The Every Day Leader: Getting Back Up

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Remember what it was like learning to ride a bike?  You would fall over again and again.  Yet somehow, you managed to dust yourself off, bandage the knee if necessary and get back on the bicycle.

Until one day….

It worked and you got it!

Our lives are a little bit like riding a bike.

There are certainly times in my life that I have felt like I was never going to make it through what I needed to, or learn all that I should.

The task seemed too great. 

The situation seemed too hard.

The boss was simply too difficult. 

There wasn’t enough time.

Yet, somehow it all worked.  The task got done.  There was enough time.  I managed to make it through a boss that was difficult or a situation that seemed all to hard to master.

I made it through. One step at a time.  One day at a time.

Are you in one of those situations now?  Does it feel overwhelming?  Do you wonder if you will make it?

You will.  Don’t lose courage.

It’s what everyday leaders do.  We do it because we know that as we walk the journey that God has set before us; making it through matters not just to us – but to those around us.  God has given us our circle of influence; no matter how big or how small, it is still our circle to touch.

Go on.  Persevere.  Keep going.  Stand strong.  Get back on the bicycle.  Knowing that as you do, you are modeling for those around you to do the same.

Every day leaders-making a difference in the lives of those around us by getting back up even when it seems too hard!

 

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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: 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: Lessons From the Farm

Summer is officially here!  It seems like school just started and now is officially out.  The kid’s are home, the farmer markets are in full force and the lawns need to be mowed more often. 

It is one of my favorite times of the year!

Growing up on a farm, I am a bit biased when it comes to the farmers market.  There is nothing that can compare to a fresh, home-grown vegetable.  So much preparation goes into making that produce the very best well before the seed even gets into the ground.  The soil is prepared and tested to see what nutrients it is lacking even as early as the fall before.  Once the soil is ready, the planting begins. There is care to watch the external elements of weather and ensure there is proper sun and moisture.  The farmer makes sure to keep the animals, bugs and weeds away so that no harm can come to the plant or the fruit at any stage of its growth.

I wonder if we as everyday leaders put as much thought into our lives as the farmer does for his plants.  The farmer is very intentional in the care and protection to get the best fruit. 

How are we at taking care of ourselves so that we may be our best as leaders?  How do we prepare ourselves to face the day before us?  Are our hearts in the right place?  Physically, are we getting the rest we need and the right nutrition to be our best?

Often the business of life pushes us to sleep less and eat on the run.  What about exercising?  It seems that these are all things we plan to get to, but just can’t seem to fit in our schedule.

There are things that hurt our relationships, steal our time, drain us emotionally and physically and cause us to not be our very best.  Are we aware of those things? Are we on top of the things we need to know, constantly growing our leadership and other skills?  Or is that something too, we always mean to get to, but can’t seem to find the time.  Even financially, are we so worried about our finances that it affects other areas of our lives? 

Being intentional means taking a look at all areas of our lives and being willing to make necessary changes.

Just like the farmer knows what needs to happen to get his best produce, we too, as intentional leaders need to be mindful of what things produce our best work and allow us to be our best selves.  It is our best that allows us to make the most impact with our lives! 

All of these things are about living a life of intention.

A life that longs to make a difference. 

The life of an everyday leader.