The Every Day Leader: Speaking Truth

“My best friend is someone who brings out the best in me” – Henry Ford

Have you ever had someone asked your thoughts on something and rather than answer politely you wanted to tell them what you were REALLY feeling? Yet, there is something in us that holds back.

Sometimes we hold back because we are simply reacting without thinking about it and realize it would be a big mistake to blurt out our reaction. Maybe we hold back because we are only filtering it through how it makes us feel. Perhaps we choose not to say anything because we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.

I am sure we have all had these experiences at least once in our lives. I would also venture to say that holding back is not always the best thing we can do. I don’t mean we should say whatever is on our mind without regard to the other person. Speaking truth in love is one of the greatest gifts we can give another.

The key is saying it with love. That doesn’t mean we say it nicely, soften it up and water it down, or tip toe around the issue. It means we speak truth to another because we care enough to take the chance. Speaking truth in love means we care enough to thoughtfully respond in love as an act of kindness.

I am a firm believer that being nice and being kind are two different things. The nice person skirts around things, never wanting to upset anyone. The kind person takes the time and invests in another – to challenge, to speak truth, to guide. It is what makes us better people.

It is a gift of a best friend.

It takes building a relationship of mutual trust and respect. It is what sets the every day leader apart. It is someone willing to be kind.

It is about speaking truth in order to make a positive difference – to speak truth because you care.

I long to be that person of trust and influence and am grateful for those who do this for me!

Every day leaders influence those around them. They build a relationship. They are kind and go the extra mile, they speak the truth with love first.

 

 

 

 

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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.

The Every Day Leader: Beep. Beep. Beep…

Beep. Beep. Beep……

I won’t look… it can wait.

My thoughts immediately wonder… what if it is something important?

The temptation often proves too great and I look at my cell phone to read the text. I can be sitting in a meeting, maybe even lounging with family and I hear it.  I am wondering who it is, what is going on, and whether it is something I need to respond to.   I am immediately distracted and my attention is immediately divided.  Today’s generation of kids – my kids– are a generation that have their cell phones on them at all times…. It is like it is an extra appendage!

I wondered… when in the world did I become the same way?

Is undivided attention something that is a thing of the past?  Do we even remember how to be totally engaged with others anymore?

Where are you?

What are you doing?

Are you focused?

Do you pay attention?

Each moment you are with another, are you engaged? 

Are you present? 

Are we talking with them and actively listening?

What kind of life are we really living?

Be present NOW.

As everyday leaders it is up to us to purposely live with others.  To think with them, talk with them, to listen to them, to love them, and to let them KNOW we care.

What does this look like?

It means savoring every moment you have, without being distracted or multitasking.  It means that those you are with know you care enough to give them all of your attention. It is being intentional and behaving in ways that show that moments matter. 

Every day leaders, intentionally engaging in the moment to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day.  For some of us this is a great day that reminds us of the incredible love we have had from our mother.  It may also remind us of the gift of our own children. 

Yet for some, this day may bring memories of sadness due to a loss of their mother or child. It may be sadness for not having a relationship at all or even having a strained one with their child or mother.  Maybe it’s a hurt from having an estranged child.  Whatever the reason, Mother’s Day can be a day that reminds us of a heartache that is all too real and testifies to the messiness of life.

My mother gave me an amazing gift… unconditional love. The gift of having someone love you and invest in your life in a way far beyond what I could have ever imagined. I think back and I never doubted the love of my mother, no matter what, her love was there for me regardless of what I did.  She modeled before me what true love was.  It was through that example that I was able to model this  to my own children.

I have met many who never grew up with the kind of love that I had from my mother, yet God has blessed their lives by giving them this incredible gift of love by another.  A person who was willing to invest in them, love them, teach them, train them, hold them accountable, pray for them, listen to them, encourage them, spend time with them, and be there no matter what.

These individuals are our every day leaders. They have chosen to invest in the lives of another and make a difference where they can, instead of selfishly holding back.

How about you? Is there someone in your life you can invest in? Someone, who would benefit greatly by your time, guidance, and wisdom? Each day God gives us opportunities all around us to be used to make a difference. Imagine the impact you could have on just one life if you lived intentionally, willing to pour yourself into another.

Investments take time, it could be just one hour a month or an hour a week, but the rewards are eternal.  The time you take can change a life forever.  Is this not what we are put on this earth for?  God calls us to connect with others, to walk with them on their journey of life – no matter what that journey holds.

Making an investment in the life of another will come at a cost.  It will cost you to be vulnerable to another, real and authentic. It may mean having to confront in love when misunderstandings happen.  But in the end, it will be a cost well spent. You will not be disappointed.

 I challenge and encourage you today to seek out that person to invest in.  Your investment could be life changing!

I want to be that person. I want to be the one that intentionally seeks out someone to pour my life into knowing that the gain is far greater than any loss.

 

The Every Day Leader: The Simple Leader

Corrie Ten-Boom, A quiet, everyday person willing to do what she thought was right.  She never saw herself as a person of influence – yet she had a huge impact on the lives of many, simply by speaking from her heart. I have been fascinated since High School by the life of this every day leader, who never knew the legacy she would leave.

Corrie Ten-Boom, along with her family, hid Jews from the Nazis during the war and was later captured and ended up in the concentration camps.  Despite all she endured, she always took the high road.  She loved others, no matter what they had done to her.  She forgave.  She kept the right attitude, even during the worst of it all.  She remained thankful in all things, even in a concentration camp!

She was as simple a leader as you could get. It wasn’t about what she looked like, what she wore or even saying the right words. She understood that life and people are a gift and often that is all we have. It is our choice how we manage that gift that has been given to us.  She also knew that she could sit back and do nothing and be safe or she could jump in and do something and make a difference in the life of another.

Corrie Ten-Boom.  Simple.  Quiet.  Obedient.  Everyday Leader.  Lasting Impact on the Lives of Many.

What about you? Each of us is given a sphere of influence, what are YOU going to do with yours? Are you willing to be all that you can be and make a difference, never knowing what legacy you may leave behind?

This every day leader wants to live like that!

The Every Day Leader: A View from the Church Pew

It was a very simple funeral with just a hand full of folks that came.  Life had taken many twists and turns along the way and ended very differently for my friend. He never expected life would turn out the way it did, he never set out to make life different from you or I when he was growing up.  All his life he had friends, made it through Eagle Scouts, graduated and went on with his life.

Somewhere along the way prescription drugs got in the way and played havoc in his life.  He ended up homeless and burned the bridges to many of his relationships along the way. What he did learn was to treasure those that would take the time to care for him and love him without passing judgment on him.

Here was a man who clung to all he had and all he knew, it was simple but it was also profound… Jesus loved him this he knew for the Bible told him so. This simple faith he modeled before me whenever I saw him and countless others every day. Through his eyes I saw life just a little bit differently. My perspective changed and widened and encompassed those that were hurting, those that were down and out, those that needed more grace, more compassion, and those needing more love.

As I sat in that pew and looked around how I wished that each person  there could have the privilege that I had, to walk his journey with him side by side. How I wish I could get the ones there in this small church and those not there to see the value of a simple “Hello” and how that meant so much to this man and to many others. How I wish those there could understand and see how a simple act of buying a lunch or giving a ride home changes lives forever and yet it is not the life of the hurting but it is our lives that are changed.

This friend of mine wanted so much for someone to care. Is he any different from us? How many times do we pass someone and ask them how they are and never even wait for the answer. How many times are we the ones that give the pat answer of “fine” or “I’m OK” and deep down we are dying on the inside from life’s messiness.

May we never be so busy or caught up in life that we fail to look around with eyes that truly see. Eyes that see ourselves as we really are, eyes that see others and their pain. May we never be so busy that we don’t offer the ultimate gift to those around us… The gift of ourselves, our time, our hearts, and our love.

I want to live like that.