The Every Day Leader: Reaching out to a messy world

This morning before the sign was flipped to the “open” position at our nonprofit agency, I had already spent ten minutes on the phone with a grieving father, and another twenty minutes with a mother who spoke only through the sobs of losing her adult son.

The sadness, the guilt, the loss…it was more than either of them knew what to do with, it was all-consuming. For years addiction had consumed their son and virtually destroyed their marriage. Now, here they are talking to a stranger, thanking me for caring for their son, knowing that we had befriended and helped him during his time of need. Immediately following that conversation I moved to another with an older gentleman, at the opposite end – facing the winter season of his life, who had lost all of his family relationships from mental illness and bad decisions.

Struggling. Lonely. Searching. Longing for life to be different, and yet, feeling there is not much hope of it actually being different. He was wanting, more than anything, to simply have someone just willing to talk with him.

In both of these situations, life took unexpected twists and turns. Life got messy. All of these folks walk their journey alone, feeling like they don’t belong.

I wonder how many others walk it alone?

How often do we assume everyone is okay and that they have someone to rely on? If we realized how many people we see each day that are alone and hurting, would we be more willing to reach out and care about them?

I wonder if we only knew, would we act differently? Would we take more time out of our busy days? Would we take the time to speak and truly care how someone is – to make eye contact and see the hurt? I wonder how different our world would be if each of us lived this way.

Next time you see someone, no matter where you are…take the time to care.

Isn’t that what we all strive for, to know that we matter to another? Our business, our non-profit, our life…we strive to know that what we do matters, that we matter. I know that when I take the time to simply listen, to care, and to pray for those who are hurting, it is in those moments, I know that my life matters.

As Every Day Leaders, it is the little things we do each day that can leave a lasting impact. May we never forget that every moment really does matter!

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The Every Day Leader: One is the Loneliest Number

I laid down beside my grandkids in bed, tucking them in for the night.  It had been six  days since their parents had left, and they were all feeling it. The two-year old was crying out for her mama, it seemed she especially missed her at bedtime.  At first her sister had asked her to be quiet. Yet as the little one continued to cry out, I watched something beautiful transpire. In the semi-darkness, I could see the four-year old reach over and offer her hand to her little sister.

The moments that followed were priceless.  The hands locked fingers, no words were spoken, but the silence was golden.  The littlest one seemed to understand that her older sister was there for her.  She was missing her mama and so was her older sister. In that moment of need, she knew she wasn’t alone.

She knew someone understood.

There are times that we all feel like my sweet little two-year-old year old granddaughter.  We wonder if we are alone.  We wonder if anyone knows how we might be feeling.  We feel isolated.  We keep our feelings stuffed down deep…what would others say?  What would others think? Almost always if we are a leader by position, it is especially a lonely road.

If you are in a position of leadership you often are in a place where you do not have the privilege to share openly your struggles, your frustrations or your fears…so we tend to keep quiet.  Sometimes we cry out in the quietness of our own solitude, where no one can hear us.

We all need that hand that reaches out to us, like that little hand in the darkness with my granddaughters.

We need to know someone understands us and someone cares about us.  We need to know that someone is there to listen, to comfort, to advise, and that we have someone we trust.

We were never meant to be an island, that lifestyle is only sustainable short-term. Success and longevity comes with having a strong trusted confidante who does not change or waver based on YOUR circumstances.  Someone who will speak truth into your life and not just tell you what you want to hear.

If you don’t have someone like that, you need to find that person, TODAY.

It is not enough to have that person, you must be willing to accept the gift they are offering. We must accept the gift of themselves to walk with you and to speak truth into your life, the gift of that hand in your darkest hour, their gift of support in your loneliest times, the gift of trust as you lead. God gives us the gift of others so we don’t have to walk this journey alone.

The every day leader, living a life of intention, making a difference in the lives of others by never walking the road alone.

Be intentional to find someone who will help you be the very best YOU that you can be!