The Every Day Leader: The hardest word to say

We have all heard it.  We don’t want to disappoint.  We think we have more time than we do.  We have many things we want to be a part of, yet, at some point if we don’t learn it, it will have devastating effects on our lives

Two little letters, but a HUGE impact…

There are many times we may even have the “N”  just about to roll off of our tongue, yet in the moment when someone asks, we can’t seem to get the single word out.

As every day leaders there are many things for us to be a part of that are all good things.  We may want to help a coworker, employee, volunteer or even a friend.  We may sit on the board of a very good non-profit.  We want to do our very best on the projects or assignments set before us.  The list goes on.  Perhaps deep down, we have a check in our spirit knowing this is not a wise decision.

I know.  I find myself in this place more times than I care to admit.  Sometimes it is because I don’t want to disappoint, I want control of the finished project,  or maybe it is because I  think it is a good way to spend my time.  Perhaps I may even think I can learn from it and be better.  Yet, when I am not willing to say no there are consequences…..I may miss the opportunity to spend my time doing something that is a better use of my time.

Time is one of our most precious resources that no matter what – we  all have the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds in every day.  It is not something we can buy or ever get back.  When I am intentional to think about these concepts, I am more apt to say no.

The bottom line is that every moment matters.   Each moment is a moment for something that we choose.   A moment we will never get back. 

How about you?  Are you intentional to choose how you spend your time?  If we really stop to think what is really important in our lives, we may find it easier to say no – even to the good things, so that we can have something even better.

Every day leaders, choosing to spend our time in such a way that we make a difference; willing to say no, for the opportunity to say YES.

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The Every Day Leader: The old typewriter

I remember the old typewriter in the attic of the old home I grew up in.    Our home was filled with stories, memories and great things. As I grew up, I expected to write my own story, just as I used to write things out on that old typewriter.  I had grand ideas that life would be filled with all great things, just like life was like in the our old home.

As children we always think that life will  be good, that somehow hard times don’t really happen. Wasn’t the American dream  for everyone and anyone who would work for it?  To obtain this dream all one had to do was work hard, treat others right,  always do good and one would be rewarded  This was the script I knew.

Yet somehow life didn’t turn out quite like that.   There have been messy and unexpected things happen that certainly didn’t follow the script I wrote.  Instead life holds things like death, divorce, cancer, prodigal children, job loss, shattered dreams, broken promises, depression and burnout.  What do we do then?   It seems the script needs to be rewritten, so we jump in to make that happen the best way we know how.

I set out to rewrite my script to make a happier ending.  Somewhere along the way in the midst of the hard times of my life, I realized that God was doing great things in the middle of the messes.  He was showing me something different.

I learned that each day is a gift given to me. I can choose to influence others or I can choose to isolate. I can choose to love even when it hurts or I can choose to build walls because of the hurt. I can choose to use the gifts and skills God gave me to change the world or I can choose to build a life of materialism with things that I cannot take with me when I leave this earth. I can choose to make a difference in one life each day or I can choose not to invest in anyone – leaving no legacy behind me.

I choose to believe that the Lord orders my steps. That He alone is the author of my story and the ending is yet to be written. Life is like the back of a tapestry, threads going every which way entangled with one another, but at the end when you turn the tapestry over an amazing picture has been woven. The hardships of life and all those things that seem like they should NEVER be a part of the script actually shape us, build us, and develop deep character in us. Without those times we would not see life the same.  Those  experiences are powerful in our lives, even if we can’t see it at the moment.  It is all these things, the good and the bad shape us and allow us to see others in a different light. Often, our stories are the encouragement for others.

I no longer look at that old typewriter the same way. I no longer rush to rewrite my ending to the script.  Instead it serves as a reminder that life is about surrendering to the One True Author of our lives.  For it is He alone who is writing the greatest story of all and using us for His glory.

How will you live your life?

I choose this day to live a life with intention, to embrace every day, to let go of my script and pick up His.