The Every Day Leader: Around the Table

Yesterday I blocked out an hour for a lunch meeting.   The hour lunch turned into a two-hour lunch, then into a three-hour lunch.   The same was true for my lunch the next day. In fact it seems when people stop and take time to break bread together something profound happens.

The time is never wasted.

There is something magical that happens around a table, whether food is involved or simply just a cup of coffee. When you intentionally meet with someone over a meal or coffee, relationships change.  The acquaintance becomes someone you get to know, a current relationship often grows stronger and trust starts to develop.

When I was kid, I watched my parents model this.  No matter what they were doing, if someone stopped in for coffee my parents stopped and made the time to sit down and build that relationship.  It was how neighbors kept in touch.  It is how you knew what was happening with your neighbor.  It was a different way of living back then.  Today, neighbors don’t usually stop in for a cup of coffee; and we are often too busy to invite them to.

Relationships are still built by gathering around together and one of the best way to do that is around the table. 

Every day leaders have to be intentional to seek to invite others into fellowship.  We have to be willing to take the time to build relationships. If you are in the business world it is important to connect with your employees and clients. In the non-profit world it is important to get to know those that partner with you, volunteer for you, and support you in a variety of ways is vital to your success. As individuals we can intentionally reach out to a friend or neighbor and invite them to come and sit around the table for a bit.

When was the last time you took a break from your busy day and met someone for coffee?  Maybe there is someone you know who is merely an acquaintance and you would like to get to know them better.  Perhaps it is one of your employees that you sense is struggling. Maybe it is someone who has helped you bring your dreams to life. A simple cup of coffee around the table, or the simple act of breaking bread can change that relationship forever – it will bring connectedness.

We as people long to feel cared about.  We long to feel connected.  We want those around us to really know us, more than just our name. Remember the TV show ‘Cheers’?  It was the place where everyone knew your name, just as the theme song pointed out.  Something each one of long for.

Every day leaders intentionally seek to build relationships around the table. They intentionally invite and break bread and add value to others.

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The Every Day Leader: Dreaming

Somewhere over the Rainbow  Israel “IZ” Kamakawiso’ole 2011

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Ooo ooo ooo Ooo ooo ooo
Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high And the dreams that you dreamed of

Once in a lullaby
Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Blue birds fly And the dreams that you dreamed of

Dreams really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind me

Where trouble melts like lemon drops

High above the chimney tops

That’s where you’ll find me
Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Have you heard this remake of this classic song from years ago?  It is a beautiful remake! It is a reminder of a carefree life that allowed us to dream dreams and have our troubles melt away like lemon drops.

 Oh to have such a life!

 The song can take us back to our childhood for just a few moments, but then reality seems to jump right in front of us again.  Often that reality is filled with deadlines, people issues, us trying to do it all and be all that someone expects us to be. Life is often so busy where we constantly are juggling everything and trying to find a balance that seems to always elude us.

I wonder…where do our dreams fit in?

When was the last time you even really allowed yourself to dream?

Are we so busy that we have forgotten what are dreams are?  Often our dreams come from a passion we may have.  Our dreams often evolve from our true nature talent and desires that God has given each one of us.  It is what makes us unique.  Yet so much of the time the dreams we have get put on the back burner.  Life gets in the way, the noises of the day drowns out the still small voice that gives wings to those dreams.

Do you even remember your dreams?

What would the world look like if we each remembered those dreams and made a commitment to rediscover them, and then set out to pursue them with all we had… what we would be like as every day leaders? How different our lives would look.

Finding our dreams doesn’t just happen.  It requires us to be intentional.  We have to actively take the time to remember, rediscover or discover for the first time, and entertain the idea of “what if?”

When we as everyday leaders are in tune to what our dreams are, we begin to think and act in a way that makes those dreams come true.  We begin to tap into the way God made us and to be our best selves.  We begin to be what we were created for, instead of settling for the mediocre or what others want us to be.

Every day leaders take time to dream.

We need to take the time to dream and to reignite the dreams we once had.  We know that when we are doing things we love it shows.  When we are in our sweet spot others see that and are drawn to it and we can’t seem to get enough of it.  This becomes a great opportunity to influence those around us. Work never seems like work when we are operating in our sweet spot.

I want to be that every day leader that isn’t afraid to dream. I want to intentionally act upon my dream, tapping into all the beautiful and wonderful ways that I have been created.  I want to be my best.

I want to encourage others to dream and not be afraid to pursue those dreams!

Oh somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high

And the dreams that you dare to Why, oh why can’t I?

Oh somewhere over the rainbow Blue birds fly

And the dreams that you dreamed of

Dreams really do come true

The Every Day Leader, being intentional and dreaming to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Every Day Leader: Who Is Shadowing You?

There is always at least one person that is in my life that I know God has placed there for a reason.  The timing may not always be convenient, it may not always be in my plans, but somehow it always works out.  Somehow God knows just what I need, just what they need.  And always, when I take the time to invest in that person, I get out of it way more than I put into it. 

                                       Happens every time.

Investing in the life of another takes time, effort and a huge part of me and it won’t happen unless I take the time to do it.  It means I have to be willing to sacrifice, I have to be vulnerable, and transparent to share my life with another…my whole life.  There are parts of my life that I am not so proud of, there are times of my life I had to learn lessons the hard way.  When I invest in the life of another, it means sharing those times too. It is truly sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly, because lessons can be learned from every area and all of our life experiences.

The funny thing about investing… those relationships you put your heart and soul into mentoring, they are the ones that never fail to teach me something new about me.  Of course, I sharpen my skills and learn patience and understanding as I learn to work with someone new.  But it is so much more than that.  True mentoring makes me take a hard look at me.  As I teach and share, I also have to evaluate, I have to intentionally seek to understand myself better.  I learn the why’s of the past and begin to  see things from a different perspective.

Most of all, I am taking the time to think things through instead of plowing ahead with the business of life. 

If someone is following in my shadow,  I need to look at the person they are following.  How am I really?  Am I doing all the things I say?  Do I practice what I preach?  Do I lead others in such a way that I am worthy for another to want to be my shadow? Am I patient in answering questions?

Have you ever tried to copy someone’s shadow and anticipate their moves exactly?  It is almost impossible.  It is a pretty big bill to fill to have someone look up to you and want to be mentored by you. You have to be selfless, patient, and giving, even when you are tired or busy.

I look at those who have and who are mentoring me.  I am so thankful for them, for the time they have taken to invest in me and to make me a better person.  They have modeled for me the importance to do the same for another.

Who has God put in your life?  Is it someone who has never had a mother?  A Father?  Someone who needs to learn how to run a business?  Someone you are teaching spiritual principles to? Or maybe it is just someone who seems to be always clamoring for your attention by asking questions about everything you do and have done. They seem to be so eager to learn and soak up like a sponge anything you share.

Mentoring does not have to be lengthy and involved. Do you have an hour a week, twice a month, or a month? Scheduled times of mentoring help focus but there are also many informal times that conversations are had and lessons are imparted.

There are endless ways we can mentor another and endless opportunities to do so. Don’t miss a  chance to invest in another, you just may be surprised at how valuable they are to you!

The Everyday Leader.  Living a life of intention.  Mentoring another, always investing in those around you.

The Every Day Leader: Your Attitude is Contagious

She sat down next to me on the bench, and out of nowhere began to share her story.  The line that stuck out to me was…“it was a blessing in disguise”.  She had lost everything including her home in a tornado. Yet, she could say it was still a blessing.  She was demonstrating an incredible attitude to me, a stranger.   I was no one she needed to impress, I was not someone in her circle of influence, and I was probably  not going to be someone she ever saw again.

I know her first name and really not much else, but in just those few minutes I spent with her she inspired me.  She was being an every day leader by her contagious attitude about life.  I didn’t know what she did for a living, I didn’t know her family background, her beliefs,  or her history, but what I learned in that short conversation had an impact on me that will last the rest of my life. I was reminded that our attitude is contagious.  She turned a difficult situation into a positive one and shared it with me.   I want to model that attitude.

This encounter was a great reminder to me that our attitudes play a huge role even in the most unexpected places!  I am amazed at the influence we can have on people we don’t even know.  We each have the ability to be someone of influence and that influence can be positive or negative…our attitude can be contagious!

YOU are that every day leader!

How easy is it for us as people to go about our every day lives, doing our own thing, keeping to ourselves  and not even noticing others or taking the time to speak to those around us. How many times have we been at a coffee shop sitting outside and not even say hello to those walking right past us?  Perhaps we never even noticed them. Think about all the opportunities we have each day to influence others – often times it can be as simple as the attitude we demonstrate or in how we react to our own circumstances.

We model to others by how we live our own lives.

What are you modeling?  What are others seeing? Do they see someone who sees the good in life…the blessings in disguise?  Or do they see someone who complains, wonders where the good is and who struggles with life issues?

Modeling a good attitude takes work and LOTS OF PRACTICE.  As every day leaders we must be intentional to model an attitude that is positive and contagious to those around us.  Doing this does not come naturally! 

Your attitude does impact those around you…even a stranger. 

Just like Diane sharing her story reminding me about blessings in disguise, I want to  be intentional in my attitude, making a difference in the lives of others.

An Every Day Leader, Living an intentional life.  Making a difference with my attitude.

 

The Every Day Leader: Indecisiveness is a killer

There it was.. a squirrel lying in the middle of the road. Lying on his back with his little legs sticking straight up. 

It was as if he was caught totally off guard….

How many times have you seen a squirrel lying in the road?  Fairly common isn’t it?  We have all witnessed them stopping suddenly as if they are paralyzed for that moment of crisis when they see the car coming at them…trying to make the decision which way they should go.  What I have noticed is the ones that actually make a decision are usually the ones that make it.  Those that waver in their indecisiveness often don’t fare as well!

Making decisions is something we all have to do, some of us struggle with this more than others, simply because of the way we are wired.  In the end, as everyday leaders it really DOES matter how we make our decisions. What we don’t often realize is the effect of NOT making a decision in a timely manner. Being indecisive can catch us even US off guard with unexpected consequences. Just like the squirrel in the middle of the road, our indecisiveness can have devastating effects on our own personal lives, those we lead or the ministries or businesses that God has entrusted us to oversee. 

Taking time to think through and act wisely is indeed important.  Taking too long can be disastrous, just as much as making a rash decision without thinking it through.  How are you at making decisions?  Do you drag your feet?  Are you afraid of making a wrong move?  Are you someone who thinks more of pleasing others than making the hard choices? Do you simply make them quick to get it over with without really looking at all aspects?  Don’t be caught off guard!  Take the time to look at the big picture – but don’t stay there, waffling.  Be the intentional leader; be wise in how you respond to situations.

What are you facing today?  Is it something in your personal life that may be affecting your influence on others?  Is there something that you are facing in your organization?  As you look at the decision facing you, may you first think about how you, as an everyday leader make decisions.  It is never too late to improve how we do things.  Choose to be a better leader!

The Every Day Leader:  Living a life of intention.  Making a difference in the lives of others.

The Every Day Leader: The Simple Leader

Corrie Ten-Boom, A quiet, everyday person willing to do what she thought was right.  She never saw herself as a person of influence – yet she had a huge impact on the lives of many, simply by speaking from her heart. I have been fascinated since High School by the life of this every day leader, who never knew the legacy she would leave.

Corrie Ten-Boom, along with her family, hid Jews from the Nazis during the war and was later captured and ended up in the concentration camps.  Despite all she endured, she always took the high road.  She loved others, no matter what they had done to her.  She forgave.  She kept the right attitude, even during the worst of it all.  She remained thankful in all things, even in a concentration camp!

She was as simple a leader as you could get. It wasn’t about what she looked like, what she wore or even saying the right words. She understood that life and people are a gift and often that is all we have. It is our choice how we manage that gift that has been given to us.  She also knew that she could sit back and do nothing and be safe or she could jump in and do something and make a difference in the life of another.

Corrie Ten-Boom.  Simple.  Quiet.  Obedient.  Everyday Leader.  Lasting Impact on the Lives of Many.

What about you? Each of us is given a sphere of influence, what are YOU going to do with yours? Are you willing to be all that you can be and make a difference, never knowing what legacy you may leave behind?

This every day leader wants to live like that!