The Every Day Leader: Life in the Rear View Mirror

I love to go for drives…one of my favorite drives is in the mountains. Nothing compares to the scenery!  I find myself looking not just in front of me but often glancing to see what is off to the sides.  There is always so much to take in!  We all know that we are to glance in our mirror from time to time to be aware of our environment…but we know that when we do we might miss something ahead!

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When we look back we miss what’s in front of us

If we would spend all of our time looking at what’s behind us, we wouldn’t just miss what’s ahead, we would not be able to proceed forward!  If we did, we would not likely make it very far.

Funny thing is that we often do this in life.  We are so concerned about the past, dwelling on what happened yesterday, that we miss the beauty of today.  Much like in the car, it would be impossible to move forward when only looking back – in fact it would be disastrous.   If we spend more time looking behind us, we miss out on the blessings of today.

The flip side is if we totally disregard the past we will not learn from past mistakes.  We would not understand the effect the past has had – both good and bad on our lives.  We would not be the same person if we totally ignored the past.

Just like driving, looking in the rear view mirror helps us be aware of our surroundings.  A wise driver will look back every so often but not stay there.

How about you?  Where are you looking? 

Are you stuck looking in the rear view mirror – unable to move forward?  Are you forgetting to look in that mirror altogether maybe because of something painful you would rather forget? 

Being a healthy person means we take the time to see the past.  We are willing to  learn from it, deal with the hurts, delight in memories and be thankful for all that God has done.  It also means to be willing to move beyond it.  To embrace the present – really embrace the moments God has given us.  It also means to hoping for tomorrow, knowing God has our tomorrows in the palm of His hand.

Everyday leaders work on this balance – to be our best selves.  To be able to move forward, making a difference every step of the way.

The Every Day Leader: Cowosophy

What would a farm be without cows?!   Bunches of them.  The dairy farm I grew up on was no different.  Turns out, cows need tending to daily.  If it rained the cows were muddy.  If they were out in the pasture they had to be herded in for milking.  Regardless, they needed to be cared for.

We were all expected to help.  If there was a blizzard, if it was pouring rain, or 100 plus degrees with a million flies around – the cows still had to be milked twice a day.  It didn’t matter if you wanted to go on vacation,  if there was a wedding, or a big event at school – the cows couldn’t wait.

Cows are like that.

I look back to the days of milking cows.  At the time, I didn’t like it.  Now, I am grateful for that life experience I had as a kid.  I am grateful for the lessons I learned about work ethic and responsibility.  And I am thankful for the lessons about caring for living animals, knowing they were dependent on you.

Life is like that.  The things we think are horrific at the time, don’t seem so terrible when we look back on them.  What we don’t see at the time is how those times are shaping and molding us into the people we are today.  It is during those hard times that our character is being developed.  These things help define who we are deep down.

It is almost as if I can hear my dad saying…”See, it wasn’t so bad!”

He would be right of course.  It wasn’t so bad.  I learned discipline.  I learned responsibility.  I learned the importance of doing what you said you were going to do.  I learned that if I didn’t – things and others suffered.  I learned to work as a team.  I even learned how to laugh together in the midst of the work. Flies and all.

These are life lessons I now cherish.  Memories I often wish I could have given my own children.  These are things I am thankful for.

We all have past experiences.  Have you forgotten?  Are you able to live in such a way to reflect what you have learned?  Those life lessons are a gift, a gift to be thankful for.  

Everyday leaders see and are thankful for life experiences.  Those experiences that were good and those that were difficult.  Everyday leaders intentionally live in such a way that their lives reflect  the gift of the lessons learned.