The Every Day Leader: Tis the Season

The pile of graduation announcements sat on the counter, along with one for a baby shower and a wedding.  It is definitely the season once again.

The season of endings and new beginnings.

The season of change for many.

Two of those announcements are for my kids, one graduation and one baby shower.  This week I watched my son walked across the stage of his high school graduation, along with my parents in their eighties and my grandkids next to me in the bleachers.

It is a season of change for our family.

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I was reminded of how things sneak up and are gone before you realize it.  The days that can seem so very long are somehow gone in a flash.  It seems we blink and…..

our kids have grown up,

our body begins to age.

our parents have aged.

we have lost the windows we thought would always be there.

Everyday leaders know that time is fleeting.  So we intentionally choose to make our moments matter. 

We choose. 

Every day leaders know we must be intentional.  We choose to make the most of the time we are given knowing as we invest  we are making a difference in the  lives of those around us.

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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: Renewal

re·new·al   [ri-noouhl, –nyoo-] noun

1.  the act of renewing.

2.  the state of being renewed.

3.  an instance of this.

Spring is a time of renewal…the grass is turning green, the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom, the world around us is changing.  When the heat of summer comes, does that mean that the renewal is over?   I never thought so.

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Renewal is one of those words that seems like it should be a verb…more of a process than an end result.  It is as if one may be in the midst of renewal, but not really ever fully achieves being fully renewed or fully changed. 

There is always more.

In our lives it is true.  Renewal requires continual growth and change. 

It means that as every day leaders we are intentionally mindful of the process of growing and renewing ourselves.  We know that in this process of growth and change we have greater opportunities to influence the lives of others.

It mean being willing to  learn.

It means being willing to accept change. 

It means stepping out.

It can mean being creative.

It means being intentional.

It can be uncomfortable and stretch us.

It means never being willing to settle or get stagnate.

It means thinking differently to make the most of the gifts and talents and opportunities we have been given to make a difference. 

It’s the process of renewal that matters.

It’s what everyday leaders do.  Live each day to be our best selves!

 

The Every Day Leader: The Clacking of Time

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Somehow we always seem to think that time will never end…that it will keep on going and we have forever days.

When in fact, time has a definite beginning and ending.  We often take time for granted. We try to squeeze as much as we can into it or out of it. Other times we just waste precious moments – but we somehow always  believe that we always have more just up ahead.

But do we? 

None of us knows our tomorrow and what it will bring. 

We often hear and we even know deep down that we should embrace every moment.  We know that each moment will never come again, we cannot get it back once it is gone.

Yet, it just doesn’t seem to sink in.

Every day leaders know that each moment matters.  We know that each moment we have is a gift that cannot be squandered or foolishly wasted.  As kids the days seem to last forever, as adults they fly by each one getting faster than the other. Just ask any mother who has grown children.

The years are short, but the days are long. The moments disappear.  As much as we would like to think it is true, our time doesn’t go on forever. 

Every day leaders long to make the most of every moment that has been given to them.  They know that we each have limited days and the clacking of time passes all to quickly.

Every day leaders celebrate each moment making the most of each one of them to make a difference in the lives of others. They invest in those around them, seeking to leave a legacy far greater than themselves.

They invest not only in actions, time, words, but even in writing, knowing that through their encouragement to the next generation they are helping them succeed to do far greater things than they did.

Let us be Every Day Leaders who impart wisdom to those younger than us. Let us be intentional to mentor, guide, and encourage those that want our attention and time that we can mold them into the leaders that God intended them to be. Time indeed has an end and one day we will depart this earth but may our legacy live on in those we mentored.

The Every Day Leader: A Year in Review

I just finished reading my last Christmas card…the day after Christmas.  I wanted to take the time to sit down in a quiet space and catch up with the notes and letters from old friends and far away family.

I read and wondered where the year went.  I thought about the many times I would get through some big event, only to have another something “big” ahead to tackle.  The days come and go seeming long at the time.  Yet, somehow the year goes by so quickly! 

The days are long, but the years are short

I couldn’t agree more.

This year, I am vowing to manage my time, just a little bit better.   Knowing that I am the only one who can do that.  I know too, that if I don’t, it affects every part of my life.  Each day offers many choices…and by saying no to some, it allows me to say yes to others.  I am learning that everyday leaders must be intentional in their choice.  I want my choices to be about making a difference, about investing in others, about being the person God has called me to be.

Today I had to make one of those choices.  I was looking forward to some time alone  and looking forward to the time to regroup.  Then the email came.  Someone needed help.  I longed to save my time for me, but also knew I would still have it.  It was an older gentleman, no food, alone, family was all away, no transportation.  Somehow, there was extra food from yesterday – even an extra ham to share.  When I stopped he was uncertain.  We talked and I gave him the items.  When I left, I had the privilege to pray with him.  I watched as he held his face with his hands, I noticed  the tears that slid down his cheeks. 

I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have been a strong provider, strong believer and yet now, finding one in a place of desperate need and feeling so alone.  I wondered if the next door neighbors had any idea, and if they did would they do something?  I wondered how his life got to this point.  I am reminded the gift we each have of time, of the opportunity to influence the life of another, to love one another.

The days are long – yet they never quite seem long enough to fit it all in.  We have good intentions, but the actions don’t always make it.  Before we know it the year is over once again.

How was your year? 

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Every day leaders savor the moments that we have been given.  We know that we must choose how we spend our moments, to balance it all out and to make our days count. We know it also means to take the time for the unexpected opportunities and the privilege to invest in another.

Every Day Leader: ‘Tis the Season

The lights are twinkling, the tree is decorated, presents are wrapped…all the things we do at Christmas. There are parties and gatherings, all with a twinge in the back of our minds wondering where did the year go?

For may of us, this is a very busy time. Our days are spent trying to get everything done in anticipation of the holiday and the end of the year. We somehow mean to take time to reflect on what Christmas is about and about the year …. but somehow those intentions get crowded out with a long to-do list.

Tis the season…

I went to a barn the other night and watched the Christmas story acted out with live animals. Somehow in the midst of the smells: the sheep, donkeys and the manager, all the other things like the cookies and the sights of twinkling lights and presents did not seem to be so important. I was reminded to be still and know that I am God.

Be still.

Why is it so hard to do? Our minds continue to race even when our bodies stop to rest.

Every day leaders know that taking time to be still, to listen, to pray, and to reflect are all part of becoming better people. It is during that time each day where we not only quiet our souls, but we seek to know God, to really know him… not just a “30 second toss-up a prayer and be about our business” know him. We see His hand in our lives and we seek to hear His voice.

Be still and know that I am God.

Where are you? Are you frantically trying to get it all done? All the things that seem so important?

Take time today. Be still. Get to know God. Quiet your soul. Embrace the moments that you have been given. Be reminded of why we celebrate Christmas each year.

Every day leaders are intentional in how we spend our time. Knowing that the times of being still and seeking God equips us to make a difference in the life of another!

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The Every Day Leader: A Wonderful Life

“While it is true that most people never see or understand the difference they make, or sometimes only imagine their actions having a tiny effect, every single action a person takes has far-reaching consequences.” ~Andy Andrews, The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective.

The one movie that I watch each year at Christmas is the story of “It’s a wonderful life”.

The story doesn’t change, and I know the characters and the ending, but no matter how many times I have seen the movie I am reminded once again the difference each of our lives can have on others. Jimmy Stewart had the opportunity to actually see how his actions and words not only made an impact on those immediately around him, but the far-reaching effect of his town.

Most of the time we simply live our lives and go about our business simply doing the best we know how. It is in the midst of the every day moments that each of us are given opportunities to have a lasting impact. It is in the moments of doing life that we choose what matters. It happens in the middle of the day when we are working, caring for our families, even when we are stuck in traffic.

We can have a lasting impact simply in how we respond to another. We touch the life of someone by our words and our actions, we model to others in each moment. Our lives were meant to be lived in such a way that we are a reflection of our Maker.

As every day leaders we are intentional all throughout the day, knowing that each of our actions have far-reaching consequences.

Our kindness can encourage another – and just the opposite, if our words are rough, uncaring or hurtful – it can be far-reaching to another who has the weight of the world on their shoulders.

We know that how we live, day in and day out, makes a difference. Just like the movie – how we live matters.

How are you living your moments? Do you remember that the moments matter?

Every day leaders intentionally choose their words, actions, and responses knowing that it is in the midst of every day life that we make a difference.

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