The Every Day Leader: What are you chasing after?

“A man without a decision of character can never be said to belong to himself. He belongs to whatever can make captive of him.”  John Foster

We all chase after something. That something may or may not be good for us or but there is always something that has our attention.

Sitting on the porch I watched our one and half-year old dog sit as close to the edge of the porch as possible. Up until recently she would run after whatever was walking by, regardless of my words of warning.  Now, as she is growing older she is finally beginning to get it.

She must practice self-control.

Some of us chase after fame, fortunes, and the next BIG thing. Some chase after the next technology gadget, fast cars,  or a new position.

As adults we may no longer chase after every whim, as we once did in our youth. We may not even chase after all the tempting things that come our way but, we still are chasing something.  Sometimes,  those things we chase are not always healthy for us and we need to show more self-control in all areas: emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, or spiritually.

Are we showing self-control when it comes to our physical needs? it may be we are not eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, or we put ourselves in situations or environments that increase our stress levels. Be intentional to live healthier and reduce the stress in your life.

Perhaps we need more self-control in the area of our finances: how we earn, save and spend our money.  It may mean being willing to work and do our very best at our job and holding off on the latest and greatest gadget or other things that we are chasing, until we have saved up for it or have a plan to pay for it. Be intentional to save for a rainy day.

How about our time? Are we managing our time well in order not to scramble at the last-minute?  When we don’t prepare or are always late we send the message that we didn’t care enough to be prepared.  Be intentional, prepare, be on time and lead so that others want to follow you.

What about our decision-making. Are we stuck in the mud when it comes to making the hard decisions? During times when decisions are especially difficult it is wise to seek the counsel of those you trust. A snap decision is never a good idea, rather make your decision based on facts, many counselors, and intentional thought.  Be intentional to get out of the mud.

Are we showing self-control in our relationships? Relationships, whether they are: business, friendships, or family, take lots of work. Choosing to invest in others takes time; it takes getting past the small talk.  It means showing up as a friend, a mentor, a confidante and not being distracted. It means being present and engaged with the person who is with you and taking time to ask questions about them. It means not thinking of the next thing you are going to say but rather listening to what is being said.  Be intentional in your relationships, practice active listening.

John Maxwell reminds us that when we are leading the person we must first lead is ourselves.  If we cannot control our own lives, how can we expect to model and teach others?  How do we lead a life of intention and influence those around us when we are unable to practice self-control first?

How are you at self-control?

I love that every minute we live is another opportunity to start fresh.  Do you have some areas you need to improve in? We all do. Take the first steps and identify the areas you need to work on.  Set some goals.  Start out with small things, celebrate the small successes and milestones.

Our willingness to practice self-control makes us better leaders.

The Every Day Leader, Living a life of intention; Choosing to be self-controlled in our own lives and modeling it for others.

The Every Day Leader: Leading on Empty

I was leaving in a hurry, trying to make an appointment on time, and jumped in the car started to take off when I noticed my gas light was on.

My quick calculation was that I would have enough to make it to the appointment and back so thinking nothing more of it I headed out. As I headed home I took a quick glance and to my dismay I had enough to make it only 2 more miles with more than a mile to go!  I began to wonder why I had waited to fill the car and if I would make it to the gas station up the road. Just as I pulled into the gas station my car died. The car was empty! You could almost hear the deep sigh as I opened the gas tank.

 And then it hit me…

 Not only did I push my car to the limit, but I knew that I have also done that to myself.  I rearrange, I get up early, I stay up late…. all to work more and do more.

How often to we as leaders get to the place where we are running on empty? How many times have we ignored ALL the signs?

 We push ourselves to the point of fitting so much into our schedules that we forget to take care of ourselves.

How about you, do you push until you are empty?

As leaders we need to always live intentionally and think and do differently.  Just as the car cannot move without the gas, neither can we.  We must fill ourselves up – emotionally, physically, relational, spiritually and mentally.

We must as leaders intentionally live healthy.  This means to eat well, exercise, invest in our relationships, take care of our emotional well-being, Invest in our spiritual well-being by spending time with God every day,  and we need to always be looking for ways to sharpen our mental skills.

I want to be that every day leader that chooses to live differently, knowing that when I am healthy I have more to give.  We must choose to  live a life that never leads on empty.

The every day leader, living a life of intention.  Taking care of ourselves, making a difference in those around us.