The Ever Day Leader: Short Cuts

“When it comes to leadership, you just can’t take shortcuts, no matter how long you’ve been leading your people” John Maxwell

Ever been on a walk that seemed a little longer than you anticipated? Or maybe the journey you are on feels like it will never end?  When we are faced with those scenarios we may be tempted to take a short cut.

Short cuts always SEEM easier.

shortcut_road

How many times have we tried short cuts only to find ourselves in a place we didn’t want to be and the situation worse than when we started out?

Short cuts are simply that, trying to cut something short.

It often means you are trying to cut something short that, if done right, could have great potential. When we take short cuts we often miss the journey and the lessons we are to learn along the way.

Shortcuts don’t work with leadership either.

If we are trying to model what it takes, we must walk the WHOLE journey.
If we are trying to accomplish something with our team, we must take the time and think through every aspect and the different angles. We must see the consequences of those choices BEFORE they happen.

 
If we are trying to make changes, it is vital that we gain support first. Changes won’t happen without a team’s buy-in.

 
If we are investing in someone, we must be willing to do what it takes and that means we must go the distance with them. We don’t stop when it becomes a hassle or inconvenience to us. We know as leaders, that investing in people is a priceless reward and WE benefit from it too.

 
If we are growing our business or even just starting out in business, we must be willing to do it right from the very beginning. This often means doing the things we don’t like or that we may struggle with because we don’t know how. Take the time to learn, take the time to do it right and in the end it will save you time, heartache and MONEY.

Every day leaders know that trying to take the easiest route is not always the best route. We know that doing things right the first time, even if it takes longer, is always what makes the difference and has the greatest impact.

It ‘s what Every Day Leaders do, we walk the journey – the WHOLE journey, knowing that as we do we are making a difference in the lives of those around us and our businesses.

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The Every Day Leader: What are YOU saying?

It is a beautiful  day and as I sit out on the porch taking just a few minutes to enjoy it, a slight wind blows and then it happens…the nonstop barking of a dog.  I have no idea the reason he is  barking, but it doesn’t really matter.  All I know it that is just doesn’t stop.  The tranquility and much-needed quiet moments are no longer quiet and enjoyable.

The little dog is not much different than people we have met. We all know the ones who talk and talk and seem to get great enjoyment from hearing themselves utter words and yet have nothing really to say. They rarely have the intention of listening to others or even in engaging in a conversation.  It truly is all about them.  Because you can rarely get a word in, all you can do is beginning moving towards the door….

Even leaders have been known for their incessant talking, because of their position and because they can. May we, as leaders, be intentional in our speech. May we choose our words wisely. Our words should inspire those we come in contact with: our team, our family, friends, and even strangers we meet. Our words should be meaningful and honoring to those we speak to, always taking into account the audience we are speaking with.

We don’t have to be a Winston Churchill inspiring the masses to greatness every time, but our words should be intentional and worth listening to time and again. We speak not to get followers or gain approval, but to build-up those around us, to encourage, and to ignite their passions so that they may do great things.

What we say is HUGE, but what we DON’T SAY is even bigger. Our actions should always match our words. Your body language is the first thing seen and heard.  This happens way before your words and often times, THAT is what is remembered.

Next time you go to speak, stop and ask yourself: Are my words intentionally chosen? Do I have something to say or am I just talking?  Am I walking the talk and do my actions align with what I am saying?  Or am I simply being like that little dog… loud and obnoxious and turning off those around me.

Every Day Leaders intentionally choose their words wisely. They speak when they have something to say, but they listen far more.

The Every Day Leader: JUMP

Do you ever have that feeling in the pit of your stomach, wondering how something is going to turn out, if your decision was the right one or even because of a pending decision you are trying to make?

It doesn’t feel so good.

In fact, I would venture to say it is a feeling none of us really care for! Yet, we all know it, and know it well. We have all experienced it at one time or another.

As Every Day Leaders, we know we can trust our skills, abilities and instincts. We know that we must be intentional to set aside the doubting and second-guessing.

Jump, the parachute will open.

It may be scary. It may even create that queasy feeling in the pit of our stomach. It may be overwhelming.

A leader knows they were trained and gifted for this moment.

The worst thing that can happen is to fail and that puts us in GREAT company!! Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Col Sanders, Warren Buffet and many other entrepreneurs lost everything at least once, before they experienced success.

Every Day Leaders know they have what it takes to navigate through making decisions, to launch that next great company or idea.

They are willing to step out, make their best decision and trust the future. They can be confident in their decisions and in who they are and how God made them.

so…JUMP!

The Every Day Leader: Handling tough days

We all have had one of THOSE days. Songs get sung about them and even children’s books get written about them. It is the day that nothing seems to go right and you wonder why you even bothered to get out of bed and how soon you can get back in bed.

Maybe your day started with your kids not wanting to get up for school and they missed the bus and made you late for work.  Maybe it was a day that you had to deal with difficult people, more projects than time, a team that does not do what they were suppose to, poor communication that cost delays, or a disgruntled client. It could be any of these or all of these or something totally different that caused your “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”.

In the kid’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day by Judith Viorst,  Alexander reckons the best way to solve his terrible day is to move to Australia.

 Sounds good to me!

 There are days I am ready to runaway. There are days that Australia does not seem far away enough!

But in the middle of my feet being half way out the door, I stop. I realize…

Leaders don’t run. 

 Leaders know that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  They know that the hard days are just that.  HARD.  And in the midst of the hard days we are being refined in our character. We are being refined in our commitment. And we are modeling to our circle of influence how to navigate through the storms.

 What about you?  Are you having one of the terrible, horrible, no good very bad days? 

How are you managing through it?  Are you walking in such a way that others see you and learn how to handle those with grace?

When we as leaders model grace and commitment others begin to see that the hard days don’t last forever, and that solutions can be found in the midst of difficulties.  They see things do eventually get better.

Leaders take each day as they come, knowing that it is all part of the journey.  We know that HOW we respond to the day and what others see  DOES matter.

The every day leader knows that we don’t have to allow those hard days to define who we are and how we respond, we can use them to refine our character.

We can have joy in the midst of the circumstances. We can show grace to difficult people because we too have been difficult at times. We can face the tough day and know that it is only temporary.

I want to be the every day leader that when a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day happens I don’t run, because bad days happen even in Australia!

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Finding Meaning

Work. We all have to do it; in fact most of us will spend 35-40% of our day working. I recently read a quote that read: “life without meaningful work is meaningless”. I have been thinking about this quote all week, it has made a huge impact on me.

Are you just going through the motions each day?

So many people work at jobs that they are not passionate about. Can it still be meaningful? Can any job be meaningful?

No matter where we are or what we are doing we can intentionally choose to find meaning. As we do this we are not only impacting those around us as an every day leader, but we are also enhancing our own lives! We begin to embrace every moment that has been given to us. Our lives take on a new meaning because we know we are being used to make a difference. This happens in our jobs, at home, wherever we are.

As every day leaders I believe that when we are intentional we begin to think differently. Our eyes are opened to the many places and ways that God can use us to make a difference.

It starts with us.

It starts with a willing heart and an attitude of wanting to make a difference, to make our lives count, to have purpose in each day.

The Every day leader chooses to find meaning in their work and have purpose in their lives. Living differently, seeing life differently, choosing to make a difference.

The Every Day Leader: Learning to move

It sounds easy to be an every day leader.  We know it doesn’t mean that we are signing up or inheriting a long to-do list. It just means we are changing how we think and how we live.  We begin to see things differently. We begin to be proactive, to be a person of influence rather than sitting back and letting life pass us by. 

 All that is required of us is to simply start

start right where we are

Start today

 We often mean well, but we get sidetracked.  We think we are going to be intentional in how we think and live; we want to do something, yet we don’t. Instead, we let life get us busy.  Too busy.

To do anything in life we must first move. We must be willing to take that first step. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take that first step. Be willing to use the gifts and talents we have been given to make a difference.  It is doing what it takes to lead and succeed.

 

The first step starts with making a decision. It is standing up and saying, I am ready to do something to make my life count, to change the course.  It may mean to stop doing the same things as you did before, getting the same results that don’t work.

It may be to refuse to be stuck in the mud one more day.  It is not letting others dictate to you where you will be, who you will be, or what you will be.  It is standing up for who you are, believing that you have what it takes to succeed, and doing what is best.

Do you see the first step?

It all starts with a decision to move.  It means we don’t have to see the top, the whole picture, the end of the road, or anything else. We just need to be bold, make the choice and start somewhere.

Now is the time, now is YOUR time. Take that step!

 

Take the step:

when it is uncomfortable

 when it is unpopular

 when you are scared, do it afraid

 when others say you can’t do it

 Refuse to live where you are today.

 Everyday leaders lead where they are.  They intentionally take that first step, even if they can’t see beyond the landing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Olympic Team Work

It is estimated that over 3 billion people will watch the Olympics this year.  It is no wonder why we love to watch the best athletes in the world, cheering them on and cheering on our countries.

In a grueling re-match of last year’s world cup, the USA Women’s Soccer team beat Japan 2-1. They came to win and win they did… THE GOLD! This team had to work together, they had to overcome some BIG personalities,  and they had to work as a single unit.

 Alex Morgan’s face says it all after she kicked the winning goal.

The soccer team was especially dear to all the folks where I live in Georgia as our hometown girl was on the team, Kelly O’Hara.

Don’t we all wish the teams we worked with would have such discipline and dedication to work like the athletes of the Olympics?  The girl’s soccer team didn’t miss a beat; they set their sights on the gold medal and were not deterred.  If they did not work together – they wouldn’t have had a chance.

 As Every Day Leaders we know that a successful team is only successful when the team works together.  It takes discipline, dedication, and a leader that clearly is trusted and steps up to lead.  Just like the soccer team, when the team works together it is a beautiful picture.

Is this really realistic for the business world?

 After all, most of our teams are made up of very different people, with different personalities, skills, styles, and often times our teams are virtual and span different countries. 

 How do we get teams to move through our organizations with effortless strides?

A successful team always starts with their leader.  It is the leader that sets the culture of the organization that shows he/she values each member of the team and has that same expectation for the team members to value each other. 

 We show this by taking time and investing in our teams.  We develop a reputation that we can be trusted, that we know what is best for each team member because we know them. The team trusts the leader because the leader has demonstrated consistent behavior and words that they can count on.

 How is your team?

 There are countless books and training to help each of us as we lead.  It starts with us.  We set the stage as every day leaders.  This is true in any of our environments that we are a part of.

 Just like the soccer team, I believe it is realistic to have successful teams that don’t miss a beat.  It takes work, discipline and being intentional.

 That’s what we do as every day leaders.  Act intentionally.  Lead intentionally.  Set a culture of trust and value. 

Every day leaders, seeking to make a difference in the lives of others, setting our sights on the gold and getting it.

WAY TO GO USA WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM!