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.

The Ever Day Leader: Short Cuts

“When it comes to leadership, you just can’t take shortcuts, no matter how long you’ve been leading your people” John Maxwell

Ever been on a walk that seemed a little longer than you anticipated? Or maybe the journey you are on feels like it will never end?  When we are faced with those scenarios we may be tempted to take a short cut.

Short cuts always SEEM easier.

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How many times have we tried short cuts only to find ourselves in a place we didn’t want to be and the situation worse than when we started out?

Short cuts are simply that, trying to cut something short.

It often means you are trying to cut something short that, if done right, could have great potential. When we take short cuts we often miss the journey and the lessons we are to learn along the way.

Shortcuts don’t work with leadership either.

If we are trying to model what it takes, we must walk the WHOLE journey.
If we are trying to accomplish something with our team, we must take the time and think through every aspect and the different angles. We must see the consequences of those choices BEFORE they happen.

 
If we are trying to make changes, it is vital that we gain support first. Changes won’t happen without a team’s buy-in.

 
If we are investing in someone, we must be willing to do what it takes and that means we must go the distance with them. We don’t stop when it becomes a hassle or inconvenience to us. We know as leaders, that investing in people is a priceless reward and WE benefit from it too.

 
If we are growing our business or even just starting out in business, we must be willing to do it right from the very beginning. This often means doing the things we don’t like or that we may struggle with because we don’t know how. Take the time to learn, take the time to do it right and in the end it will save you time, heartache and MONEY.

Every day leaders know that trying to take the easiest route is not always the best route. We know that doing things right the first time, even if it takes longer, is always what makes the difference and has the greatest impact.

It ‘s what Every Day Leaders do, we walk the journey – the WHOLE journey, knowing that as we do we are making a difference in the lives of those around us and our businesses.

The Every Day Leader: The Clacking of Time

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Somehow we always seem to think that time will never end…that it will keep on going and we have forever days.

When in fact, time has a definite beginning and ending.  We often take time for granted. We try to squeeze as much as we can into it or out of it. Other times we just waste precious moments – but we somehow always  believe that we always have more just up ahead.

But do we? 

None of us knows our tomorrow and what it will bring. 

We often hear and we even know deep down that we should embrace every moment.  We know that each moment will never come again, we cannot get it back once it is gone.

Yet, it just doesn’t seem to sink in.

Every day leaders know that each moment matters.  We know that each moment we have is a gift that cannot be squandered or foolishly wasted.  As kids the days seem to last forever, as adults they fly by each one getting faster than the other. Just ask any mother who has grown children.

The years are short, but the days are long. The moments disappear.  As much as we would like to think it is true, our time doesn’t go on forever. 

Every day leaders long to make the most of every moment that has been given to them.  They know that we each have limited days and the clacking of time passes all to quickly.

Every day leaders celebrate each moment making the most of each one of them to make a difference in the lives of others. They invest in those around them, seeking to leave a legacy far greater than themselves.

They invest not only in actions, time, words, but even in writing, knowing that through their encouragement to the next generation they are helping them succeed to do far greater things than they did.

Let us be Every Day Leaders who impart wisdom to those younger than us. Let us be intentional to mentor, guide, and encourage those that want our attention and time that we can mold them into the leaders that God intended them to be. Time indeed has an end and one day we will depart this earth but may our legacy live on in those we mentored.

The Every Day Leader: Sowing and Reaping

“What you do today, affects your tomorrow.  What you did yesterday is affecting your today”

It is such a simple concept, but somehow we don’t believe it is true. Growing up on the farm, I learned that the type of seed you plant is important.  Quality seed often yields a quality crop.  The same is true for our lives…what we sew each day and how we live our lives in those moments granted to us is what truly matters.

The Bible says it this way: We reap what we sow. 

What you eat today, will affect your health tomorrow.  If you are a good neighbor today, it will be remembered tomorrow.  How you treat your customers today will affect your business tomorrow.  What you are modeling for your kids today will impact their tomorrow.  How we choose to spend our time today, will affect our relationships tomorrow.  If we neglect those who love us and support us today and never invest in the friendships we have, they will be gone tomorrow. If we are unkind to another, they will remember it tomorrow.

It is a simple cause and effect principle.  Everything you do TODAY matters….

Every day leaders understand this.  Everything we do has the power to impact another positively or negatively.

How are you living your TODAY?  Are you living it in such a way that your tomorrow will reflect your intentional choices?

Every Day Leaders choose what matters


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The Everyday leader: Your Story of Influence

What is your story? The story of YOUR life. We all have one.

Most likely your story is one that is filled with all kinds of chapters. Good times, bad times, times when you have been hurt or hurt another, times of failure, times of success, times of strength, even times of shame. All of those experiences make up YOUR story, the story that is totally unique to you. It is this storyline… the storyline of your life that has made you into the everyday leader that you are.

We have often heard our past shapes and mold us. Did you know that the way we are driven is often from the uniqueness of our own stories? It is this story that gives us an incredible understanding and compassion to see the lives of others in a whole new way. Our story serves a purpose and it is never in vain. This purpose empowers and enables each of us to make a difference in the lives of others. To hear and understand their stories in a way only we can after having walked that path ourselves.

Tragedies, celebrations, tears, smiles, regret, shame, broken dreams…all of these things make us who we are. These are the things that make our stories real and help us to connect and to inspire and influence those around us.

How often to you hear of someone doing something huge because of something in their past? How about the Adam Walsh story? Imagine the loss the parents experienced when they lost their son in the blink of an eye! They now spend their lives helping other families find kidnapped children and help to locate criminals. This tragedy was a chapter in their story that has driven them to be passionate in helping others that face similar circumstances. The stories of our past give us passion. They also make us the everyday leaders that can and do make a difference in the lives of those we encounter.

Do you have a chapter you would rather simply keep quiet about? Even those chapters that you would rather forget – are part of what make you, the unique you, that God has created.

Sharing your story means being intentional to help those around you. It means accepting your story and using it for the greater good. It may even mean embracing your story; knowing that God uses all things in our lives for a bigger purpose than we can ever know, even the chapters that don’t make sense to us.

The everyday leader, living intentionally, using our stories to make a difference.

I want to be that person. To embrace all of the chapters of my life. To use my story for His glory.