The Every Day Leader: PEOPLE over Tasks

I drove down the long dirt road and I looked at the farms along the way, such a peaceful setting, so calming, this will always be home.

To me a farm is the most beautiful setting that I know…yet, I also know that it means chores that have to be done each day, whether you feel good or not or even if you feel like it or not.

I remember the quiet, with an occasional interruption by the sound of the mourning dove singing it’s song. The farm provided such safety to me as a child, what I remember most was that life was simpler back then.

There was work, but there was fun. We also had time for fun when the neighbor stopped by or it was time to gather as a family. As I grew older I learned that sharing and working together was more than just sharing my dolls and playing house. It meant sharing a car, combining trips into town to save on gas, it meant helping out when needed. What I really learned was what mattered most…

people

People matter to every day leaders. They matter more than things or money or our jobs. Today we have many things competing for our attention, many things competing for that first spot of what matters most in our lives.

What are you choosing?

Are you more concerned about what house you live in, what clothes you are wearing, what status you have with your job?

I don’t want to just be busy. I long for the simple life where people are what matters.

Every day leaders intentionally choose. They choose how to spend their time instead of just being busy. They choose people over tasks knowing that life should never be to busy to not invest in another.

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The Every Day Leader: Team Work

Growing up on the farm one of the first lessons I learned is that it takes all of us to work together when something needed to be done. Each day we all had our own chores we were responsible for… It was a way of life.

It was never an option to join in, you were expected to join in and do your part.

One of the best examples was during sweet corn season. When the corn was ready to be picked the day started early. Some of us were a part of the picking and filling up the back of the pick up. Then it took several of us to shuck the corn…it was hot and the flies were awful, it was never an option to bow out. This was the longest and least fun of it all! There were others inside the house, in the hot kitchen without air conditioning, cutting the corn off the cob and cooking it. Finally it was cooled, bagged up and ready to put in the freezer for the coming months.

It was a job that was virtually impossible for one or two people to do alone. It took all of us and still took all day! I don’t ever remember saying I don’t want to do this or I have something else to do today. You knew it needed to be done, so you did it.

Each person on the team was valuable – the young to the old!

That’s the way teams work, pitching in to build success.

You think in terms of the we instead of me.

We all have opportunities to work in team environments. As everyday leaders we know that each person is a valuable part of the team, and that it takes the whole team to make things happen! We know what it means to be a team player, offering input, but buying into the team decision.

As the everyday leader we know that we have the ability to influence those on the team whether we are the leader by position, or a participant, we have a whole group to influence.

We can model what it means to be on a team. We can encourage and have the opportunity to instill value as we work together. Our thoughts and our actions can impact the others.

We know that how we respond, the words we speak, the attitude we display, the work ethic others see, trust that is demonstrated, a caring spirit and our character overall is how we influence.

What teams are you on? Are you a person of influence to the others?

We all have the opportunity to lead and influence for good or for bad.

Every day leaders, making a difference on the team. Being intentional to be a team player and influencing those around us in positive ways.

The Every Day Leader: Serve

Growing up on the farm, I saw serving as a way of life that was modeled before me every day. There were chores to be done, animals that needed caring for, and it took everyone in the family doing their part to make sure they were completed. We all had to take care of the garden, help with the canning and whatever else needed to be done.

Today, at age 79 and 82, my parents still model servant leadership. My mother still cooks and serves at the local soup kitchen, while my father makes the giveaways for the farm shows that reach out and build relationships with the local farmers.

Today we hear a lot about servant leadership, it seems to be the latest buzzword. It is a concept that people talk about as if it is something that we need to learn. While I am 100% for this concept, I am often amazed that we have to be taught this. As leaders this should be a natural outpouring of who we are. We should always be thinking of, caring for and loving others.

Serving SHOULD BE in our DNA as people.

The Everyday leader knows that serving comes from the heart.

It is the real deal.

We serve because we care.

We as every day leaders know the difference caring makes in the life of another. Every day leaders intentionally serve those around them; this is what sets us apart.

I am thankful for my parents who modeled servant leadership before it was the latest fad. I want my life to model this to those I have the privilege to influence.

The everyday leader is a servant leader. It is about being the one who is willing to intentionally serve others. It is having a servant attitude and making a difference in the lives of those around us.

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: The Hands of a Father

I grew up seeing these strong hands fix so many things on the farm. They were the hands that were always there to help when I needed him.  These hands were hands that gripped a strong cup of coffee as he talked with a neighbor. They helped out in the community and comforted others.

These hands, these very special hands were the hands of my father, gentle yet strong.

I admire my father; this quiet man lived his values out and modeled them every day. He showed us what integrity looked like, how to be trustworthy, what it means to have a strong work ethic, and how to build a strong foundation in your life.

He showed us that people always came before things and that being a person of your word should be valued above everything.

Who I am today is due to a large part of my father’s influence and what he modeled to me growing up. The life lessons have never left me and have shaped me and made who I am.

I won’t be with my father this father’s day.  We live over a thousand miles apart, yet I pray he always knows the impact that his life has had on me.

My father, an everyday leader, making a difference and impacting lives.

 Happy Father’s Day! 

May all of  you fathers be an every day leader to your family and those around you.

The everyday leader.  Choosing to live a life of intention.

 

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.