of joy, sacrificial living, serving and loving others, is found in each of us.  What kindles the will is having each other.

“Each other” crosses all lines….age, socio economic statues, race,  and religion .  It involves truly caring for another and being willing to walk alongside and do the journey together.

We all have different paths we walk down – each with different experiences to share.   Yes, we each have something to offer. 

May we always be willing to walk the journey with others!

The Every Day Leader: Breaking out of the mold

I once gave a speech in high school that started out with this line…

“The statue of liberty is still standing. Of course everyone expects it to be”.

While I don’t remember the rest of the speech, I remember talking and thinking a great deal about expectations.

That was MANY years ago…Life experiences have taught me much more about expectations since that time. For one, we all have expectations for others, for our country, for our lives. Secondly, we all have expectations we think we need to live up to from others.

Sometimes the expectations are good and spur us on to do better and reach higher. Other times, the expectations we perceive for our lives can bury us, as we struggle to live up to them.

There are times that we may even put ourselves in a mold that we think we should fit into, based on the expectations we or others place on us.

Are you living your life based on the expectations of others? Or, are you living your life in such a way that you are okay to break out of the mold, to live the way you were created to live?

Are you using your gits, talents and passions in such a way to make a difference?

Breaking out of the mold:

takes courage

takes determination

A bold confidence to make a change

Knowing who you are

It means taking a risk

The choice is yours. We can stay in the mold that we are in. We can live a life based on the expectations of others. We can also choose to breakout, take that first step for a bold change, living every day with meaning and purpose.

Every day leaders don’t settle. They are willing to break out of the mold knowing that sometimes we have to step out and make a difference.

The Every Day Leader: Reaching out to a messy world

This morning before the sign was flipped to the “open” position at our nonprofit agency, I had already spent ten minutes on the phone with a grieving father, and another twenty minutes with a mother who spoke only through the sobs of losing her adult son.

The sadness, the guilt, the loss…it was more than either of them knew what to do with, it was all-consuming. For years addiction had consumed their son and virtually destroyed their marriage. Now, here they are talking to a stranger, thanking me for caring for their son, knowing that we had befriended and helped him during his time of need. Immediately following that conversation I moved to another with an older gentleman, at the opposite end – facing the winter season of his life, who had lost all of his family relationships from mental illness and bad decisions.

Struggling. Lonely. Searching. Longing for life to be different, and yet, feeling there is not much hope of it actually being different. He was wanting, more than anything, to simply have someone just willing to talk with him.

In both of these situations, life took unexpected twists and turns. Life got messy. All of these folks walk their journey alone, feeling like they don’t belong.

I wonder how many others walk it alone?

How often do we assume everyone is okay and that they have someone to rely on? If we realized how many people we see each day that are alone and hurting, would we be more willing to reach out and care about them?

I wonder if we only knew, would we act differently? Would we take more time out of our busy days? Would we take the time to speak and truly care how someone is – to make eye contact and see the hurt? I wonder how different our world would be if each of us lived this way.

Next time you see someone, no matter where you are…take the time to care.

Isn’t that what we all strive for, to know that we matter to another? Our business, our non-profit, our life…we strive to know that what we do matters, that we matter. I know that when I take the time to simply listen, to care, and to pray for those who are hurting, it is in those moments, I know that my life matters.

As Every Day Leaders, it is the little things we do each day that can leave a lasting impact. May we never forget that every moment really does matter!

The Every Day Leader: JUMP

Do you ever have that feeling in the pit of your stomach, wondering how something is going to turn out, if your decision was the right one or even because of a pending decision you are trying to make?

It doesn’t feel so good.

In fact, I would venture to say it is a feeling none of us really care for! Yet, we all know it, and know it well. We have all experienced it at one time or another.

As Every Day Leaders, we know we can trust our skills, abilities and instincts. We know that we must be intentional to set aside the doubting and second-guessing.

Jump, the parachute will open.

It may be scary. It may even create that queasy feeling in the pit of our stomach. It may be overwhelming.

A leader knows they were trained and gifted for this moment.

The worst thing that can happen is to fail and that puts us in GREAT company!! Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Col Sanders, Warren Buffet and many other entrepreneurs lost everything at least once, before they experienced success.

Every Day Leaders know they have what it takes to navigate through making decisions, to launch that next great company or idea.

They are willing to step out, make their best decision and trust the future. They can be confident in their decisions and in who they are and how God made them.

so…JUMP!