The Every Day Leader: Anyway

I listened to her share her story.  It was almost as if I could see the heartache. I heard the desperation in her voice.  I saw the hurt in her eyes.  As she finished she trailed off with the word…

anyway.

It was as if she was ended it with:  “it  is what it is” and none of it really matters in the end.  The anyway implied that perhaps there was nothing that could be done about it, and even if there was something that could be done with it, she felt powerless to be the one to do it.  It was the hopelessness in her voice that I picked up on.

The anyway spoke volumes.

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Are you at a place in your life that feels like one of those anyway places?  A place where you are tired, a place that feels hopeless, a place that feels that you must simply stuff it all down and keep going, because that is what you have always done.  Perhaps it is what you sense everyone expects you to do or to be.

Maybe you just feel too busy to take the time to even know where you are.

As everyday leaders we begin to understand the opportunities that we have within the spheres of influence that God has placed us.  We not only begin to understand our roles, we also begin to more aware of how we are too.  We know that if we are going to be people of influence we need to be emotionally and spiritually healthy ourselves.

Everyday leaders intentionally choose to be the best that we can be in order to leave the greatest impact in the every day moments that God has given us.

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What will 80 Look Like For You?

Today is my mother’s eightieth birthday.

She has never had a POSITION of leadership.

She had never had any great TITLES.  Yet, she has influenced thousands of lives over her lifetime.

My mother is a great example of an everyday leader.

She has touched the lives of many, simply by the way she has lived her life.

There has never been a time that she has not cared for a neighbor, that she has not modeled love to another, or that she wasn’t investing in her family.  Being the youngest, I not only felt secure and loved – I was taught all of the things that have made me who I am today.

Through her kids alone and her investment in each of us, there has  literally been thousands of lives influenced through women’s ministries, children’s programs, books written, conferences and programs.  That does not include any of the lives touched through her nineteen grandkids or twenty-six great grandkids.

How are you living today?  What are you choosing to invest in?  What will your life look like when you turn eighty?

No titles, no positions.   Just the farm. 

Choosing to live intentionally.  Choosing to live a life of influence.  Knowing that the  moments matter.  This is what the life looks like of an everyday leader.

Everyday leaders choose to make a difference in the HOW we live each day.

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The Every Day Leader: Peeling back the layers of Paint

I used to love to refinish furniture, when life was a bit slower.  It was messy and dirty, but when you could get through the layers and layers of paint, there was often a beautiful piece of wood just waiting to be discovered.

People are often like that.  

There can be years and years of muck on the outer layers of their lives, but inside there is a beautiful person waiting to be discovered.

But it is messy to get to that point to see the beauty.

It takes our intentional time and an investment and above all else, patience.

In the end, just like the piece of furniture, there often is something so beautiful that was just waiting to be found.

I have met so many different kinds of people along the way just like this.  Often I see the hard outer shell that has been hurt by the hardness of life.  The thick coating comes in the form of: sarcasm, gruffness, one that pulls totally inward and lacks trust, belittling of others, controlling, stubbornness, and always more attitude then is ever wanted or needed! All that coming from years of muck creating layer upon layer on their outside, much like the paint on the furniture.  Often there is a sense that there is no God or if there is one, he could not possibly be a loving one.

How do you handle the layers on the lives of those around you?  Are you someone who is unable to see beyond the outside coat, or are you someone who wonders what is beneath the surface?

Dealing with people can be messy and dirty – but invaluable. It can take time to get to who the person really is, it means building trust instead of walking away, it means speaking truth in love and holding them accountable and caring enough to not let them stay in the muck.

Every day leaders know that as a leader,  we have the ability to influence the life of someone carrying around the heavy layers. It’s about making a difference in the life of another.

We know that taking the time to care, encourage,  build trust and  develop relationships are a special gift that we can offer and it cost us very little but our time and in the end the reward is priceless.

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The Every Day Leader: BE BOLD… Walk through the OPEN Door

Months ago I wrote about the cardinal that was pecking at the window of our dining room begging to get in. I was reminded then how we as people can act similiarly…we do the same thing over and over thinking it will yield the result we want.  I also noted that if he would step back look at it from a different angle he might see the door was a better way to get in.

He has now taken up his pecking to the window above the door.  He pecks almost everyday.  It is as if he knows that the door is the way to get in, but he doesn’t quite have the nerve to actually go through with it.  He wants to take the next step, but just can’t quite seem to make himself do it.

Aren’t we just a little bit like that too?  We know what we want to do.  Maybe it is a dream to pursue, maybe it is making a career change, or any bold step of change in our life…but, like the cardinal, we just can’t quite get the nerve to do it.

Taking the first step…TODAY

The first step is always the hardest.

Instead of taking the first step, we keep playing it in our mind and we stay at the same place.  We wonder about the what ifs, we wonder if we have the courage to do it, we wonder what others would say, we wonder if we can do it, and we wonder if it will fail.

We have all heard the stories of those who have experienced failures – many failures before they found the success.  We all know of Thomas Edison, Colonel Sanders, Warren Buffet, and Trump and we know that failure could happen. 

One of the greatest lessons as leaders is to learn from your failures.  In fact, I would go as far to say that failing at times is really part of the success.  It is what we take away from that failure that prepares us for the next step.

Go ahead…

Be BOLD

Don’t stay pecking at the glass above the door – GO THROUGH IT!

Every day leaders know that by taking that first step, by walking through the door, by leaving the safety net and being bold they become better people. They succeed far greater than they could have imagined and they make a difference in the lives of others.

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The Every Day Leader: It’s the Moments that Count

“Don’t tell mom, I don’t want her to worry”…those were the words from my nine-year old granddaughter, struggling with a bad cough, but more worried about her mom not feeling well.

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It was such a sweet moment.

It was a reminder to me that this moment didn’t just randomly happen. This moment happened because of all the days before of her mom modeling to her what it means to think of others, what it means to live unselfishly even at a young age.

This is what true leadership is all about. WHO YOU are is reflected in others.

It is the day in and day out of modeling to others of what you stand for, what you believe that will truly influence them.

How are you living today?

How about yesterday and the day before that? It is the moments that you live each day – even the moments that seem insignificant that matter. It is who we are, what we say, what we do, how we love, how we listen…it is in the moments that there is great significance.

What did you model today?

Is it the same, consistent message that you modeled yesterday? Last week? Last year? When we are consistent, people see it. They know as leaders we can be trusted. They know what we stand for and that we don’t waiver when the tough decisions have to be made. They know our character, and they are willing to follow us.

I want to be that person who is consistently the same always. The person that others can count on.I know it will take work, it will take me being intentional to choose my actions and choose what matters most. I know this life style is not a sprint but a marathon.

How about you?

Every day leaders are confident and consistently show others who they are, knowing as they do, they influence the lives of the people around them.

The Every Day Leader: Pressure Cooker

I used to help my mother can. Growing up on the farm and having a big family – we naturally had a big garden. It made sense to can our produce and save it for the cold winter months. Looking back, I am amazed at how my mother knew how to do it all.

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I would stand at the stove and watch the pressure cooker as it did it’s magic. It was only when the jars were in the pressure cooker that they were securely sealed and ready to go on the shelf.

Have you noticed…People are a little like that.

Pressures have a way of bringing out what is inside us: the good, the bad, and the UGLY.

If we prepare and keep a check on who we are on the inside, when the pressure comes (and it will come!) we will see that we are able to put into practice all that we have learned and all that we know.

If however, we have not prepared it won’t happen. We will not be able to stand firm, speak truth and do what we know to do. We will crumble, allowing the circumstance or people to trample us and lose ourselves in the process. It is just like cooking, preparation is key to avoid an explosion.

Have you experienced a time of pressure? How did you fare? If not, are you ready to face pressure that may come your way? How are you preparing?

Pressure comes…it can come in the form of dealing with people issues, changes at the workplace, making a major decision, financial, new products or business and even from within ourselves to be better and do more. Every day leaders know that preparation is key and vital to survival.

Every day leaders take the time they need to be ready to handle things that come their way. They know that when they do, it allows them to be their best, to make good decisions, and to lead with greater influence those around them.