The Every Day Leader: Tis the Season

The pile of graduation announcements sat on the counter, along with one for a baby shower and a wedding.  It is definitely the season once again.

The season of endings and new beginnings.

The season of change for many.

Two of those announcements are for my kids, one graduation and one baby shower.  This week I watched my son walked across the stage of his high school graduation, along with my parents in their eighties and my grandkids next to me in the bleachers.

It is a season of change for our family.

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I was reminded of how things sneak up and are gone before you realize it.  The days that can seem so very long are somehow gone in a flash.  It seems we blink and…..

our kids have grown up,

our body begins to age.

our parents have aged.

we have lost the windows we thought would always be there.

Everyday leaders know that time is fleeting.  So we intentionally choose to make our moments matter. 

We choose. 

Every day leaders know we must be intentional.  We choose to make the most of the time we are given knowing as we invest  we are making a difference in the  lives of those around us.

MMDC+moments+tht+matter

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The Every Day Leader: Keep on Walking

We just celebrated mothers day….I had a great day with my kids, talking to my mom on the phone, and enjoying the day.  It  was a day that makes me thankful for my family!

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Holidays and special occasions are also a time that can remind us that things may not always be as we have planned.  There are often subtle things that seem to jump out to say that life doesn’t unfold the way we expected it to.  This is true in my life – it has taken lots of turns that I never expected.

Maybe it is a broken dream, a broken relationship, things at work, or financial struggles; whatever it is…life is often unpredictable.

Our journey can be  filled with unexpected twists and turns along the way and the holidays often bring it to the surface.

What about your life?  Has it taken some unexpected turns that are hard for you to get past?  Are you stuck?

Like anything else, we have to intentionally choose.

We choose what we focus on.

We choose to see the positive instead of the struggle.

We choose to walk through the hard stuff, instead of run away.

We choose to keep going, knowing there is always an end in sight.

We choose, because we know that it is up to us.

We choose because we know that nobody else can do it for us.

We know that as we keep walking we are growing.  We are learning.  We are changing.  We keep walking to become better.

We choose.

When we choose, we know that with each step we take  it not only changes us, but it can make the difference in the life of another.

It’s the power of influence.  It is touching the lives of those around us.  It ‘s what we do as every day leaders.  Choosing.  Walking.  Growing.  Changing.  Impacting.  Even when the path has taken a different turn!

The Every Day Leader: The Art of Listening

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I watched her as she thought about just how she was going to convince her mom to allow her to have another piece of candy…before dinner.  After all, it seemed rational since we had an Easter egg hunt in the yard earlier and found eggs filled with candy.  Her eyes seem to twinkle as she approached her mother with her reasoning. I also really enjoyed watching her face as her mother took the time to listen to her  ‘why’.

I was reminded of the importance for all of us to see the other person’s perspective.  It may not seem to be the right perspective to us; but the bigger picture is the message of what transpires during that time of listening.

My little granddaughter felt heard.

For that moment, she felt important and valued.  It didn’t even matter if she didn’t get the answer she wanted, because the message she took away was that her thoughts mattered.

Her mother had the wisdom to understand that.

It’s what we do as every day leaders.  We understand the importance of not only listening to someone when they are hurting, but listening to them when they are expressing their opinions – even if they are different from ours.

By listening, we send a message that we value them.

Listening takes time.  Sometimes, time is hard to give.  Every day leaders learn the skill of taking the time, hearing and listening; but also the art of boundaries when needed.

Most of all, we learn to give the message that people matter. 

We show this not just by our words,  not just by our actions, but sometimes by taking the time to sit quietly and listening to them.  This is true, even if it is a crazy idea like candy before dinner! 

How are your listening skills?  Have you taken the time to listen to another’s opinion lately?  Do they feel valued?

Every day leaders choose to listen.  They intentionally choose to make another feel valued, showing them that their opinion matters.  Every day leaders choose to influence – making a difference in the lives of those around us.

The Every Day Leader: A View from the Church Pew

It was a very simple funeral with just a hand full of folks that came.  Life had taken many twists and turns along the way and ended very differently for my friend. He never expected life would turn out the way it did, he never set out to make life different from you or I when he was growing up.  All his life he had friends, made it through Eagle Scouts, graduated and went on with his life.

Somewhere along the way prescription drugs got in the way and played havoc in his life.  He ended up homeless and burned the bridges to many of his relationships along the way. What he did learn was to treasure those that would take the time to care for him and love him without passing judgment on him.

Here was a man who clung to all he had and all he knew, it was simple but it was also profound… Jesus loved him this he knew for the Bible told him so. This simple faith he modeled before me whenever I saw him and countless others every day. Through his eyes I saw life just a little bit differently. My perspective changed and widened and encompassed those that were hurting, those that were down and out, those that needed more grace, more compassion, and those needing more love.

As I sat in that pew and looked around how I wished that each person  there could have the privilege that I had, to walk his journey with him side by side. How I wish I could get the ones there in this small church and those not there to see the value of a simple “Hello” and how that meant so much to this man and to many others. How I wish those there could understand and see how a simple act of buying a lunch or giving a ride home changes lives forever and yet it is not the life of the hurting but it is our lives that are changed.

This friend of mine wanted so much for someone to care. Is he any different from us? How many times do we pass someone and ask them how they are and never even wait for the answer. How many times are we the ones that give the pat answer of “fine” or “I’m OK” and deep down we are dying on the inside from life’s messiness.

May we never be so busy or caught up in life that we fail to look around with eyes that truly see. Eyes that see ourselves as we really are, eyes that see others and their pain. May we never be so busy that we don’t offer the ultimate gift to those around us… The gift of ourselves, our time, our hearts, and our love.

I want to live like that.