The Every Day Leader: Simply Be Who You Are

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Remember the days of playing as a kid?

I love watching my grandkids play dress up.  There is no limit to their imagination!  If they choose to put five pony tails in their hair, add a pink hat and wear a red dress they do.  They can sing and dance and be the star.

They don’t worry about who is watching.

They don’t worry if things aren’t just right.

It doesn’t matter if the clothes don’t match.

They are not worried about who is watching and what they might think.

They are simply  enjoying the day.  Enjoying the time.  Enjoying who they are and how God made them.

When was the last time that you could simply enjoy being that person?

The person that doesn’t have to worry about if things are just right.

The person that doesn’t have to worry if your clothes are matching or the latest style.

The person that doesn’t have to worry if you measure up.

Or, if you have done all the right things.

Or  maybe, who is watching.

When was the last time you could just be yourself, relax, smile and embrace the moments?

Everyday leaders recognize that to influence those around us, we must embrace who we are and how God made.  We begin to understand that we don’t have to spend our time trying to measure up, to be someone we are not, rather we are better when are  who we are ourselves.

It is who we are that really matters!  Not what others think or expect!

Take some time.  Know who you are and embrace it.  Allow others to see the REAL you.  Knowing that as you do, as you are intentionally living an authentic life without pretense, you are modeling this to others.  You are making a difference in the lives of others around you!

Simply Be Who You Are!

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The Every Day Leader: Time Out

I spent a couple of days at the beach not long ago.  There is just nothing quite like the sound of the waves, the sand between your toes and the peace I feel when I look at across the water.

As I walked along the beach noticing the shells scattered on the sand I walked by several shells that seemed to be all “stuck” together.  You may have noticed them too, but most likely walked right by them.

I finally stopped and picked one up.

The clump wasn’t all that pretty.

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The individual shells were so much nicer.

Yet, as I looked at the clump of shells there was something about it that made me think about us as people.

I was at the beach to take a little time away.   I had  been feeling the weight of life issues, family changes, and the pressures of work all weighing me down.

I realized that my life was beginning to look like that clump of shells.  I was carrying around the weight of  all kinds of things and letting it weigh me down.

As much as I thought I was managing….

The deadlines from work stuck with me when I came home.

 

The concerns for my kids and aging parents were big.

 

The struggles of relationships were wearing me down.

 

The crisis from the families I work with were hard to forget.

 

Trying to be there for everyone added another shell that stuck with me.

Turns out, I wasn’t really managing all that well.

I needed some time.

What about you?  What is your life looking look like these days?  Do you have all kinds of things stacking up on you that feel heavy?  Maybe some things you aren’t even aware of?

Are you needing some time for you?

Everyday leaders have to be aware of when we need time away.  Then we must  intentionally choose to take that time away, knowing when we do we are working to be our best selves to make the greatest difference in the lives of those around us. It is all about choosing to be our best selves, to make a difference.

Everyday leaders  work hard to take the time BEFORE the shells before to stack up and weigh you down – choosing to be our best selves!

The Every Day Leader: Walking With Confidence

IMG_2110Growing up in the middle of  rural Nebraska the view often looked like this.  Regardless of which direction you looked,  there wasn’t much to see but roads that appeared to have no end, with no houses in sight.

As a kid, I longed to live in town and be closer to other kids and stores and swimming pools.   Now as an adult,  I realize just how good I had it growing up in the carefree world of the country.  I love the wide-open spaces and would jump at the chance to back there.  When I return now and see the never-ending roads, I am reminded of the roads we travel in our lives…..and the perspectives we have when we are traveling.

There are times when it seems like the journey we are on is so terribly long and lonely that we are tempted to look for a short cut or maybe to quit altogether.  I think these are the times we forget to reach out to others and ask for help or encouragement along the way.  We somehow think we need to carry our load alone.

When was the last time you asked for help from a friend?

Other times, we simply haven’t prepared well for the journey.

Have we taken the time to care for ourselves?  Are we in shape physically?  Have we eaten well?  When was the last time you slept a good eight hours?  What about our family relationships?  How about spiritually?  Even financially?  Taking care of us, means EVERY area of our lives. It means being our best selves to walk our journey and not having to worry.

Maybe, we simply get discouraged because we have forgotten how to be thankful for all that we have along the way – we even forget to look out the window and see the beautiful view.  I am amazed at how different I am when I take the time to be grateful for all that God has done in my life!

What are you thankful for today?  List them!  Do this everyday.

What is going on in your life right now?  Are you on a journey that is exhausting?  Are you stuck somewhere and not even moving?

Everyday leaders choose to take time each day to reflect, making sure we walk the journey with confidence – knowing we are given a gift to influence the lives of others each day along the  way!

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!

 

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: Getting off the TREADMILL of Life

Do you remember watching the ‘Jetsons’, the cartoon about the future?  Meet George Jetson…Jane, his wife… his son Elroy…daughter Judy. And the most famous of them all the dog named Astro.  I have not seen the cartoon since I was a kid, but I will never forget the scene during the credits where Astro pulls George while he is on the treadmill.  George ends up going around and around the belt because he cannot keep up. Remember that?

Figuratively, we all get caught up in the treadmill of life.  We may jump on it thinking WE have control of the pace,  but eventually it gets going so fast that we simply can’t keep up. We can do it for a while but eventually, we wear out. 

The breakdown in our lives begins to show  in how we respond to others.  It shows in our decision-making.  It shows in our words, our actions, and even our health.

We must choose to change, to readjust, to intentionally go in a different direction.

Leaders  choose to control their schedules.  They choose to say no to some things in order to say yes to others.  They choose to schedule themselves on THEIR calendar knowing that if they don’t take care of themselves they can’t take care of others.  Leaders choose to ensure they have time for those in every area of their lives not just their teams and family.

What speed are you at?  Are you keeping up the pace or is your foot beginning to slip?  Are you afraid to slow down, enjoy the day God has given you and take care of yourself?

Only YOU can take that ownership…no one else will do it for you.  Quite the contrary, if you are willing to do things, others will ask and let you….and the pace just keeps on picking up. Learn to say “No”, learn to delegate, and learn to ask for help.

Be intentional to evaluate your schedule weekly and even daily.  Learn not to over commit. Learn to take care of YOU.

When we are our best selves, we are better at caring for others in our lives, we are better leaders, managers, and problem solvers.  We are not too tired or burned out to invest and influence another.

Everyday leaders control the speed of their lives.  They know that when they do, they are more equipped to make a difference in the life of those around them and those they lead!.

 

The Every Day Leader: Guarding YOUR heart

There are many things that can come from our heart.  We can try to hide things deep inside, but eventually they work their way out.  Bitterness, hurt, unforgiveness, hate…they are difficult to hide.

On the flip side the good things…love, kindness, joy, forgiveness are things that ooze out in a way that cannot be contained.

For those that know you, what would they say flows from your heart?

 Love?

Hate?

Kindness?

 Bitterness?

Forgiveness?

To be a person of influence Every Day Leaders need to know what is in our heart.  We need to know that we must be intentional to deal with the difficult things in life that cause heartache.  We also know all too well that left uncared for, these very things can fester and have huge consequences on everything we do.

Reflect. Search. Choose.  And know what comes from our heart is what can make a difference in the life of another. Every day leaders know that what is on the inside matters most.